Is Digital the Way Forward for Distance Education in India?


Collaboration and Integration Allow Spread of Quality Education beyond Boundaries

Distance learning is crippled with limited focus on measuring student outcomes and deficiencies, developing crucial 21st century skills, or creating an effective two-way communication. The learning content too is not up to date and it lacks an integrated digital platform which offers constant monitoring and support. As a result, there is little learner engagement which results in high drop-out rates.

The absence of interaction between various stakeholders also gives rise to the issue of untimely exchange of information, which prevents institutions from making informed decisions. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the UGC recognized the need to regularize open and distance learning and stated that only universities with NAAC scores 3.26 and above could offer distance learning programmes.

However, the sad state of affairs has left the future of the students, who cannot attend campus-based full-time classes, in a limbo. There is, therefore, a need to re-invent and re-imagine the distance learning mode in the form of a collaborative and integrated framework which caters to the specific needs of learners beyond the classroom space.

Bridging Distance with Digital

A cloud-based, interactive learning environment which caters to the varied requirements of a diverse audience, from K-12 to working professionals, can help in generating better learning outcomes.

Learn what interests you

Learners can enroll by submitting application and fees online. They can then create their customized course structure. This would eliminate the one-size-fits-all concept and motivate learners to learn what interests them. A regulated framework of learning with scope for performance monitoring as seen in a classroom set up can be designed by feeding the data of each individual into the system. This would help provide a 360 view of their learning profile and allow institutions to keep track of key parameters using a centralized, single integrated system.

Know where you stand

Learning can be made self-paced with scheduled activities and assignments at the convenience of the learner. A Smart Assessment Engine can be devised to conduct the test to benchmark outcomes, after every learning module. Students can be assessed on 21st century skills and problem-based learning, which are critical in today’s job space. Results and analytics can be offered and used to further categorize learners into groups based on parity of learning and provided with remedial interventions. Learners can additionally be given personalized feedback and suggestive readings to improve understanding of concepts.

Collaboration is the key to success

A community based structure and best-in-class LMS can aid in delivering courses for improved learning by reaching out to a vast audience through a single platform. The content can be designed by subject matter experts and mapped to current industry trends as against age-old textbook material. Additionally, it can provide room for seamless communication between learners and experts allowing them to ask questions, share best practices, brainstorm, etc.

Digitization can help improve student learning outcome by delivering distance education like regular classroom learning. This would allow every stakeholder to engage and collaborate with ease and help students to build skills and competencies to contest effectively for the jobs of today and the future.

We look forward to your comments and encourage you to contact us at www.tcsion.com if you would like to discuss more.

– Ajay Kaul, Consultant, TCS iON

References:

  1. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2018/aug/02/ugc-puts-distance-education-out-of-reach-1852026.html
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