“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”                                                   –

Buckminster fuller

The Covid-19 pandemic is set to change the world sooner than we know and has sparked a global realization that our current way of life does not work. It has deconstructed society as we know it and has broken our perception of what is normal. The way our governments, institutions, organizations, and people think and function, has radically changed –perhaps for the longer term.

Among many other sectors, the higher education sector is undergoing a tectonic shift right now. The effects of the coronavirus and thereby its preventive measures, has upended the life of students, parents, and teachers. It is all in wake of this pandemic, millions of students across the globe have been driven out of their university spaces, and teachers are confined to their homes. Higher education stands disaggregated, and faculty and students are grappling with the sudden new norm of EdTech (education technologies) explode in a manner no one could ever imagine.

 Before March 15, 2020, about 3% of the world was learning online and post it 100% of the world went online. This is a mass mobilization of technology in a way that is completely unprecedented. Putting this in perspective, let’s consider edX; on this platform e.g. the traffic globally is up by a factor of 10 by 900% in the first week of March, and India is up by 1000% over the last month.  Everybody is going online- learning, teaching, and inculcating the new skill that not many people have. Is online education providing us with new flexibility? Is it a chance to rethink the education sector? Is it an opportunity to visualize how education can evolve in tandem with our changing world?  Or are we just being over-optimistic?

The long term and sustainable triumph of this evolution will depend upon the following –

First and foremost, online learning is not just about video lectures and converting class notes to PDFs. It’s about creating high quality digitized learning content to make learning interesting and engaging and utilizing technology to its fullest.

Secondly, putting learning science and psychology at the forefront, along with technology. While using technology and tools as a panacea and equating online ‘learning’ and online ‘delivery’, we have to understand that these are different, the former is student-centric and the latter is teacher-centric. To bridge the gap each teaching faculty needs to be massively retrained for online mode of education. They require a particular skill set as possessed by global organizations in this field. Our teachers could be great classroom teachers but they now need to give importance to learning science for which institutions need to collaborate with experts in educational sites to put forth a more sustainable model.

Thirdly, talking about transferring the whole of education in the UG and PG level online. Even though virtual labs are the new game-changer but for higher education courses like engineering, etc., where 50% of the curriculum includes practical/lab work. We cannot have virtual labs replacing real-world physical lab work entirely. Producing Professionals who have acquired all their practical knowledge online, who think and conceptualize the solution of every real-world problem virtually when put out in the field eventually would fail terribly. Hence, an alternative parallel has to be drawn to post the pandemic by reviewing these practical subjects maybe after college hours.

Lastly and most importantly while everyone is focusing on course learning and avoiding studies from being hampered, it is that one aspect which has gone to seed is the holistic growth of a student with curriculum worldwide going for a toss. We are somewhere compromising with the development of other essential qualities and skills in a student which is essential in his\her overall development. To cope up with this, institutions need to include extra courses in whichever field it caters to a student’s interest as part of the new curriculum. Future leaders will require skills like resilience, adaptability, collaboration, communication, empathy, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

The learning in the education sector will have a new purpose post-pandemic, and it will be a major deviation from the information-focused education of today.

Author: Manasvi Singh

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Akshat Sati
Akshat Sati
4 years ago

So informative

Chetan Sharma
Chetan Sharma
4 years ago

Thought provoking !!! Excellent piece.. Well researched, very well written and collated. Bridges and deftly converges the various aspects at the same time.

Akshat Sati
Akshat Sati
Reply to  Chetan Sharma
4 years ago

Even then future of education is quiet unpredictable.

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