For the last many years, our institutions, students, educators, and parents have lived with the reality of improvements with respect of curriculum, pedagogy, institution infrastructure, parents aspiring that there kids become more productive in terms of money producers, going and settling in abroad (not sure what they do). Meanwhile, there is or was no idea that the day of unknown challenge will arrive in the form of mass lockdown / shutdowns, unintentional demands in the society on essential needs, infecting everyone. This sudden emergence of challenge makes our leaders to know how to address the root causes from all angles which is lasting consequences for millions of people in the country like India.
During this situation which is sudden then our education institutions should have been ready way long to embrace the challenge and risks which are unknown. They should have developed meaningful action to support the system in which continuity of education would have been in place. This is something institutions like university at a highest-level body hasn’t adopted a multi-faceted approach that provides institutions, communities with the tools they need to intervene and engage students at all levels to be productive.
We can’t let risk take over our thoughts and halt the measures which everyone should learn during this kind of situation. eLearning or using online medium is becoming popular as organizations (education institutions, corporate L&D, training academies) are looking to equip learners access to knowledge and skills – help them stay current and to sustain & grow in today’s world where situation is either fluid or unknown.
Why eLearning or online medium is required?
Many a times in the situation like this many of us are worried about learning. This is the time to explore, check how one can start becoming productive and that is how we get to know eLearning or via online make lots of sense. On the other side institutions should look at developing online or eLearning infrastructure well ahead so that they streamline the situation which will be unknown and does not have and end-time. Obvious institution will face development that is costing a lot of time, effort, and money? Institutions going around with a permanent frown thinking of ways to minimize them and start learning to deploy eLearning or online medium of learning. Develop the idea to build and rollout eLearning or online courses quickly – either within weeks instead of months. It’s the best way to offer time-critical training to users and make them productive.
Institutions should start developing reasons to bring eLearning or online courses and leverages content-based programs, sound instructional designs and good authoring tools which can create programs / courses quickly and effectively. Institutions is bound to have an archive of great or at least good training materials – PDFs, classroom handouts, PowerPoint presentations, instructor manuals, and more which makes learners very interesting and productive. eLearning should bring modules as an assets in the form of Videos, audio podcasts, interactive eBooks (should launch own eBooks platform), infographics learning (which can be better than power point learning), quiz based learning.
Bringing quicker way of learning:
Bringing course / program module way it can fit in either on gadgets or web based. Institutions should look at how users interact with devices. This gives ample time of thinking to Institutions to develop modules which can be either interactive or memorable. Not sure Institutions have capabilities in the areas of HTML5-based eLearning which can offer multi-device and browser compatibility, allowing learners to access learning whenever needed, on their mobile devices or on other devices. If institutions has a library of Flash-based eLearning courses, then it is easy to convert them to HTML5 with authoring tools. Institutions should think being GLOBAL and translate their deliverables in a global standard instead of being in a conventional method. During these situations, if Institutions don’t learn how to engage in an opportunity then how they want to do is completely lost.
To make things easier and faster, Institutions should choose an eLearning evangelist mapping who can help in translations of course modules, language, delivery mechanism. Institutions should ensure that pool of translators proficient in using the latest authoring tools and has language experts so that going GLOBAL is much easier.
Plan – on Time, Cost, Design and Development:
To reiterate, eLearning development takes less time and hence costs less than conventional eLearning development and this is not thought by Institutions well ahead as how to cope with the situation which has attacked now.
However, what are the reasons behind the rapidity of eLearning or online medium? Here are some of them I think:
- Working with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to fill gaps in existing content; this allows the instructional design team to build storyboards.
- minimize the chances of errors and rework.
- Leveraging the features of authoring tools such as customizing templates.
- Standardizing and reusing elements such as audio clips of instructions.
Institutions should start adopting eLearning or Online medium at faster pace in the right directions with effective solution and quick turnaround time. There is no magic wand to build quickly, but Institutions planning very early makes life easier for learners during situations which are very difficult.
Challenges are high for institutions moving from conventional delivery to eLearning or online delivery mechanism. However it can be mitigated if there is proper planning, high thinking by management (which is lacking in many institutions in country like India), great content creations, involve complex topics, streaming lengthy contents into effective interactive sessions.
Subject matter experts (SME’s) play a key role in organizational learning and development, be it traditional classroom training or online training. Primary role is content development which should be very dynamic and robust, that’s why they have the final say and institutions should realize that as how they can retain the SME’s. Often, they’re so busy that they do not have time to finalize eLearning content or review developed courses, leading to delays in eLearning development and delivery.
The other challenge comes from where not much offer stay in the scope for high-level interactivities. There must be high-level interactive sessions at all levels of learning for users but at the same time it doesn’t mean eLearning or online courses are simple page-turners. Institutions in India doesn’t collaborate with Industries of all levels, yes, the collaborations happen just to exercise seminars, programs, guest lectures, conferences for the purpose of showing what they are doing which is leading to Admission strategy. The collaborations should be for curriculum development, engagement of experts so that they bring in practical approach, new pedagogies, method of internship where students learn lot.
Finally, in today’s situation better the institutions should learn how to blend the programs via eLearning or online versus conventional delivery. The situation demands how institution produces productive students output which will help in career building in the future. Institution should develop a mechanism of learning, make students understand the advantages of eLearning, importantly they should focus to engage parents and other stakeholders as how they can be productive in understanding the degree of online medium learning. None of the institutions have developed robust marketing strategies to market the online medium products, integrate technologies into learning so that interventions are better and result-oriented, creating best SME minds, great friendly eco-system.
I exit from here with few examples, I have been involved as “Mentor for Change” with NITI Aayog and I am proud to say that NITI Aayog has developed very good online tutorials, materials and have reached to institutions via Mentors like us where most of them have been very effective in deliverables, have created best Innovation labs hence young minds been very creative and productive. Best of the mentors are available in certain states, I wish to mention Mr. Kiran & Mr. Deepesh Goel one of the productive mentors with whom I have associated, these are the people who have embraced technology, curriculum development without any tags, no expectations and they are just examples of “JOY OF GIVING”. Secondly, I have come across best schools who have setup good innovation labs for betterment of the students. The Excel Public school based out of Mysuru, Karnataka has established huge lab with their own passion and have created best projects. The young minds have been well curated by teachers and mentors who are engaged deeply with great passions and willingness.
I also wish to give one more organization example where I am associated directly – SGBS Unnati Foundation (www.unnatiblr.org) and Sec 8 company. This company has created one of the best conventional program deliveries having imbibed technology equally. The foundation has 50 days program which is face-to-face and creates good productive students and logically 100% placements. These models can be examples to Higher institutions to integrate in online eLearning the methods available from this foundation. However, it is decision makers who can be change agents.
Finally, and hopefully the Institutions will learn how to be productive in this situation and create best of eLearning infrastructure and make India better and futuristic.
Mentor for Change (MoC)
AIM, Niti Aayog