It has been well said that
“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember, Involve me and I learn”
Learning can only be termed holistic learning when it can bring psychological, social, and emotional growth in a learner and he gets able to fulfil his dreams and aspirations towards self, society, nation and the world. The goal of education is to make a student well-aware of his abilities and enable him to be a competent learner, responsible citizen and a good human being.
Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Directorate, 20106 explains the need for Learning Transformation in 21st century as: “Today, because of rapid economic and social change, schools have to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that we don’t yet know will arise.”
The National Education Policy has emphasized the importance of student-centric education. It has been well accepted that a student is the core stakeholder in an Educational Institute. So his satisfaction in terms of choice of course, instructor, pace of learning, examination and results is a high priority concern of Higher Educational Institutes; and continuous Quality Enhancement should be the on-going process to fill the learning gaps at the required level.
Taking all these factors into consideration, University Grant Commission (UGC) has shown the acceptability of alternating learning modes including classroom learning, online learning or distance learning in all courses whether disciplinary courses, interdisciplinary courses or vocational courses that leads to the implementation of Blended learning (BL).
NEP 2020 clearly states that it is the time of Education Transformation and shifting the education paradigm from Teacher-centered to Learner-centered Education. The Education Transformation deals to increase the flexibility to students and enhance the quality of education in line with:
The advancement in digital technology has influenced all the domains of the world, the Education domain has also inclined towards digital learning. Today the learners do not enjoy the traditional learning methods, but demand for the incorporation of digitools in the classroom learning to make it more creative and engaging. Blended learning (BL) is nothing but leveraging technology in classroom face to face teaching-learning practices.
NEP 2020 recommends student-centered learning in Educational Institutes where flexibility and multidisciplinary knowledge play their major role to produce skilled and knowledgeable young minds. NEP 2020 mentions the significance of complementary use of both digital learning and face to face learning, thus promoting the execution of Blended models in Education.
The important characteristics of BL are:
- Improved Students’ engagement in sessions
- Better teacher-pupil interaction
- Leaning at their own time
- Self-governed and continuous learning
- More prospects of empirical learning
Role of teacher and learner in BL:
In the framework of BL, the teacher plays the role of coach or facilitator. BL has shifted the education model from teacher-directed to learner-driven. One –size fits all is no longer followed in teaching, while the customized learning keeping with differentiation as the main factor works well with BL. The integration of technology with classroom education provides the elbow room for the learners to become active learners who can be the center of the Education system and govern their own learning with the best traits of facilitation by teachers to meet the individual needs of students.
With the use of technology in teaching-learning, the learners are getting more focused for a longer period compared to chalk and board resources. The use of the internet enables them to take more interest in understanding the concept and learning has become research-oriented by exploring the topic in depth. Learners have become more responsible towards the accomplishment of their goals. The availability of e-learning materials helps them to learn at their own pace. Various reviewing and feedback mechanisms assist the teachers to tailor their teaching strategies and decision making.
There have been many blended learning models discovered such as the Blended face-to-face model which deals with supplementing online activities with the sitting time in classroom to achieve higher-order learning. Another one is the online driver model where more learning is concerned with online learning while some in-person activities like lab or lectures are integrated in small numbers. The Flipped classroom model is a hybrid of both above mentioned model and inverse of traditional education model, in which students come prepared in classroom, they learn the concept using online video or other e-material and come to classroom for projects or other assignments for better understanding. Next is the rotation model, in which the learning of course is rotated among different modalities like station rotation, lab rotation and individual rotation.
Effective Implementation of BL:
The effective implementation of BL in Higher Education Institutes demands the deployment of advanced pedagogies for skill enhancement. Teaching in the BL framework should focus on students’ engagement and get the students equipped with 21st century Education skills to make them future-ready to face the real world challenges of modern society.
Students of Higher Education Institutes cannot be assumed to be blank during the classroom. They have their own previous academic and real-life experiences. So considering them as empty boxes is not a good teaching approach. In fact the learners should also be allowed to share their knowledge, experiences, ideas and observation to enhance collaborative learning.
Some pre-session material should also be uploaded on the Learning Management System so that they can come prepared with background knowledge of concepts and use their classroom time in understanding its application using some fruitful discussions and activities. To empower student-centric learning various methodologies are incorporated including Brainstorming, Field activities, Projects, Creative Presentation etc. for an updated and upgraded Curriculum.
Assessment and Evaluation in BL:
UGC suggests Higher Education Institutes to explore assessment and evolution in light of BL only, Continuous Holistic Evaluation is the new trend in Assessment which deals with the multi-level assessment of cognitive skills during semester that encourages more weightage to internal evaluation with more innovative strategies. Open book examination, Group Examination, On-demand Examination are some innovative approaches of summative assessment while Online quizzes, Collaborative activities, e-portfolio are some of the examples of Formative Evaluation Strategies in Blended Learning Model.
UGC initiative to prepare students for digital-driven learning
The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) are putting their revolutionary efforts into practice towards technological reformation of Higher Education that demands outstanding pedagogical practices to cope with the pace of global.
In the light of the outburst of pandemic Covid-19, the Education system has to face the challenge of sudden closure of Educational Institutes for breaking the chain of virus spread. Traditional teaching could not be possible in such daunting situations and use of digital space proved a life-saver to support uninterrupted learning.
Unpredictable situations demand innovative ways and the education industry is doing its best to cope with challenges of uncertainties. COVID-19 has made us imagine that yesterday’s lifestyle will no longer be the same for today or tomorrow, even after the pandemic situation is over. Thus, using the hybrid education model and being the tech-savvy are the only options for the survival of learning in every situation
How iCloudEMS makes the implementation of BL a cake-walk for Higher Education Institutes
UGC explicitly recommends the requirement of digital infrastructure and digital practices to upgrade the academic standards of Higher Education Institutes in today’s dynamic world.
iCloudEMS is a pacemaker in offering its comprehensive utilities to Higher Education Institutes to host a digital ecosystem and empower student-centered learning. Following are the key features of iCloudEMS that solve the real-world challenges in the course of proper execution of BL in the Institutes.
- Managed services to support ERP of Higher Education Institutes that provides tech-driven infrastructure to make myriad of activities easy and flawless both for students and administration. Students are no longer required to wait in long queues and administration gets free from the hustle-bustle of tedious paperwork with our supporting features.
- Flexibility in course choice is one of the important focus areas among NEP 2020 regulations. Our smart solutions get the course choice and allotment effortless for both students and instructors.
- To encourage multidisciplinary culture we provide innovative credit assignment and calculation features that saves the valuable time of administration in credit management in accordance with the course chosen by students.
- We deliver a cloud-based personalized Learning management system to enhance students’ engagement and promote modern learning methodologies to add value to the teaching sessions.
- Online repository to upload the study material that can be accessed by students using their login credentials to enable them learn at their own pace that bridges the learning gaps.
- Rating and feedback mechanisms at the end of every topic, assist the instructors to get insights of the learning curve of students and the strategic planning of their pedagogical practices.
- Our interactive Learning Management System (LMS) supports different multimedia formats to enhance the visualization of concepts for better understanding.
- Outcome Based Education (OBE) has become the need of the hour for accomplishment of learning goals. Our Outcome based LMS aligns the teaching and assessment practices in consonance with OBE and Bloom’s taxonomy framework to help instructors in the definitive evaluation of cognitive abilities of learners.
- On-demand Examination is one of the important considerations of Education Transformation. The Online Exam Management system offers a disciplined cyberspace for the planning and governance of on demand examination keeping the integrity of the system at the highest priority.
- Our specialized Student lifecycle management system promotes student-centered learning by integrating the entire academic journey of a student on a single dashboard that gives a bird’s eye view on the student activities and progress for efficient tailoring of further plans for the all-round development of students.
Blended learning is the right fusion of technology in traditional classroom teaching –learning methods and resources. It can accelerate the learning and knowledge retention rate in students and enable them to gain 21st century education skills to produce independent and lifelong learners. iCloudEMS never leaves a stone unturned to offer unified digital solutions towards the realization of student-centric education to generate a skilled workforce with multidisciplinary knowledge in Higher Education Institutes.