Today, society has made unprecedented progress across all walks of life. Digital technologies have already changed our lifestyle and the things that we do, and how we do them. From shopping and getting in touch with a distant friend and getting loans sanctioned in a few hours with the touch of a button, to streaming the latest episode of a TV series online.
At a time when such advanced technologies exist, it stretches credulity that teachers are using chalk on blackboards while a majority of their audience is still trying to mentally picture how the markings on the board represent electrons at various energy levels. Sadly, education, especially in terms of learning methodologies, has seen very little innovation until now. Let us analyse how the current educational scenario is and how M-learning is transforming it.
Little innovation has been observed in education over the last century, especially in terms of pedagogical training, which is failing to meet one’s requirements in today’s competitive landscape. Over and above this lack of evolution, the situation is further aggravated by the proportion of teachers allocated to students in developing countries such as India.
A school, which is ideally required to have a pupil-teacher ratio of 1:30 for primary institutes and 1:35 for upper primary institutes, can easily have this figure skewed to 1:65 and even 1:70. This decreases a teacher’s individual focus on a student and significantly deters their academic progress. Still, every student has his or her own unique set of academic requirements.
Some might be good with retention, but their analytical skills might demand special attention; some might have better conceptual understanding but require constant revision, and so on. Some students could also require a specific pedagogical approach, such as visual demonstration, to get a grasp of complex concepts.
But meeting every student’s specific requirements within a class of, say, even 30 students with one instructional method is nearly impossible. On top of this, every student has to follow the average classroom velocity, which differs considerably across a spectrum of learning capacities. This covers ground between the highest scoring student and the lowest scoring student, thereby having a negative impact on the ones closer to the two extremes.
A majority of regions are also affected by the inconsistent quality of teachers deployed. Students in urban areas often have to travel a great distance in order to acquire supplementary education such as coaching. The worst hit in terms of education, however, are students living in the remote regions. They neither have access to decent schools, nor can they access state-of-the-art learning methodologies which some of their urban counterparts enjoy. To get the desired study material is quite also challenging within these regions.
Thankfully, digital technologies, as disruptive as they are in other day-to-day applications, have also heralded the long-awaited innovation that the education sector had been looking for. Ultramodern technologies, including big data, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality are being used to effectively enhance the learning experience of students across the globe.
This development is further stimulated by smartphones, as they provide instant connectivity round the clock irrespective of a student’s geographical location. M-learning or the use of Internet-enabled smartphones to act as a medium of instruction is helping counteract various logistical difficulties in the dissemination of education.
M-learning is highly effective as it has the capacity to provide a personalised approach that gives a fillip to a student’s academic progression. In this approach, behavioural patterns are used to gauge and boost a student’s performance. For instance, if a particular student takes more time on a specific portion of a subject, whereas solves other questions of the same subject with a greater ease, then the adaptive training course can be remodelled. This will help to develop a better understanding along with revision of the mastered concepts leading to a targeted approach and increasing time efficiency.
Students, moreover, are saved from their daily commute while also eliminating their parent’s security concern. Better retention can also be generated amongst them through visual effects and animation as well as through participatory learning techniques such as gamification. This also increases the curiosity amongst students “to know”, rather than forcing education on them.
In such systems, every drill, exercise, game, or activity paves the way for real-time analysis of the course’s progression and a student’s understanding, which is not the case in traditional education.The historical data available on the platform can be leveraged to form a relationship between training approach vis-à-vis the end result. This creates a dynamic pedagogical approach to education, which constantly evolves to become more efficient.
As M-learning experiences its meteoric rise in the current educational system, it can safely be said that the learning graph of the modern generations is going to very different from what it used to be.
The writer is founder and managing director, Instappy