April 14, 2022 7 min read
The tectonic shift towards digitization over the past few years has brought the future closer. Additionally, owing to the pandemic, the combination of being homebound and socially distant compelled us to rely on tech more than ever. Many industries have been quick to adapt to the new normal but the education space that was already leaning towards technology had to accelerate their digital adoption, opening the pathway for blended learning. In view of the uncertain times, tech induced learning solutions will help future proof the education space, making it more relatable for learners across all age groups.
Blended learning or a balanced composition of physical and digital learning has now become the ‘New Essential’. It combines the success of digital intervention and the power of traditional teaching methods to ensure that the students are equipped with an engaging learning environment. And, with the term being widely used today, it’s time to decode the importance of and the way forward for integrated or blended learning.
The growing importance of experiential learning
Based on the core philosophy of ‘Learning by Doing’, experiential learning has gradually taken over rote learning. Whereas rote learning is good for simpler concepts and situations where spaced repetition can occur, with visual aids, learning difficult concepts becomes extremely easy and the need for revising concepts again and again is unnecessary. A study conducted by Practically showed that students who have taken the immersive learning approach have seen their retention rate go up by 18 per cent in less than one week. Parents and children now understand the limits of repetitive or rote learning and are exploring scientific ways to make the learning process fun and worthwhile. The new-age tools also offer an accurate assessment of a student’s strengths and weaknesses facilitating better connection and deeper engagement between students and teachers.
Everyone enjoys Blended Learning
Long hours of studying repetitive concepts or staring blankly at the screen or a classroom study board can be taxing for students and demotivating for teachers as well. Introducing blended learning can help students and teachers break the ice more rapidly and breathe life into classrooms. Math and Science, for instance, hold a reputation for being complicated and dry subjects but blended learning can help in simplifying concepts for all types of learners.
Schools and Colleges Must Ensure they offer Inclusive Learning Solutions
Blended learning is cost-effective and encourages self-learning skills amongst students. To impart a holistic learning experience, schools need to invest and prepare teachers to make blended learning successful. Also, students need to develop an attitude of a co-learner rather than depending on the teacher to deliver learning. The implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) also aims at internationalizing indigenous knowledge through digitized course contents to achieve 100 percent literacy. New-age courses such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Gaming and Robotics opened enormous opportunities for learners to scale up their career keeping in sync with the international standards.
With people spending more time at home, schools have quickly shifted to e-learning to tap the increasing number of online registrations. Since this change is here to stay, even the University Grants Commission (UGC) in May 2021 introduced the blended mode of teaching and learning in universities and colleges to make the learning process more engaging and interesting for the aspirants. To keep pace with the ever-evolving technology, the digital format will help the younger generation to skill, upskill and reskill their abilities according to the industry demands.
Investing In The Right Tools and Products
While schools and educational institutes understand the importance of integrated learning it is crucial to opt for the right product and solution. The idea behind digitisation is to complement the existing teaching process instead of replacing it entirely. It is essential to opt for a new-age solution that gives teachers an end to end academic toolkit to make their class engaging and interactive. An experiential learning product enriched with immersive content, games, simulations etc. will bring in much needed efficiency in the teaching learning process and positively impact learning outcomes.
Future Ready Learning Environment
Blended learning is required to stimulate innovation through a cohesive learning system. The EdTech space must focus on easing the pressure on teachers while making the classes more interactive, filled with fresh challenges, quizzes, and simulations instead of trying to do away with the classroom culture. It is essential to create an environment where students feel free to engage proactively. It is expected that students should be invested in their experience to be able to reflect on their learning and gain insights from it.
Digital literacy will inculcate the spirit of collaboration enabling participants to work together and engage in discussion accelerating the dream of Digital India. 2022 will be an exciting year with its own set of challenges, now more than ever we will see the education scenario tilting towards new age learning and teaching solutions. It is fair to conclude that those who are unable to get on the blended learning bandwagon may remain far behind the curve.
This article is written by Charu Noheria, COO and Co-founder at Practically and this article was originally published in Entrepreneur India online in Jan’22.
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