Spice Route

Education Trends 2017

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As a topic that is always in vogue and often debated – education is a hands-down winner. The importance of good education can hardly be over emphasized. Naturally then there is a constant need to innovate and keep education current in tune with the needs of the day. Here are some key trends that will define education in 2017.

Integrated Approach to Learning

Creating powerful programs using immersive and experiential learning that use blended approach integrating activities, exercises and adventure elements is how integrated learning will be going forward. Experiential education where “learning-by-doing” and is hands-on and participatory is also going to be key. Dr. Vijay Joshi, Principal of K.J Somaiya College of Science and Commerce, Somaiya Vidyavihar says, “experiential learning is also applying what you already know to unfamiliar and variable situations, such as in making a car in engineering studies, or mapping pollution levels of a river in environmental science, or understanding the sociology of a place or trade’s culture in sociology studies. The experience focuses reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values.” In an immersive environment, students are engaged in real life that allows them to discover key insights that have the potential of changing the way they see life.

Skilling the Teaching Fraternity

Teach the teacher is the best way of skilling the person who is primarily in charge of imparting education. Several educational institutions invest time and money in ensuring the teaching staff is constantly being trained and updated on what is new – both in terms of the subject as well as the teaching methodologies. Fatima Agarkar, Educationist and Co-Founder of KA EduAssociates  says, “in the modern era, children are able to access a lot more, multi task, process faster and importantly find ‘answers’ independently which basically means simply stating facts in a classroom will not be ‘good enough’ to match pace with times. Teachers will need to get learners to apply their knowledge and skills, enable them to challenge themselves. Additionally, teachers today must multi task, embrace technology, think laterally and ‘out of the box’ as well learn to keep the learners in their home-rooms engaged. They need to process information in ways that children do and also be open to accepting information in the manner that the 21st century child shares it.”

Focusing On Holistic Development and Skills

Educational institutions are today increasingly focusing on preparing students to compete on a global stage by enhancing their skills. Today, parents and educators are looking for an approach that is in tune with each child’s unique needs and skills, and one that prepares the child to become a well-rounded adult. Subramanyam Reddy, Co-Founder, KnowledgeHut says, “our education and training must also enable children to think on their feet and respond to the rapidly changing environment. This necessitates a more holistic approach to education, particularly in imparting skills that will foster innovation and creativity, that will open up effective communication and encourage hands-on problem solving.” Niru Agarwal, Trustee, Greenwood High adds, “a student should be kept engaged in a way which empowers them to use their academic learning as a foothold for their emotional, psychological and social development. Students should be made to study a range of subjects and support academics through their involvement in science experiments, projects related to humanities, musical plays etc. Learners should not only function effectively but should also discover how important it is to be independent, to be responsible and to be accountable for their actions.”

E-Learning Tools

The digital revolution and boom in smart phone adoption in India has brought in a lot of changes in education. Technology is shaping the way children learn across age groups. It has charted out a whole new way of learning for the younger generations, thereby making e-learning vital for children across grades. E-learning combines teachers, videos, interactive and innovative technology to deliver personalized learning, feedback and assessments. “It is not just offline learning taken online, by simply digitizing the content; technology is used extensively to make learning better and more effective online. Learning through technology triggers change in how students consume and share content. It offers them newer ways to explore concepts and initiate learning on their own.  Use of technology in education no longer limits learning to books, but allows use of platforms like apps, videos, websites etc. Videos are extensively used in e-learning as it helps students register concepts faster and better,” says Byju Raveendran, Found & CEO, BYJU’S The Learning App.

New Methods of Assessing Learning

Again while alternative learning tools are being explored there is a shift in the way assessments are happening. Traditionally, faculties used to evaluate students’ knowledge through examination papers, and theoretical learning and not on the practical aspect of learning like implementation of the techniques learnt and hence the grading was done on the basis of apt definitions written in the examination paper. “Over the period of time, the assessment process has changed. With technology overpowering almost every sphere, Artificial Intelligence (AI) assessment is now a reliable form of examining through the learning processes. It is a software system that infers problem-specific rules for automated scoring. Video Quizzes is a wakeup call to the student and turning passive video viewing into active learning. Other methods of assessment includes E-portfolios, which is a new way of evaluation what the students have done over the period of time, such portfolios include papers, content writing, blogs, team projects etc. Another interesting form is Peer assessment, where the evaluation is done by peers, this tool helps in improving the quality of work and initiate new ideas and decision making amongst them,” says Pratik Marwah, Co-founder and COO of iAugmentor.

This story appeared in the May 2017 issue of Spice Route magazine here: Education Trends 2017

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