How can conventional educational institutes stay relevant?

EdTech as a sector is attracting a lot of investor interest. They are the “flavor of the season”.
conventional educational institutes

EdTech as a sector is attracting a lot of investor interest.  They are the “flavor of the season”. 

They rose up to the challenge that COVID-19 posed; companies like BYJU’S and others leveraged the power of media, technology, and quality content to keep the learning process on track. They managed to receive applause even from parents who were skeptical about e‑learning until now.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed how vulnerable and unprepared the conventional education system is. Most schools and universities resorted to online learning but delivering the same rote learning model through a different medium made no significant difference.

“Success in education equal to success in a career” is no longer the equation.

Conventional educational system is facing an existential challenge.  Staying relevant by innovation is the only way forward.

Innovating the Classroom

A small series of images show how things innovated with time except for education.

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We can see that there were no real initiatives to innovate the classroom. Students at both schools and higher education level need an innovative, and creative model of learning.

e.g. Edtech companies like BYJU’S, and Osmo uses non-conventional modes of teaching, such as using movie-like videos and game-like interactions. It engages students and keeps that child-like curiosity alive.

Changing the Role of Technology – Technology should play a foundational role vs a supervisory role in conventional classrooms. Digital tools like AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) can enhance the learning experience by allowing students to virtually explore monuments, take a trip to a different planet or even go back in time. The possibilities are endless when technology becomes the influencer for learning.

AI to Change the Role of Teachers – Technology like AI (Artificial Intelligence) can personalize the delivery of lessons and tests to an individual. Teachers can supplement information by AI and focus on helping struggling students.

In a traditional classroom, the process of teaching is similar to pouring knowledge from a filled vessel to an empty container. Teachers should become facilitators of learning rather than being a knowledge vessel. 

Transforming Academics – The academics of a conventional classroom is more of a one-size-fits-all approach. It is forcing students to read, record and regurgitate the same information. 

As Confucius Quotes- “Tell me, and I may forget; Show me, and I will remember; Involve me, and I will understand”.

Educational institutes should concentrate on building an application-based learning environment. The curriculum should allow students to study across disciplines and choose what they are really interested in.

A Blended Learning Strategy – Schools and universities should come up with a flexible solution that allows teachers and students to seamlessly switch between remote and onsite learning. This will greatly enhance the learning experience.

Preparing for the Future

Rate of Change in the Real World is Faster than Inside Schools/Universities

As per recent research, 53.6% of graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. In most cases, they are unemployable. It is due to the skill gap between what is taught in universities and what is expected at the workplace.

For example, the job profiles that exist today were not present, say 5 years ago and in some cases not even a year ago. Similarly, the jobs that will be available in the future are beyond our wildest imagination.

Edtech companies like WhiteHat Jr have introduced future-ready & industry-relevant skills such as computer coding to school kids. Many other Edtech companies are venturing into robotics, animation, and vocational courses.

Conventional educational institutes can follow this path and teach skills that are more relevant to contemporary industry requirement. Students should have an experiential and immersive learning experiences rather than memorizing and test-centric learning.

A quick question to the educational institutes. If everything that we use, such as, phones, food, means of transportation, means of communication, etc. can undergo revolutionary changes, why should not the way we teach and learn be completely revolutionized?

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