Beyond the learning curve

  • Jaideep Gupta | New Delhi

    February 28, 2017 | 01:45 AM

(PHOTO: SNS)

With the turn of the century, technology has revolutionised the way we do things. What is interesting is that many don’t realise the potential they have access to, even though they use them regularly. It has paved its way into the education system rather seamlessly and is transforming enormously. Learning today, it’s not just about bookish knowledge, but more of how much one knows about the world around them. 
One of the most common ways in which students learn is by watching videos on social media. These are mostly designed to create awareness on issues that don’t have much of an impact on their lives. But do they consider using the same technology and take up online courses, to build their profiles and set up a strong foundation for their careers? Hardly. The truth of the matter is that although there are plenty of such offers, the assumption that online courses has “less quality” often gets the better of them. 
This isn’t actually true. Over the years, online courses have proved to be as good as, or even better than listening to a lecture in a university. First, you get to learn from experts that provide a platform for established professors of universities to reach larger crowds. This means that when students take up online courses, they get to listen to and learn from elite educationists.
This offers another benefit in the form of receiving certificates from top universities. 
Some examples of such courses are Time Management from Harvard University and Public Speaking from Columbia University. These courses, apart from developing skills, are also a value add to one’s profile. However with school, tuition, homework, exams and recreation there is hardly any time to take up additional courses. Although this is a valid point, students don’t have to attend classes at particular times when they take up online courses, thus, their daily routine doesn’t get affected. 
They offer flexibility that allows their users to spend time on their chosen course according to their availability. The benefits of online courses extend beyond the learning curve as they, apart from saving time, are more economical when compared to offline courses. The best thing about them is that they aren’t location bound and all that is needed is a good internet connection.
Universities/colleges have developed these programmes so that students can enhance their skills, understand their interests and take well informed decisions that would later result in a successful career. They do this, because during the time of admission, students who have the calibre to perform beyond the bare minimum need to be identified since they are the most sought-out candidates by all universities.
Therefore, good grades coupled with a strong profile are tantamount to a successful admission into a top college. Building a profile involves practical learning. Therefore, any course that enhances one’s understanding of a particular subject and helps him win achievements in the same contributes to building their profile. Students can take up co-curricular activities like summer programmes, debates, Olympiads, and various online courses. 
The journey for each student on building a strong profile, starts with identifying the course of their choice. This isn’t always easy as they have an information influx that clouds their judgment. As such, established career counsellors and psychometric tests are channels that students can use to determine their interests and strengths.
Once their interests are decided upon, they can progress towards categorising programmes that will help them gain achievements in the field of their choice. These programmes can be either online or offline and the achievements received add to their profile. 
One should consider taking up programmes not only for their obvious impact on student profile, but also for their subtle yet lasting impact on skills developed during the time. The best time to start building one’s profile is preferably from class IX. Doing so has many benefits starting with having enough time to plan and explore options with regards to course and country choice. 
Students need to pan out their programme choices systematically over a period of time. This will help them focus on their academics without affecting their profile building. The essence of building a profile lies in making oneself better in terms of thinking ability, problem solving and communication. 
It takes a holistic approach to overall growth. If students enhance themselves, it has a direct effect on the community. 

THE WRITER IS FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, UNIVARIETY