Nearly 54% of the students are comfortable learning online, according to a survey conducted to understand the change in learning patterns in the last year. More than 56% students preferred the online medium and felt empowered and confident as opposed to a traditional class. While there are many who doubt the effectiveness of online learning, research actually supports it, given the many advantages such as greater flexibility to communicate with teachers, access to the content & assignments, self- paced learning, options for courses - all translating into quality education and more mobility for the student..
Faculty are still trying to understand the new pedagogy for engaged online learning; but we do know we can't replicate the way we taught earlier because not all students have reliable access to the synchronous classes. It is important to explore and experiment with new ways of teaching and engaging students. Here are some suggestions on the new pedagogy for active learning –
- Blended learning – also known as 'hybrid learning', integrates online teaching into the classroom teaching. In this method classroom time is reduced as compared to online teaching. Flipped classroom is a similar approach and a great way to encourage self- learning. The teacher records the lecture and provides access to videos, pre-reads, case studies, quizzes etc. for the students to prepare before coming to the class. Classroom time is then used for problem solving, games, simulations, practical exercises and interaction.
- Collaborative Online Learning – Learning through discussions, exchange of perspectives, ideas and interaction allows a greater engagement in the learning process. The teacher is no longer the custodian of knowledge but a facilitator, guide and a critical assessor guiding towards learning objectives. This type of learning in a collaborative environment requires clarity of the teacher's role, authority and learning outcomes.
- Multimedia – multimedia content in form of videos, audios, animations helps in knowledge retention and simplifying complex concepts and ideas. Teachers have been using multimedia for some time however, there is now a wider selection of sources and OERs available for teachers and students. Open Education Resources are the teaching, learning and research resources available in public domain or released for free use and repurposing. NPTEL and e-GyanKosh are two notable initiatives by GOI which can be dovetailed into the learning process.
- Letting go of the control - This may sound irreverent to some, but access to a variety of free content allows students to choose alternative interpretations and perspectives beyond the confines of the curriculum. Therefore, a flexible approach to delivery & assessments in which the teacher moves away from transmitting information in large chunks (lectures or single book) to students and instead guides them to know, analyze, apply the learning to the subject becomes more relevant in the online context. This makes the process more learner-centric, giving the students greater control on how learning will take place.
- Bite-sized learning – Smart devices have fostered the 'Anytime Learning' concept fueled by the availability of OERs. Students are increasingly demanding change in learning materials, giving preference to 'Just in time' content addressing immediate learning needs. This translates into smaller multimedia rich modules sprinkled with quizzes, stories, podcasts, investigatory assignments designed to meet the learning objectives.
- Online Assessments – Online assessments on LMS offer performance analytics and are a great way to provide feedback to the student. Online evaluations need not be restricted to the traditional question-answer format, but can capture all contributions in the learning process. Adaptive, Peer and AI based assessments can be used to guide students with relevant resources and offer feedback aligned to their pace of learning, interest and capacity.
To summarize, the new pedagogy includes taking learning out of the classroom and making it more accessible and flexible, sharing control with the students and using technology for more holistic assessment of the learning.
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