COVID-19 has been able to accomplish something that several previous efforts could not do  —  bring innovation in education. We are currently in the midst of a worldwide randomised experiment; while digital technologies, with their promise, have been in place for many decades, change has been slow to come. COVID 19 suddenly converted this completely physical delivery system to online. This transformation received further fillip through the New Education Policy 2020 which necessitates the inclusion of training in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and programmingin existing school curriculum to help children develop crucial 21st-century skills like logical reasoning, analytical thinking, scientific outlook, computational logic and evidence-based thinking. With the ongoing pace of the changes, it is clear that by the time the crisis sees its dawn, our education system globally would be affected in deep enough ways that it will be impossible to revert to the earlier ways of education.

The healthcare crisis precipitated a shift in the medium of learning – from in-class to almost entirely online. This forced transition and acceptance on the part of students, parents and the teachers has demonstrated a behavioural and mindset change in how we approach education.As per a recent research, not more than 10% of Indian teachers had ever used technology in their teaching before Covid.Although, students have been demonstrating their affinity towards tech platforms like YouTube and Quora for quite some time now, the pandemic moved large masses of teachers and schools to using technology – this reliance on technology shall remain a trend in years to come. This technology enabled education shall also give flipped learning a chance!This new pedagogical approach moves education to a blended learner-centric model in which the learner in introduced to new concepts outside the classroom through video based lessons (or other means) and the classroom is used to engage deeper with the topics. Most Indian schools have already started the move and this is a trend that is here to stay.

The behavioural shift of the young minds towards the ever growing Gig economy is making a case for ed-tech platforms that can provide on-demand, just-in-time learning and skill upgrade to this class of workers; several edtech platforms have reported an exponential jump of their subscriber base in recent times. The emergence of the ‘Gig’ economy thrives on the temporary, job-based and short-term nature of the employment contract between the employer and the employee. Hence, the future shall see an increasing partnership between the edtech players and the gig economy aspirants to fill up the skills gap.

Learning has already moved from the 20-20-20 model to life-long learning The changes in the world of workneed job aspirants to possess an innovative mindset and basic soft skills like critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork, problem solving, digital literacy, coding and logical reasoning. And this is driving the evolving nature of assessing workforce and organisations. Tech platforms shall be able to help educators develop adaptive, application based assessments that can truly benchmark job aspirants in terms of their competencies; a case in point is the movement of most campus interviews to the online mode – remote proctored screening tests ensure integrity, virtual interviews provide flexibility and virtual group discussions demonstrate the ability of the applicant to collaborate in the online world!

Education, in the future, will be a new life form that is always on, online, onsite, on-job, modular, flexible, multimodal, gamified, crowd-sourced, affordable and accessible. Technology enabled education was always the solution that could break the difficult trinity between cost, quality and scale – we shall witness a positive momentum in faster tech adoption in education that shall help create more integrated, virtualized, gamified learning experience for learners and educators alike. Institutions will need to lean on technology for support while they invest in providing the best-in-class learning experience to their students – we shall finally have an education system that will allow equal and excellent to not only co-exist but thrive.

 

(Shantanu Rooj. The author is the Founder and CEO of TeamLease Edtech)

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