Learning environment

Virtual learning environment stimulating physical learning in the classroom

In recent years there has been a lively discussion about using technology to reach learners in order to make the education system effective with access and equity. Digital learning environments that were gradually gaining popularity became a constraint during the pandemic in 2020 and came as a savior for about two years to just support education activities. This has resulted in broader thinking to establish web-friendly digital learning ecosystems free from restrictions of time, place and access under new standards. A number of online teaching solutions, electronic content of study materials, online assessment and assessment, etc. have proliferated to facilitate virtual learning processes. Undoubtedly, these e-learning initiatives have the potential to meet learning aspirations with barrier-free accessibility, but the cost of using this e-learning remains a major concern. Varying socio-economic conditions in society act as a disincentive to e-learning, including the digital divide, the cost of accessing internet facilities, and the cost of using e-learning products and services. line. This has undoubtedly opened up a new dimension in the formal education system where online education programs, blended learning, etc. are now put into practice to meet teaching-learning-assessment requirements with less reliance on the campuses of physical institutions. There is no capacity restriction in online mode because the number of users depends solely on the limitations of the computer facilities provided for this purpose. It also has the potential to improve gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education, subject to affordability of internet, educational products and services. In a way, setting up the regulations for the management of virtual education programs, i.e. online degree/diploma programs, is a panacea to achieve the targeted GER of 50 d by 2035 in accordance with the National Education Policy – 2020. Nevertheless, introspection of the ubiquitous rapid online learning model versus the conventional face-to-face teaching-learning model can yield significant insights.

Concern for teachers:

Teachers belong to the privileged community with the heavy responsibility of forming young and innocent minds. They must give the best of their abilities in all interactions with students in the formal education system of educational institutions. However, the ubiquitous availability of digital learning content through the Internet has made it possible for learners to self-learn and for students to have the opportunity to compare the online learning model with the offline mode of learning and to Act in consequence. This created a new challenge of getting students into classrooms. Access to digital content is gradually creating a perception of teacher-assisted learning redundancy in classrooms and weakening student participation in campus education. Undeniably, self-learning via digital content offers great potential to supplement classroom interactions, but viewing it as a substitute for assisted learning on physical campuses can lead to an insufficient knowledge base and misunderstanding. materials in a timely manner.

Furthermore, the prevailing digital divide and digital devices beyond the reach of a large population of the country disproves the possibility of digital learning for all. This requires the reinforcement of educational processes in classrooms and increases teachers’ responsibilities to make classroom and laboratory interactions meaningful.

Technological concerns:

The education system is one of the major areas where technology has been widely leveraged to enhance learning experiences. Technology solutions for effective connectivity enabled virtual collaboration and knowledge sharing, online classroom interactions as per student needs, interactive simulations, real-time chat, polls, student progress tracking, assessment tools, digital storage of all activities and rapid retrieval of stored information. because corrections and improvements have opened up new perspectives. Consideration of facilities integrated with digital learning platforms and their rapid scaling and customization to specific requirements is moving towards a virtual education system that does not need a physical campus. In addition, flexibility, repeatability in its use, objectivity in evaluation and evaluation, rapid processing, etc. are likely to offer a parallel educational system that can perform all the tasks performed by educational institutions with many human being interventions. With available technology, it is possible to establish a virtual institution of learning with digital course content, online content delivery/mentoring/assessment/examination/assessment/certification and Other Associated Processes for Distance Education Programs.

Artificial intelligence and data analysis using machines can perform great analysis, but they lack the human touch in perceiving results and assessments that may not be appropriate. Despite attempts to emulate educational activities as teachers do using technology, the usefulness of physical campuses for carrying out teaching-learning-examining-assessment processes cannot be suppressed.

Student concerns:

Gen Z students are much more fascinated with the use of technology in learning than Gen Y students. There is a visible increase in the adaptation of digital learning alternatives. The time spent by learners on digital gadgets is constantly increasing to satisfy their learning desire to acquire knowledge on their own. However, the low employability of students due to insufficient skills indicates some shortcomings. This requires comparing the effectiveness of self-study using digital options with assisted learning in physical classrooms. Unsupported learning has inherent limitations in developing a good understanding of the fundamentals and applying them in real-life situations compared to teacher-assisted learning.

In addition, too much screen time and a decrease in physical activities began to show physiological disorders and health problems are visible. Moreover, from the perspective of constructing healthy concepts, the usefulness of the face-to-face teaching-learning mode in the classroom is that the best equipped teachers are passionate and committed to teaching, nevertheless , digital content can still support individuals in bridging learning gaps as needed. Therefore, learners must carefully balance between online and offline modes of teaching. The digital learning model is quite amazing but has its limits in the rooting of the capacities expected in learners.

The importance and relevance of formal education on physical campuses need no longer be emphasized in a country like India which boasts of the ancient educational system of Gurukuls and Ashrams where the activities of teaching were conducted with students and teachers living together for longer periods of time.

It is high time that all teachers must develop strategies to counter the ensuing paradigm shift in the education system through their engaged and creative approaches while encouraging the use of technology to complement learning processes in order to to develop an effective education system. The demographic dividend available to our nation calls for stronger education systems with due regard to access and equity to meet the aspirations of a large segment of the young population. At the same time, stronger education systems will open up enormous opportunities to provide well-educated, creative and capable young people to serve the world and contribute to the sustainability of civilization, strengthen the economy and bring prosperity.



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The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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