Sunil Dahiya, EVP - Wadhwani Opportunity, Wadhwani Foundation

Sunil Dahiya, EVP, Wadhwani Opportunity from Wadhwani Foundation leads the Wadhwani Opportunity Program in Asia and is expanding its footprint in emerging economies. He undertook multi-initiatives at NIIT and contributes to building industry connections for placing 200K students. Mr. Dahiya Co-founded a new business venture ‘Stackroute’ and led the B2C digital Transformation series. With immense experience of 25 years in vocational & training space, Sunil Dahiya has Hons in Economics from Delhi University.

 

As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has made a deep dent in the education system globally. As per UNICEF, at the peak of lockdowns, more than 1.5 billion children were affected by school closures, causing an unprecedented global learning crisis. The closure of educational institutions across 188 countries has accelerated the adoption of alternative learning mechanisms. UNICEF’s survey in 149 countries on national education responses to COVID-19 highlights that more than 33% of respondent countries have introduced remedial programmes to help children catch up with their learning loss. It is notable that 90% of the respondent countries used e-learning methods.

The new e-learning environment is being re-invented and digital education has opened up new avenues for teachers and students, ensuring greater involvement in the learning value chain. Education in India needs to improve massively, especially in far reaching corners. We need to upgrade teaching methodologies, plug in the shortage of teachers, improve the student-teacher ratio, and enhance knowledge resources. Currently, both the learner and academia embrace e-learning methodology more as a temporary solution for Covid-19 times. Still, the need is to take e-learning forward and add it as a long-term framework to existing learning models.

Taking remote/e-learning learning one step ahead is to offer learning solutions directly to a user, which can deliver a highly customizable and engaging learning journey. With the internet becoming affordable and more accessible, we will have a greater convergence of digital and traditional teaching-learning mediums. In India, with around 850 million mobile phone users(Statista 2021) and close to 5 hours spent daily on apps (AppAnnie’s report, 2021), opens up enormous potential of delivering learning solutions directly to learners. With advances in connectivity and aspirations of tailor-made learning, “Direct2Learner(D2L)” skilling is becoming an integral part of the learning delivery method for many organizations.

“Direct2Learner(D2L)” is a mechanism through which learning is delivered directly to a learner using technologies like mobile (Internet-enabled), television, radio etc. However, learning using a mobile phone is usually the most preferred and effective way of delivery. Learning using mobile phones and the internet is highly interactive and can be undertaken anywhere-anytime.  D2L can have two major variants; the First one being completely ‘self-driven’ by the student and the second one being ‘blended’, where a teacher facilitates guided learning using online tools.

The key advantages of the Direct2Learner (D2L) model are as follows:

  • Brings learning at doorstep, can be undertaken at the home, office, or while travelling
  • Offers enormous flexibility in terms of individual learning or group learning
  • Extremely convenient, available 24*7
  • Offer financial benefits due to reduced commuting, other associated expenses
  • Quick customization in content is possible
  • Variety of learning tools; game-based, video-based, audio-based etc.
  • Possibility of being part of a global community
  • Solves for the availability of good trained teachers
  • Access to high-quality training from reputed organizations
  • Safest learning option during pandemic and lockdowns

Key challenges for the Direct2Learner model:

  • Accessibility of devices in remote and rural areas and with poor is still a problem
  • Not everything can be taught as effectivity using online tools and methodology, especially hard skills
  • Learners need to be more disciplined
  • Active learning skills are critical

Overall, “Direct2Learner” is poised to bring a paradigm shift in the way education is delivered; it is going to be the face of future education in the country. It will give enormous power to content creators and learners to create and utilize high quality, engaging content and training. With new technologies like VR & AR, the “Direct2Learner” model will be even more engaging and effective and may also find a way to minimize laboratory dependency for practising hard skills.

However, there is still a huge dependency on the Government and Private organizations to make it accessible to every citizen and accepted by the masses. Creating an enabling infrastructure that can support this new education system will be key, especially for rural and remote areas.  This will also involve training our teachers/trainers on using online technologies (blended), including communication and teaching tools to create a powerful impact for learners. We would also need to popularize all such available resources among the masses using appropriate channels to be aware of such online courses, tools and platforms, and start experiencing the benefits.

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