Tools And Techniques To Enhance Education In India
The Indian Education system has certain deep-rooted challenges that are in dire need of being replaced by smarter solutions.
Imagine in the year 2000, two friends having a chat about e-learning or digitized interactive learning and learning taking place beyond the four brick-and-mortar walls of a typical classroom. Does the thought come across as outlandish by the slightest? Perhaps it is not so today but two decades ago, the pedagogy and the tools that were available for knowledge dissemination were far more primitive. Acquiring knowledge in an unconventional way was considered ambiguous and discouraged with scepticism.
As time went by in the new millennia, the world around us changed and the education sector too, has witnessed its share of transformation. With the advent and evolution of technology swamping our lives with products no one had ever imagined, the way we learn too began to evolve, courtesy of the digital revolution we live in. What seems to be normal today was once an alien belief, completely unrelatable and unimaginable.
The Indian Education system has certain deep-rooted challenges that are in dire need of being replaced by smarter solutions, in order to make learning fun yet effective and fulfilling for children who are the masters of the future. Some of these challenges are:
Inability to discover: Students are not encouraged to identify their own interests and discover their talent. This inability to identify and self-discovery often hinders with their learning capability as they are not well versed with their strengths and weaknesses.
Lack of curiosity: Learning should be an engaging activity that encourages curiosity, but the standard ‘textbook-blackboard-classroom’ pedagogy being practiced in the country is largely outdated and refrains these young minds from exploring on their own. There is a need to generate inquisitiveness and curiosity to ensure ‘learning’ is inspired by a fundamental need to discover and satisfy curiosity.
Disconnected learning with the minimum application: Obsolete teaching and learning methods and aimless ‘sum-solving’ without knowing the motivation for doing the same curtails the ability of students to draw a meaningful correlation between learning and life experiences, further hampering their ability to apply their learning to that which the world needs.
Focus on content but not on skills: The typical classroom learning bears witness to a place where content is delivered. Students are seldom encouraged to research topics and have a discourse with peers in class. Consuming content without being able to hone skills that are needed to thrive in the real world to where these students would step into after leaving school carries no value to the learning process.
Challenges often have solutions to overcome them. With technology making way to solutions to close gaps in pedagogy across the globe and more recently in India, there are certain techniques and pedagogical tools that can be brought to use in order to deliver education that matters.
Blended classroom - both online and offline
While the traditional method of learning takes us back to the conservative way of teaching in a classroom, the newer method comprises a blend of both online as well as offline access and approach. With technological penetration and advancement picking up the pace like never before, the education system in the country has evolved manifolds. Today, online learning is considered as imperative as the offline teaching methods as it offers a lot of on-demand knowledge and arms the seeker with in-demand skills. Additionally, it is crucial to make learning accessible anytime and anywhere, therefore online learning can be the most ideal option, thanks to the present-day internet accessibility.
The concept of Blended learning supports personalization of content for each student as per their interest and requirements, thus improving learning outcomes for these young minds.
Another advantage of Blended learning is that unlike traditional learning, it encourages engaging and collaborative learning environments where students work together to learn, brainstorm and solve problems. Teachers can interact with students via the online platform, give feedback to their solutions and help them improve their skills.
Design and inquiry-based learning environment
In India, classroom teaching is primarily teacher-centric which predominantly supports just one-way flow of ideas and thoughts while students miss out on the opportunity to learn of inputs from research carried out by their peers on the topic of interest. A discourse enabling collaborative classroom environment design, virtual or otherwise, must be set in motion to support greater learning outcomes.
Inquiry-based learning gets students excited about learning something new rather than grabbing content unenthusiastically. Typically, this would entail having four steps that involve students come up with questions about the subject matter they want to learn more about, then research the topic in class or as homework, present their findings in class and finally reflect on what they learnt as a result.
Digital assessments offer an engaging environment for students to learn and develop. Regular timely assessment is a prerequisite to provide the information required to make minor ‘course corrections’ along the way as a school term progresses, rather than judge whether or not a student has reached his/her goal towards the end of the term. Besides, such assessment platforms are interactive in nature that give students more ways to assimilate the material and express their knowledge.
Traditional assessment practices seldom leave the students with avenues to learn of their peer’s problem-solving approaches and often do not give the grader ample insight into the students’ reasoning to their solutions. It does not solve the prime purpose of evaluating students. E-assessments allow teachers to author rich interactive assessments and add videos, podcasts or simulations to their tests. Digital assessments also map each question with certain parameters like learning outcomes and difficulty level that could help keep track of student’s learning and identify any gaps in their knowledge. It also provides immediate feedback to students.
Create, Experience, Don’t consume
In today’s fast-paced world, it is imperative that we inevitably connect the academic content imparted in the classroom with the underlying motivation and draw parallels with real-life experiences. Creating an experience is much beyond grabbing content. Introducing experiential learning-based tools and projects enable students to explore real-world problems, deeply engage in and acquire authentic knowledge. This also builds into millennials, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. At the exponential pace at which knowledge and information are being created in today’s world, what children are learning today may be irrelevant tomorrow but the skills they acquire could prove relevant.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house