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Technology Edging Out The Classroom?

Post-pandemic, Indian regulators started accepting online degrees as a substitute to classroom degrees with most increasingly relying on remote learning programs that differed from regular offline courses

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Before the pandemic, higher education institutions (HEIs) had challenges to increase class enrollment, reach more students and engage better with learners from disparate parts of the country. Educators, students, guardians and policymakers were looking at a hybrid learning model – one where online learning is a viable alternative to traditional learning. Post-pandemic, Indian regulators started accepting online degrees as a substitute to classroom degrees with most increasingly relying on remote learning programs that differed from regular offline courses.

Changing Behaviour

Distance learning has become the norm, with many depending on hybrid learning methodologies that use online tutoring to attenuate the challenge of the ‘new normal’. According to a report by PwC India and the CII, online degrees and certification courses found greater traction among institutes in these times. In a clear shift toward digitisation, 43 per cent of higher education institutes conducted online admission tests with 26 per cent adopting digital promotion as an admission method. 58 per cent of students were interested in online certification courses and 60 per cent of students expressed willingness to explore the option of a parallel supplementary online degree alongside another institution. More than half of the students surveyed were also open to the idea of an online course offered remotely.

Among students, 86 percent have the most prerequisites for online learning and 96 percent are satisfied with existing online course delivery. Tech-enabled learning and remote classes usher in a holistic shift in higher learning. Over 47 percent of faculty respondents considered degrees via these methods to be the future of education.

E-Learning on the Rise

In these circumstances, the exponential growth of e-learning remains a cornerstone event. According to KPMG, India is now the second-largest market for e-learning after the US. The sector is expected to reach $1.96 billion by 2021 with the market reaching $3.5 billion by 2022. Online education users have risen to 9.6 million in 2021 from around 1.6 million in 2016.

According to an E&Y and FICCI report, hybrid learning methodology with its associated pedagogies and content delivers a unique student experience. It stresses on a learner-centric ecosystem that lowers operational costs for educationists also enabling better learner retention through innovative learning tools.

Using a plethora of educational technology resources is integral in hybrid learning, the online material is designed as an alternative to in-person material to bring in flexibility to the learning experience. Comprehensive student evaluations and peer benchmarking alongside granular reporting are all made possible through the use of technology in the hybrid model. Hybrid learning gives the learner the onus to accomplish a task. It leads to a self-directed learning style that is effective in the long run making teachers active enablers and mentors rather than being the drivers of learning interventions.

Xebia’s virtual platform, for example, enables educators to curate schedules based on what works for them while they still get access to resources they need to succeed. This way, educators have more control over their lectures.

Fostering Social-emotional Well-Being

Though hybrid learning enables students and educators to better learning outcomes, it also brings up questions of socialisation and connection in the classroom of today. Educators reimagine virtual settings beyond webcams, video conferences, and chat rooms in creative ways to reinforce in-person gatherings to help ease the social isolation in learners. This accelerated hybrid learning evolution enhances student experiences via virtual and augmented reality simulations and pursues flexible course schedules that make them future-ready.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Brijesh Kohli

Director, Xebia Academy

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