The rise of integrated learning solutions
Infrastructure development and an overhaul of the bureaucracy has made the world sit up and take notice of India’s abilities to leapfrog its peers within the developing nations. Education sector too seems to be in line for a revamp. In the recently concluded budget, the government announced a string of measures to benefit the 25+ Cr student population of this country. The traditional ‘Chalk & Talk’ model is passé. Evolution of teaching methodologies has given rise to an integrated approach towards optimized learning.
Income growth within the middle class has led to a high demand for quality private educational institutions. As cities have reached a saturation point, well-established brands within education sector are opening campuses in Tier-2 & Tier-3 cities. As the recent Google report suggests, close to 1Bn Indians will be online by 2030. Thus, digital Solutions will become the backbone for Education 2.0, if we may call it. The industry is set to create ripples across every nook and corner of India.
The last decade has seen a shift in the teaching approach. While the traditional education through print medium is non-interactive, unidirectional and limited in nature, students are prone to start using technology quiet early in their lives. It is essential that educational institutions find a ‘best of both worlds’ solution for using both traditional as well as digital medium to deliver learning. In turn the focus has now shifted towards an overall personality development. Skills that help improve the productivity by stimulating innovation and growth are taught from an early stage. Thus aiming to improve the socio-economic outcomes. As changing of a legacy system overnight is impractical, institutions are targeting customized Integrated Learning Solutions model. In this way, institutions retain the independence to develop the right mix of digital learning and print for their pupils.
Eg: The institutions are bringing in parents into the student’s development programme. Early in the academic year, the respective authorities agree upon the development outcomes. During the course of the year, the teachers in association with the school and parents work towards accomplishing these pre-defined goals. In the process, they measure the progress and often course correct if there is a deviation from the preset path. Parents are provided the medium to track progress of their wards, thus making them part of the progress and a worthy stakeholder. In contrast to the traditional way of teaching, feedback is shared with students on a real-time basis. This feedback is implemented during the year rather than waiting for the final exams. We will discuss the advantages of following this approach:
Self-learning: Even though the aim is student development, two other stakeholders have shown massive improvements in their roles – Teachers & Parents. In this process, parents learn about right approach & timeframe for their ward’s development. While, teachers can optimize their efforts through personalization of teaching techniques as required by the pupils. Additionally, teachers can also plan accordingly by mapping the future requirements of the students. Finally, they are able to foresee any additional functional training requirements for self and assist management of school to improve the overall quality of teaching.
Inclusivity: Parents are now being as involved in the overall development of their wards as possible. They are no longer passive players. With access to real-time progress reports parents can provide feedback to teachers to ensure the best steps are initiated. This association between school & parents will build a trust factor, which cements their partnership on a long-term basis.
Productivity: With sharing of feedback on a real-time basis, the time utilization by students gets optimized in order to improve specific skills. The teacher-student bond is strengthened owing to the efficient and increased communication between them. Practical assignments tend to peak students’ interest. They also provide real-time feedback and create a positive impact on their day-to-day productivity.
Knowledge-bank: For schools, the data collected through experiences of even a single-year can assist in realigning their strategy and help them be in line with dynamics of tomorrow’s times. Learnings of a specific year will help the schools take an optimized approach not only for class management but also while handling the daily affairs of the school. As knowledge in print medium is limited, combining it with digital learning will ensure an in-depth understanding for the students. Thus, both quality of learning as well as of teaching can be improved exponentially. Online resources can help bring the teacher community closer through Teacher Forums. This in turn will lead to an increased sharing of best practices within the world of academia.
Challenges: With the adoption of every new technology comes the challenge of the cost factor and the extent of plunge one should take in order to get an optimal benefit not only for its pupils but also to the institution. Training and sensitizing the academia involved along with ensuring use of the technology is the next challenge. This will be time consuming, as there is a need to initiate a cultural change. One should plan and prepare for facing a resistance in the early days. Having overcome the initial hiccups, the management should be able to provide better services to the students. Mixing the right amount of digital and print seamlessly with clearer benchmarking should keep confusion at bay. All stakeholders involved should agree on the advantages of using this new model. Regular & detailed Feedback about processes should keep interest levels high.
Considering the above points, personalizing the learning solutions according to a student’s needs and discarding the one-size-fits-all attitude will define the success rate of Integrated Learning Solutions.
(The author is country manager, EDHEC Business School)