Education in the 21st century has come a long way from a traditional classroom approach to a digitally redefined learning experience.
Institutions are determined to create academically sound graduates who are adept at thriving in today’s evolving age. We are living in an era where technology and education together are transforming the face of global learning. Earlier, Pedagogy was defined as the art of teaching children whereas Andragogy provided learning to the adults. And with time, these definitions evolved to reflect teacher practices.
Unlike these two, heutagogy is indeed learner orchestrated. As more information is readily available in today’s world, which provides students with opportunities to assume more responsibility for their learning, the role of a pedagogic instructor shifts to a facilitating lead learner.
A learner who gives advice and provides resources coupled with encouragement. In a heutagogical approach to teaching and learning, learners are highly autonomous and self-determined. The emphasis today is placed more on the development of the learner’s capacity and capability with the goal of making them well prepared for the complexities of today’s changing workplace.
The approach has been proposed as a theory for applying to emerging technologies in distance education. It is for guiding distance education practice and the ways in which distance educators develop and deliver instruction using newer technologies such as social media.
With its learner-centered design, the internet offers an environment that supports a heutagogical approach, most importantly by supporting the development of learner-generated content and learner self-directedness in information discovery. This helps redefine the whole learning path.
Smartphones and the internet boom in a developing country like India where learners are introduced to a new platform called online learning. This trend is catching up fast and tomorrow it won’t be surprising if it eliminates the conventional brick and mortar schooling system. In such a scenario, one of the emerging tools that e-learning takes pride in is gamification.
The game-based learning, mobile apps for education and AI all together have made the learning process more fun. Institutions are going beyond the classroom walls and paving a new way of learning – a personalised and customised learning. Apart from this, institutions are also adopting hybrid models that integrate classroom-based teaching methods such as workshops and seminars, into the online environment.
The online courses are emphasising on the ability of students to discuss content and analyse the problems among faculties, where social media plays a key role in sharing of ideas and exchange of information. Today, learners are equipped to access information backed by apt guidance from tutors and learners whenever they want to, which is a great opportunity for them to enjoy flexibility in their busy schedules. However, the process of e-learning must be impactful and engaging as there is no instructor. This is made possible with the usage of attractive visuals, audio and other multimedia elements including simulations and animations, infused into the e-learning courses. This further helps the learner to retain and apply more, as these innovative tools have the power to create an indelible impression in the learner’s mind.
Learning indeed has transformed into a more intelligent system. Smart content engines integrated with collaborative software have a catered a lot to the innovation, making technology-based learning more focused and interesting. The GPS-sensitive learning and augmented reality (AR)-based applications are also one of the great enablers to digitalisation in India who have contributed to the enhancement of professional and on-the-job learning set-ups. As the digital fingerprints, have become bigger and more complex with short attention spans, learning needs to transform into small chunks where Instructors can shift their focus to many courses based on microlearning modules. With technology advancements, every now and then coupled with the rise of mobile learning, heutagogy, isn’t just possible, but natural.
It will be awkward if we don’t utilise it to the fullest. Every individual consumes information in a different manner and learns differently, and online learning will bring a higher availability of choice to learn according to their own patterns in a unique way. In India, when a lot of learning happens through communication in local languages, a blended approach is more likely to be applicable than a purely online approach. A perfect mix of online and offline looks better than anything else does.
The education industry is heading towards unprecedented growth. The demand for a flexible and customised education system will continue to surge. And amidst these constant changes, innovations will be unstoppable and institutions will always welcome them to bring more creativity to the whole Edu-tech system to produce future leaders. Companies have already realised this and are spreading their reach through a diversified approach to appeal to a wider audience both in India and abroad.
However, the catch is to follow a bottom-up approach to understand the requirements of the Indian student community at the very grassroots level. Technology has always been a powerful learning tool and will stay the same in the future as well if used in the right way.
(CEO Pearl Academy)