Why Technology-Driven Hybrid Learning Systems Will Be The Future Of Education 

The classrooms of the future will be hybrid, collaborative spaces with a new pedagogy that brings together the advantages of physical interactions and the merits of innovative online learning tools.

Covid-19 has truly fast-forwarded the future. With nearly 1.5 billion students forced to shun traditional classrooms globally, the crisis presented an opportunity to blend technology in day-to-day learning. This shift catapulted e-learning as the primary medium of learning, in sharp contrast to its supplemental role before the pandemic. 

The integration of technology in the education system has given rise to a collaborative, student-centred and futuristic education system that I strongly believe is here to stay.  The Government of India has also been an advocate of ‘online learning,’ as is evident from the New Education Policy (NEP) announced last year. As teachers, students and institutions continue to re-calibrate for the new normal, there are a few trends that will continue to shape the education systems of the future.  

A Resilient, Hybrid Education System 

The classrooms of the future will be hybrid, collaborative spaces with a new pedagogy that brings together the advantages of physical interactions and the merits of innovative online learning tools. Ingenious EdTech learning solutions allow for customized learning, easy access to expertise and immense networking opportunities. Touchscreen technology has enabled very young children to engage in technology-aided instruction early on in their life. In India, the EdTech industry is slated to grow to USD 30 billion in size within this decade. 

I foresee students becoming co-creators of their own learning and classrooms evolving into spaces where they can apply the knowledge they learn online to real-life situations. Digital learning opens avenues for students to build entrepreneurial and job-specific skills they need for the future.  Nine out of ten jobs in the future will require digital skills as per the UN. 

New-age Technology-backed Pedagogies 

The advancements in digital also mean that new-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Learning Analytics, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will be an integral part of this evolved education system. Digital learning solutions equipped with AI are already making ground-breaking changes to the way education is imparted to students with varied interests and capabilities. It also allows teachers to provide additional assistance to students who might need it. 

An Emerging Legion of Cybersmart Students 

Today, children are spending more time online than ever before, which also exposes them to threats such as cybercrimes, sextortion and cyberbullying.  As per the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2021, ‘Cybersecurity Failure’ ranks as the fourth most critical threat to the world. It is extremely important to safeguard our children, as they are quite vulnerable to the threats lurking online. They need to be educated on cybersecurity, digital citizenship and etiquette to ensure that they are well-informed and equipped to avert online risks. 

Along with the Government, the private sector can assume a critical role by undertaking initiatives of capacity building and awareness and deploying cost-effective solutions through their CSR efforts. We need strategies to outsmart the predators with differentiated, innovative thinking, and hone the digital intelligence of our children. Cybersmart conversations need to be an essential part of the school curriculum and should include educators, parents and experts. A conducive policy ecosystem with strong legislation and quick redressal systems need to be in place. The National Education Technology Forum (NETF) envisaged under the NEP 2020 can look at hosting EdTech tools on open-source platforms with in-built cybersecurity resilience.

The rapid transition to online education has also highlighted the disparities in access to e-learning. In 2020, only one-third of India’s schoolchildren were pursuing online education and a smaller cohort of this, 32.5 per cent, were attending live online classes, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). While we continue to evolve our education systems to a digital-driven state, it is also important to bridge this digital chasm with systemic changes such as implementing policies that ensure adequate infrastructure and last-mile connectivity and integrating technology into teacher training modules. 

The future of education is all about collaborative classrooms, both digital and physical, backed by technology-driven pedagogies that will ensure a new cohort of cybersmart learners ready to outperform in the future. 

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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