The pandemic has upended the world as we know it. Its impact has been both deep-rooted and wide-ranging, encompassing the various facets of our everyday lives. Its effect on the realm of higher education has been no different.
One of the most significant consequences that it has engendered in the educational sector has been to thrust technology onto an industry that has traditionally been slow to adopt it leaving us all with the glaring question – will classrooms ever be the same again? However, out of this disruption that it has caused, there has been a vital realization of the potential of technology and the opportunities that it has provided the higher education landscape with.
Our world is in a state of constant flux with floods, riots, and high levels of pollution creating a fraught environment that hinders face-to-face learning. Education, however, must not come to a halt despite the turbulences that characterize our surroundings.
The pandemic has taught us some vital lessons which we can put to practice as we brace ourselves and prepare for what comes next. The changing face of education for the post-pandemic world has shown us that hybrid learning is a new way forward.
The 21st century has been characterized by a blended education structure that offers a combination of online and in-class models that complement and supplement one another to provide a holistic learning experience for students.
These blended classes have encouraged students to be independent, self-disciplined, and adapt themselves to a world that is constantly changing, evolving, and growing in new and often unexpected ways. It offers the perfect balance of theoretical knowledge and the necessary practical exposure.
Most importantly, it ensures greater flexibility where students and teachers can match their pace with the progressing curriculum. Institutes have incorporated unique and immersive teaching resources as part of their model that can not only accommodate remote learning but can also give students and teachers a sense of control and agency when it comes to the place, pace, and time of classes.
This often results in greater participation and thereby a more collaborative and interactive environment. Online learning that was initially introduced as a way of survival, as a means to cope with uncertain times during the pandemic is today emerging as the future of the education system at a global level.
The pandemic has helped us understand that hybrid learning is perhaps the most sensible and safest way to continue education not only during these uncertain times but even beyond it.
Education technology today has bloomed like never before. With large brick-and-mortar educational institutions being slow to pivot to online learning and virtual classrooms, Edtech has reinvented education for the digital age.
What this has helped us realize is that smaller organizations can be much more efficient in the times that we are currently living in where change has become a constant. Such institutions can not only take quicker decisions and adjust their practices according to the situation they find themselves in, but they can also be fast to implement models that make for a smooth transition from one mode of learning to another.
The higher education sector has witnessed a stark increase in the adoption of tools and software as it enters the digital space. These new-age technologies have created a whole new virtual environment that provides a personalized, customized, and most importantly creative learning space and experience. Creativity is the way forward for education.
As we move beyond the traditional rote learning that has characterized our schools and colleges, it has now become essential to ensure that students are equipped with the skills, aptitude, and understanding to grapple with the challenges of the world we live in today and be able to work towards a better and brighter future.
Higher education plays an extremely significant part in encouraging both human and societal well-being. It also contributes towards sustainable livelihoods and the economic development of the nation. The pandemic has forced us to rework our traditional understanding of education as we move towards making India a knowledge economy.
Hybrid education systems have shown us the importance of creativity in the teaching models we offer students and design has provided an avenue to change how we perceive not only education but the very world we inhabit. It has encouraged students to think out of the box, find answers through logical thinking and reasoning, and ask the right questions without inhibition. It has provided for an education that cajoles students to learn, unlearn and relearn.
The creativity that a blended learning structure paves the way for bodes well for the future. It inherently implies a space that nurtures explorers, experimenters, thinkers, and innovators.
An environment that encourages students to bring in their own experiences lived realities, and perspectives to shape their understanding of the world around them and arrive at solutions to the problems that plague modern times through collaboration, empathy, logical reasoning, and practical skills.
Despite the many dire consequences of the pandemic, perhaps there is some silver lining, after all, one that promises a new dawn for the future of education within the country and beyond.