Online v/s offline learning: Which option is better for personalised learning

Thousands of students pass out of schools every year, without the knowledge, skill-sets and expertise they will need to thrive in this immensely competitive environment.

education Updated: Nov 29, 2018 14:25 IST
Online learning,Offline learning,Online v/s offline learning
What’s plaguing the current education system? There are certain perennial issues troubling the education segment in India.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

What’s plaguing the current education system? There are certain perennial issues troubling the education segment in India. First and foremost is the emphasis on theory based rote learning where the focus is centered around securing good grades in examinations, rather than understanding, remembering and applying concepts in the real world.

Thousands of students pass out of schools every year, without the knowledge, skill-sets and expertise they will need to thrive in this immensely competitive environment. We all have been hearing a lot of rhetoric around skill gap, dearth of industry ready employable professionals, etc. – it all pivots around the inadequacies that are impacting conventional education.

A nationwide survey by EZVidya corroborated this fact by stating that over 80% of principals believe that undue focus on rote learning is leading to the poor quality of our education system.A survey of around 200 global and indigenous companies revealed that only about 14% of Indian graduates are ready for the workforce, primarily because of their inability to apply knowledge to solve real-world problems.

How to ensure every student is understanding and not cramming

Being a teacher today is also not an easy task. Teachers have always known that meeting the individual needs of each student accelerates the learning process. They have been heroic in their efforts to do this in classrooms of 30 or more students at a time. However, it’s challenging for even the most passionate teacher to meet the needs of every student.

Here is where online education can play a huge role. In two of the most watched TED Talks, Sal Khan, founder of non-profit Khan Academy, outlined a mastery-based learning vision, in which every teacher could be empowered to meet the needs of every student. This vision entails using technology to catalyse more human interaction, not less.

In this system, each student progresses through unlimited quizzes and questions at just the right level for them. They get immediate feedback as they learn and, when appropriate, learning interventions at the exact moment the student needs them. Teachers can track progress, identify gaps in learning, and use data to help individual students as well as shape classroom discussion.

Technology, as it does to everything it touches, has brought about a paradigm shifts in the way we conduct our day to day lives and the education sector is very much a part of this. Today, many digital learning apps are available for students. Smart classrooms are not just confined to the private sector. Several government establishments are embracing new age learning systems, fostering the government’s ambitious digital India program.

Why online tools are better for both teachers and students

Interactive technology based modules of imparting education not only help students grasp and retain better but also make learning an enjoyable experience. A child needs to inculcate creativity, have the dexterity of problem solving, and analytical thinking to compete in the increasingly digital global marketplace.

In such classrooms where teachers promote mastery-based-learning and make use of technology, students can learn at their own pace and teachers can track progress real-time. Empowered with information and insight to provide more personalised instruction, teachers are able to better meet the needs of every student and therefore build deeper connections.

(Author Sandeep Bapna is Managing Director of Khan Academy, India. Views expressed here are personal.)

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 14:20 IST