Does online learning have the potential to change the entire education system?
Education System
Chetna Sabharwal

Ushering towards the Edverse- Metaverse of education

Traditional education systems are no longer fit for achieving literacy and numeracy goals. Young people and adults report that education does not equip them with the knowledge, experience, skills, or values needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Learning continues to enhance skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and empathy.

Employers complain of considerable skills mismatch, while many adults need more access to affordable training and re-skilling opportunities. Teachers are often underpaid, undervalued, need better training, and are held back by outdated roles, methods, and instruction tools. Parents and families decry the value or lack of return on their investments in education and their children.

The global and Indian education sector is currently surfing the waves of digital transformation. The pandemic brought the most unexpected yet desirable change in the education system worldwide. From the intelligent class to the smart masses, students, teachers, parents, schools, and policymakers, all the stakeholders are geared up to embrace the technology at supersonic speed.

Multiple service providers mushroomed to deliver the services. Edtech swelled up to unexpected limits. And then, with the reopening of schools, the bubble burst happened. However, the length and breadth of the education sector are like an ocean, and looking at the trends and learning needs of 1.5 million schools in India alone; the worldwide learning loss due to the pandemic stands at $17 trillion.

Let us see how the future education system could be with these five factors approach:

Affordability: With the unrestricted availability of content and curriculum needs across the globe, the institution’s approach should be to pick and implement the best-customized solutions for their learners. The first step is identifying the learning loss through adequate tools and techniques.

An institution in an urban area might have different needs than a rural one. Knowing the degree of learning loss will help to chart the right course to recovery. The assigned budgets by the management and the government could facilitate learning per the analysis. The teachers and the parents must be on board to ensure the learning loss recovery.

Flexibility: Virtual or hybrid education encourages educators and students to set their learning rate, and there is the added flexibility of establishing a program that fits everyone’s agenda. Using mix-and-match educational platforms allows them to balance the need of their curriculum as well as caters to differentiated learners, making it all-inclusive.

Having a shared plan between the learner and educator can also prompt both parties to accept new responsibilities and have more autonomy.

Accessibility: Who would have thought that the two magic tools, the internet, and a device, could make education accessible to all? The world is moving towards designing its curriculum to be employable. The side-gigs, vocational skills, or entertainment, the learner as young as 13 years exploring and becoming adapt at the changing scenario of finding their passion and purpose. With the option of learning and training from anywhere in the world, the institutions have to gear up to the changing needs of the learners and the industry.

Skills Augmentation: ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.’ With the enormous variety to learn, practice, network, and engage for everyone, mentors and teachers only teach their proteges about ‘How to learn and balance their two EQs; Employability and Emotional Quotients.’ Open sources like MOOCs, Swayam, Diksha, Khan Academy, Lumen Learning, and many other forums have given access to all.

It is the choice and motivation of the learner, irrespective of age, gender, and place, to design their learning and career. With competency-based education paving the way to the future economy, the foremost measure is to create an environment and curriculum to equip the youth with the right and relevant skillset.

Beyond Boundaries: Online classes tend to be smaller than conventional classes; hence, the personalized experience for doubt clearing, concept clarity, and practice becomes more fruitful. Imagine the diversity and inclusion it caters to. Learners from anywhere, all backgrounds, and beyond their disability of any kind can learn and prosper.

Moreover, goal setting and performance need not be ranked, and there is no rush to perform. Each one learning at their own pace with no comparison but achieving the desired outcome is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

With the metaverse giving all these flexible options to learn and grow, the knowledge economy will transform at an exponential rate. It also shows immense promise to be not only one of the fastest-growing territories but could potentially be a significant contributor to the overall metaverse economy in times to come. The beauty of this two-way learning lane is that the digital natives and digital immigrants will meet somewhere midway to accomplish the sustainable development goals of education and more.

About the Author

Dr (HC) Chetna Sabharwal

Director, Skills Reform and Association of Indian Principals

Brief: Working for 25+ years at the carrefour of education, psychology, mathematics, and career guidance. The final call comes into all-encompassing ‘social entrepreneurship.’ Her expertise in strategic alliances includes building collaborative partnerships with Edtech start-ups, universities, and schools to engage students, leaders, and faculty in training and global branding.

As an established author for mathematics and psychology, she has trained 5000+ teachers on curriculum development, basic counselling skills, and becoming an Edupreneur. Working closely with NITI Aayog, MHRD, NCERT, NIOS, and NCS on various Edtech projects and assignments, her versatility keeps her busy as an international speaker on various forums.

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