The Digital Learning Revolution: How Classes are Moving Out Of The Classroom
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Every learning process has two principal stakeholders—students and teachers, or as we like to call them learners and helps—and two fundamental engagement tools, questions and answers. Learning processes essentially can be centered on either the teacher or the student, but the outcomes they result in are drastically different. The didactic learning process wherein the teacher occupied the central role and the student was merely a blank slate (Tabula Rasa) was a monotonous and regimented affair, relying solely on the transfer of knowledge from a teacher to a student.
Opposed to it, the new-age online learning method which has its roots in the revolutionary teaching methods of Socrates, the ancient Greek logician and thinker, has turned the very nature of learning inside out. It proposes a student centered mode of learning wherein the visible demarcations of master and disciple are essentially blurred and both exist as equal stakeholders.
Online learning—A solution tailor-made for the Indian academia
Indian classrooms are growing in numbers every day, and the overburdened teachers are unable to bridge the learning gap experienced by individual students. Edtech tools are the best solution to ensure accessibility of quality education in our country, and its growing demand across the student community validates this stance. In fact, India has become the third-largest market for online education, with trends such as P2P collaborative learning systems becoming the latest rage in the domain of education and learning.
Technology and new-age tools have practically reformed the existing learning framework. Now, teachers, students and parents simultaneously interact in a cohesive union, relentlessly pursuing knowledge through an active collaboration of ideas and critical faculties. This empowers the students to be their own masters by equipping them with a customized and practical form of education and allows them to exercise control over their learning which would help them better in terms of practical and real-time application. When learners get to assert better control over their learning experience, they are likely to take a more proactive stance towards the same, ultimately resulting in better outcomes.
The education system in India has long suffered from inherent flaws and inadequacies owing to its direct and continued formal dependency on the colonial education system which stresses on ineffective rote learning and representing facts on paper without practical realization. But things are fast changing. Online education has really picked up pace as over 370 million Internet users and countless more localized and global entrepreneurs are readily investing in the online education market. By 2018, India had 3,500 edtech start-ups running operations across the country.
Replacing standardization with personalization
Going beyond the conventional one-way process, digital platforms allow users to overcome the limits of time and space, as a learner could now access evaluate and assess information from anywhere at any time, as long as one has an Internet connection and an inclination to learn. Since every individual possesses a unique mental aptitude and grasping level and one can learn at a pace that best suits them through such platforms. These platforms empower every individual to grasp knowledge at a personal customized pace which makes learning easy and desirable rather than a sordid task at hand which one dreads and undertakes unwillingly.
Edtech platforms also serve as a single platform for every stakeholder in education to come together. They celebrate the uniqueness and individuality of every student by bringing all the elements of the classroom—the teachers, the students and the parents in an organic unison. The spirit of doubt, curiosity and creativity are now encouraged which has brought about massive changes in the hitherto predefined dimensions of knowledge. These platforms further allow the learning process to continue at home through uninterrupted assistance and guidance. The teacher no longer has to be physically present to tutor the child whenever they get stuck on a particular problem or a tricky lesson.
Today, the e-learning market in India is approximated to be worth more than three billion dollars. The National Draft Education Policy, 2019 also lays significant emphasis on increasing the penetration of technology in all aspects of education. Although formal education structure still holds the same relevance, the very manner of its proliferation has undergone a monumental change owing to the rise of digital learning. Digital edtech tools have reduced the workload on teachers, who now thrive in their new role as a catalyst of change that proactively engages and enables the students to acquire knowledge from multiple sources.
When students are allowed to become their own masters and be responsible for the supervision of their learning experience, it initiates the formation of an informed and empowered society that prizes questioning over obedience and intelligence over authority. Online learning platforms have indeed done away with the space-time restrictions of classrooms and empowered the primary stakeholder in learning, i.e. the learner itself, in a manner that would surely have made Socrates proud.