Blended Learning: Digitisation Triggers Education Evolution

The Union Budget has hit the nail on its head when it comes to education

All those following the government’s vision for the young generation, know that the budget has taken giant steps to mitigate the disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic and related problems. Focus has firmly shifted to digital learning, digital universities and digital infrastructure. Adoption of technology and digitisation has been emphasised and a sizeable allocation has been made to bring this dream to fruition. 

The finance minister allocated Rs 63,449 crore to the department of school education & literacy. The higher education department has been allocated Rs 40,828 crore for the next financial year, which is an increase of 6.6 per cent over the current financial year. Such a boost shows potential growth in the education sector and how the Government is paving way for further development.

This is good news for a sector that is still reeling under the aftermath of the Covid-19 mayhem, even as others are slowly getting back on their feet. The budget is bridging the gap between the available e-learning initiatives and the inaccessibility of digital devices to certain sections of society. As a country of young, entrepreneurial minds, this is just the kind of boost we should be providing our new generation if we have to stand tall among the digital economies of the future. 

The pandemic reshaped the education scenario when Schools and Universities were forced to adopt virtual learning platforms to conduct regular classes. Thanks to the availability of technology, the education sector could cope with the drastic changes required to sustain continuity in education and secure the future of our young. Digital learning brought much ease and comfort to parents who saw value in options like recorded lessons, connected & personalised learning, and increased engagement. 

Now the situation is easing, and things are going back to normalcy, but the world has realised that e-learning has created opportunities that will equip learners to function efficiently in the digital era. 

Technology can be used effectively to bring in new techniques and methodologies in education. 

The wise step to take for a better future is to ensure that we are protected against future pandemic-like situations which may threaten to topple the applecart. And the best answer to that is Blended Learning – a combination of physical and virtual classrooms – which is fast emerging as the preferred 

medium of education for students, parents and teachers. 

According to the Digital Learning Pulse survey, published by Bay View Analytics, most students want to keep the option of studying online to some extent, which confirms a need for hybrid solutions. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education’s recent paper on Online Learning found that “Instructions combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction”. 

Similar findings are true in India as well. As per a survey released by HP India early this year, 68 per cent of students preferred hybrid learning to continue, which 85 per cent of teachers and 89 per cent of parents surveyed favoured. Similarly, while 91 per cent of the students said that a mix of online and classroom learning help in better understanding, 90 per cent of teachers opined that Hybrid learning can reduce learning disruptions. 

Blended Learning with interactive classrooms, innovative tech adaptation and newer approaches to teaching methodologies are resonating with the young. This is why the steps taken by the Modi government in this area are timely and accurate.

The government’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and skill-building initiatives have already given hope to a country that India is on its way to grooming its youth for a better tomorrow. Union Budget 2022 has taken more steps to emphasise integrated learning and made provisions for the adoption of a progressive and inclusive approach for primary, secondary and higher education. 

Announcements like the eVidhya scheme and ‘One Class One TV Channel’ expands the learning horizon of the students and brings inclusivity as the regional languages are promoted equally. Enhancing the quality of e-content, focusing on teacher training, digitising mediums of instruction and tech integration will increase learning motivation. Focus on reskilling and upskilling at a higher education level and launch of the Digital DESH e-portal will enhance vocational learning and job readiness, making students independent and result oriented.

With the new initiatives, we can be assured that:

  • Better access will be given to students from remote regions to education, and this will create a better impact & contribute to the country’s literacy growth. 
  • Lack of infrastructure and tech expertise will not be a hindrance. Teachers, when trained and upskilled, will be able to impart knowledge to many.
  • An efficient and effective hybrid learning model will enhance teacher-student communication through engaging & customised coaching modules.
  • Initiatives implemented post-budget, in the long run, will help students from all backgrounds adapt to the future of work conveniently.

Revamping the curriculum, pedagogy, and making education more flexible and inclusive will improve the quality of education in India. Schools and Universities at an individual level are working towards making blended learning much more accessible through the introduction of a newer curriculum and customising educational pedagogies. 

So when world-renowned educationist and curriculum mapper Heidi Hayes Jacobs says “Technology can bring real world into the classroom”, she is talking about how we can prepare children for exciting learning opportunities. The Union budget has put its finger on the pulse of a nation craving for such drastic changes which will secure the future of our children. It has to lead us to the right path, and now we should race down the road to emerge winners.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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