Assisted Learning Platforms are the way forward for Universal Education Post COVID19

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Assisted Learning Platforms are the way forward for Universal Education Post COVID19

Assisted Learning Platforms are the way forward for Universal Education Post COVID19

Chandrashekar Rao Kuthyar   ¦    Jun 29, 2020 12:28:58 PM (IST)

Assisted Learning Platforms are the way forward for Universal Education Post COVID19-1

"I have long believed that Coke has two products. One, the wonderful soft-drink which is sought after by millions across the world. They have carefully preserved the quality and ensured process compliance such that the same drink is available to everyone with the same taste and same experience and joy.

The other product is the extensive distribution network which they have built across the globe so that their drink reaches 7 billion people or more. This product involves an extensive ERP system, a Supply Chain Management, and integrated Production Planning System, an integrated Financial Settlement System, etc.

Irrespective of geography, country, state, district, town, village, locality, and shop, there is a fail-proof, repeatable way for retailers, distributors, bottlers, transporters to do their respective tasks in a self-service model. Behind the scenes, an extensive software workflow stitches together all the business processes and makes the whole thing as a single unified service to deliver high-quality goods to the end-customer with zero defect.

So what's the lesson we learn? It is possible to make education universal, no matter the location or the circumstance. The COVID19 pandemic has only pushed the envelope with its lockdown. The Lockdown forced teachers, students, parents, and institutions to adopt technology to teach and learn. The experience has been beneficial to both and is likely to outlive the Lockdown.

A very interesting outcome of the COVID situation has been the spread of Learning beyond the country borders. An organization known to me in UAE has been conducting top-class Tuition for students in the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Standards. The same company now aspires to capture the entire Indian market. Students in remote rural villages following CBSE or ICSE syllabus can enroll and get the benefit of a very experienced faculty in Dubai, who is already equipped to teach and bring higher echelons of learning to his students. While Infrastructure and Connectivity problems do exist, students manage to beg, borrow or rent mobile phones and laptops from their near and dear so that they can log in to these courses and use it as a supplement to the classes being conducted by his or her school. Sensing the predicament of students and the continuous pressure of parents to make their child an engineer or a doctor, such Learning Providers also provide a Career Assessment Service. This is a scientifically designed questionnaire and interview process to discover your own strengths and potential and offering you the right set of courses for career advancement. Although this is still at a nascent stage, we can expect more people to do a Litmus Test and ensure that we do not have a "Square Peg in a Round Hole" situation.

So what's new in this area? Protagonists are adopting three major types of E-learning approaches.

  1. Self-Service eLearning Modules - Recorded and offered for us. These are consumed using a computer or mobile by going to a password-enabled content website. Eg Udemy, Coursera etc.
  2. Instructor-led online training - Live, with Teacher or Instructor offering classes on different subjects as per a syllabus and schedule. Eg. Classes being run by Schools, Colleges, Universities, Trade Organizations, Vendor Associations, Product Manufacturers, etc. A single Training Session is normally referred to as a Webinar, most of the time, it is free and an invitation to sample what comes in a paid Training course. 90% of the Instructor-led Classroom Training is conducted over Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Whereby or any other Conferencing facility with the facility to share your Screen so that the content is visible to all.
  3. Instructor-led Online Training with Self-Service eLearning Modules for Practice - This is a blended approach where there is a judicious mix of both Instructor-led Training as well as Self-Service eLearning Modules for the course participants to go through the course material in detail after the online session is over. While physical, in-class training programs are conducted for 8 hours at a premise by many faculty members, the nature of the same training done online changes. It could be 2 hours of online training plus 6 hours of Self-Service eLearning Modules and assignments for the participant to read and learn the less critical portions by himself. So, the faculty chooses the most difficult portions and explains them during these 2 hours. The faculty provides enough hints or pointers for the student to spend the remaining 6 hours devouring the content which is kept in a secure, password-controlled website, typically available only for the paid users, for a certain restricted duration, say 8 days or 15 days so that all the Assignments and Homework is completed and submitted back to the Faculty. In some cases, the participants are allowed to do some Mini-Projects by collaborating among themselves in an electronic way.

As an example, a Technical Course run by the undersigned, "Fun with Programming using Python" is conducted for 5 days at a stretch, with 2 hours of online sessions every day. During the remaining time of the day, the faculty is busy correcting the submitted assignments and guiding the students as they scale their learning step-by-step. Instructors really have to thank Technology providers like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc for making it easy and simple to collaborate using very powerful tools such as Google Search, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Meet, FaceTime etc.

Assisted Learning Platforms are the way forward for Universal Education Post COVID19-2

Submitting Assignments over E-Mail is old-fashioned and can be tiring and error-prone as the number of students increases. Google Classroom is a wonderful initiative to create a virtual classroom with a Teacher and Students in a Closed User Group with a content exchange happening both ways. However, this requires everybody to compulsorily have a Google Account. Although the whole world has adopted Mobile Technologies, half the world's population using Android phones have not yet created a Google Account. Beyond Call, SMS, and WhatsApp, the technology can be quite awe-striking for normal citizens especially the urban parts of our planet.

In another example, there could be a set of very high-profile trainers conducting advanced topics such as "Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)" or "Emotional Intelligence" or "Mastering Art of Communication" . This kind of training is for the CEO, Directors, General Managers, Doctors, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, Proprietors of SMEs etc. These people are extremely busy and have a tight schedule. If there are 6 sessions over 6 days, it is quite likely that they might miss two of them due to work demands. However, these professionals sit late at night or get up early in the morning and go through the content before the next class starts. It is interesting to know the passion for learning both in a child of 12 years as well as an adult of 70 years. The child aspires to explore, discover, and unravel the hidden potential using his latent skills. The adult aspires to use this knowledge and experience to build tools and utilities so that the next generation can learn the same thing in half the time. Most adults with a passion for learning want to leave behind some assets which will most certainly be useful only for the next generation. I came across a person at age 75 delivering his talk with such gusto and passion that he could keep the audience spell-bound for 2 hours and more.

Instructors conducting various courses - Technical and Non-Technical are encouraged to use the Service provide by Assisted Learning Platforms such as those created by Newskarnataka.com which provide an end-to-end Service starting from Brochure, Registration, Payment, Passwords, Content Upload, Assignments, Feedback, Rating, Documentation, E-Mail, SMS, WhatsApp Notification, Conference Facility, Voice Recording, Video Editing, etc. All these should be done at low, affordable cost and by ensuring that the privacy, security, and business interests of the individual or company is protected at all times.

Feedback may be provided at ckuthyar@gmail.com