Jerold Chagas Pereira is the CEO of mPowerO, an ed-tech SaaS platform for eLearning. Jerold has 20+ years of sustained high performance in operations and business development across electronics, retail, hospitality and real estate sectors and has held leadership positions at large Indian business groups such as Tata, Piramal, DLF and Videocon. Jerold has a Master in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Accountancy from the HR College of Commerce & Economics – University of Mumbai.
In recent months, there are numerous articles and webinars relating to the “Future of Education post Covid-19” – obviously a subject of much debate and deliberation. I, too, find this topic of immense interest for a couple of reasons!
The first being that, as of date, we remain unsure about if and when there will be a world “post” Covid. If anything, it seems that Covid-19 will become a way of life – one more virus that will get bucketed along with others like the common cold, etc, which great treated through preventive measures like flu shots or as and when there is an incident.
The second is that the “future” of education is already upon us – evolution in learning and education is continuous. It is just that Covid-enforced lockdowns accelerated the process of adopting newer ways of learning. For example, digital classrooms, which delivered more experiential learning, have been in existence for a long time. And it is already a well proven fact that ‘watch and learn’ or experiential learning is definitely 8-10 times more effective for comprehending new concepts as well as for retention of the same.
The same is the case with “asynchronous” learning. It is just that the Covid-19 pandemic forced widespread adoption in the shortest possible time, and hence concepts, terminology, pedagogical approaches, etc, which were already in existence before, have now become mainstream and “ed-tech” has become the darling of investors and venture capitalists.
So, now to the point of “what is the future of education?”. The word education, as defined in the Oxford dictionary is, “the process of teaching or learning; the theory and practice of teaching; training in a particular subject”.
Like with travel, dining, banking and insurance, etc, technology has disrupted education as well. The future in education, therefore, is the intersection of technology and other experiential learning aids with the “process” of teaching or learning. From the approximately 18 months that children have ‘schooled from home’, there have been learning – many good, but some not-so-good – which should get embedded in education, particularly K12 schooling, as schools gradually being to reopen in their physical form.
Some of the key takeaways, and this isn’t in order of priority, are:
- Access to learning resources being made available by the school post school hours is extremely beneficial. It is a known fact that every child has different learning abilities and attention spans. In traditional schooling, instructor-led learning stops when each class period ends. For those students who are slower to comprehend or too shy to request for a repeated explanation, there has been no recourse other than to seek after-school external support – usually in the form of private tuitions. However, with learning platform now hosting school learning resources in a structured manner, children are able to revisit lessons or lectures that they have not fully understood or even missed at their own time and at their own pace.
- Transparency off learning progress is another big ‘win’ since most technology platforms have in-built analytics and dashboards that can show real-time student learning progress and comprehension. It is not that student progress mapping did not exist before. But when a lot more learning is happening via a digital platform, a student’s digital fingerprint is getting captured with every click, and hence there is more granularity to learning progress and learning outcomes.
- In a similar vein, taking off point 2, comes ‘personalization’. With all the data being captured on a learning platform, it is much easier to understand the interventions that are required in order to strengthen areas where a student may not be ‘up-to-speed’ and do so in a timely manner. Accordingly, by leveraging this information and curating “personalised learning paths” for remedial action, there is bound to be improvements in performance outcomes vis-à-vis traditional methods.
- Further, technology enables auto-corrected assessments to be interleaved with greater frequencies, which helps students self-assess their comprehension of concepts, and motivates them to strengthen areas where they are not “up-to-the-mark”. Digital content is generally more interactive and engaging, and hence when bundled with frequent assessments is bound to show an uptick in results.
There are many, many more reasons as to why the ‘future’ of education will see more usage and intervention of digital platforms, rich content, etc. Further, the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, has also recognised the importance of integrating ‘digital skills’ into the core K-12 curriculum, which again is a positive step in ensuring better future-ready alignment of students for when they graduate.
In summary, the education will and should continue to evolve, and with it, digital platforms and other digital learning aids will become more embedded and existential as supplements in the years to come.