Why blended learning is future of Indian education

Why blended learning is future of Indian education

The debate around the quality of higher education in India has been gaining momentum since the Union Budget 2017, which laid emphasis on skill development, employability and digitisation of the education process. The government announced a slew of measures, including ‘Swayam’, an online learning portal; revamp of the National Education Policy (NEP); the Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA) as a single higher education regulator; and the University Grants Commission (UGC) mandate to educational institutions to develop massive open online courses (MOOCs).

While India is making headway in digitising the learning process, world over, universities are disrupting and innovating teaching and learning. The country has a long tradition of face-to-face learning; the teacher or guru cannot be replaced overnight with an unseen, technological entity. However, it is pertinent to note that the gap between what students are taught in classrooms and what the industry is demanding of its prospective employees is growing every day. The rate of change in technology has, and will continue to, outpace the change in university curriculum, the fastest of which takes place once a year. It is not uncommon to see students spending more than 20 years in the education system and saddled with unattractive job prospects.

The solution lies in ‘blended learning’, a concept that is fast gaining pace in the Indian context. In simple terms, it is a hybrid form of teaching and learning which involves both classroom and online learning. The approach mixes concept building and enquiry-based learning which retains human interaction in education and allows students to combine traditional classroom methods with online-digital mediums. Blended learning strives to create a balance between prescriptive learning and learning at one’s own pace. It is important to note here that blended learning is not equivalent to technology-rich teaching; the core of blended learning is giving the student greater autonomy over his or her education growth path, using technology only as an enabler.

Simply put, it is a win-win situation for students and teachers. The emphasis is on development of the learner’s capacity and capability with the goal of preparing him or her for the complexities of today’s changing workplace. Since every individual assimilates information differently, online learning aims to bring greater and better choice of learning with specific interests. Teachers will not be burdened with the mundane task of imparting education through information overload; instead, they will be focusing on higher value-added instruction that synchronises technology with face-to-face learning. The automated and personalised system will allow teachers to turn into mentors, free from the pressures of formal education.

For students, a major advantage is the ability to dip into a knowledge pool that doesn’t end with classroom instruction. Blended learning incorporates information via online courses, developed by experts from different fields, and helping students access globally developed and industry relevant course material. Blended learning creates the possibility of practical, experiential learning, where students can learn at their own pace – both in terms of speed and complexity of information. It is only fair that the education process be flipped to become increasingly learner-driven than prescriptive in nature.

Data analytics from online learning platforms can help educators develop a targeted approach towards teaching a particular individual, harnessing data over time to help students learn better. This will provide teachers more accurate and specific insights into a particular student’s pain points, where he/she is doing well, areas they find most challenging etc. This can help teachers, and by extension colleges and universities, to understand student behaviour better and provide vastly effective learning interventions.

The natural affinity Millennials have to technology, their sense of entitlement to drive their own education, and the fast-paced and fast-changing work environments they are likely to be a part of, all point in one direction — online or computer-based education could well replace brick-and-mortar education in coming years.

Technology also enables students to access a global network of education and knowledge exchange. For instance Anant Agarwal, the CEO of Harvard and MIT’s online-learning platform edX, graduated with a degree from IIT Madras before pursuing a highly successful global career. Blended learning offers a window to a global world for students who might otherwise struggle to access traditional professional education programmes and supplements the wider work of universities, colleges and learning providers.

In short, blended learning aims to solve problems that plague policymakers, administrators and students. While many educators have adopted this unique form of learning, one hopes that in a decade’s time, blended learning becomes the norm rather than the exception. To its credit, the Government of India is formalising the online education space, ensuring regulatory recognition for online courses and encouraging universities to develop their own online curricula.

The blended classroom of the future can leverage the power of online courses and free up classroom time for interactive collaboration and discussion, testing and problem-solving, redefining how education is administered, while at the same retaining the ethos of India’s traditional classroom system.

[“Source-moneycontrol”]

Indian Naval War College launches second international course

The participants of the eight week programme include officers from Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Naval War College, Goa, is one of the three War Colleges of the Indian Armed Forces.

New Delhi The Indian Navy’s War College at Goa on Monday launched the second international programme for naval officers from friendly foreign countries, an official statement said.

The participants of the eight week programme include officers from Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Naval War College, Goa, is one of the three War Colleges of the Indian Armed Forces.

The programme, inaugurated by Goa University vice chancellor Varun Sahni, will see the participants deal with international relations theory, geopolitics, concepts of maritime security and strategy, International Maritime Law and management of ocean resources, amongst others.

Stressing the importance of maritime security in nation-building, Sahni said that in a dynamically changing geo-political scenario, there is a need for navies in the Indian Ocean Region to forge stronger ties and collaborate in developing an efficient security architecture in the maritime domain.

The statement said that during the course, participants will be exposed to subject matter experts and eminent speakers and familiarisation visits to the Indian Navy’s operational and training commands.

The participants are also put through simulation exercises on regional security scenarios including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

 

 

[source=hindustantimes]

Amazon Launches Kindle Digital Books in 5 Indian Languages

Amazon Launches Kindle Digital Books in 5 Indian Languages
HIGHLIGHTS
Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, and Malayalam languages supported
The company hopes to tap the niche but growing market in India
The books can be accessed on Kindle eReaders or the Kindle app
Amazon’s ebook reader, Kindle will now support content in five Indian languages, including Hindi,

Gujarati and Malayalam, a move that will help the US-based firm tap into the niche but growing ‘digital regional content’ market in India.

“We are adding thousands of digital books in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam, including the largest digital selection of best sellers, hundreds of exclusive titles and free classics to the Kindle Book Store,” Amazon Kindle Director (Content) Sanjeev Jha told PTI.

Readers can access these books on Kindle eReaders as well as the free Kindle apps for Android and iOS, he added.

“Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited will also have access to the Indian language content. The new language selection is in addition to over three million books that are already available on the Kindle Book Store,” he said.

Kindle already supports languages like Chinese, German, French, and Japanese among others, apart from English.

While Amazon does not share country specific growth numbers, Jha said India is among its fastest growing markets globally for Kindle.

Amazon will make available bestseller titles like Ishq Mein Shahar Hona by Ravish Kumar (Hindi), Rajaraja Chozhan by Sa Na Kannan (Tamil), Mrutyunjay by Shivaji Sawant (Marathi), Ek Bija Ne Gamta Rahiye by Kaajal Oza Vaidya (Gujarati) and Aarachar by K R Meera (Malayalam).

The exclusive titles include Banaras Talkies by Satya Vyas, Ki.Mu.Ki.Pi by Madhanand, Draupadi by Kaajal Oza Vaidya and titles like Mayapuri by Shivani will now be available in digital format for the first time.

“We are bringing features like font size adjustment, ability to add notes and highlights, and automatic save and sync of your furthest page read across all your devices,” he said.

According to industry reports, the print book market in India is estimated to be worth about $4 billion (roughly Rs. 27,340 crores). India ranks third in English language publishing, after the US and the UK.

India, which is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets globally, also has a significant number of people reading ebooks on their phones.

While there is ample amount of content in English available online, that in Indian language has been few. Companies like Google are taking a number of initiatives to increase penetration of regional content in the digital world.

Tags: Amazon India, Kindle, Amazon Kindle, Apps, Internet, Digital Books, eBooks

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Paytm ‘Is as Indian as Maruti’, CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma Says on Chinese Funding

Paytm 'Is as Indian as Maruti', CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma Says on Chinese Funding

Paytm ‘Is as Indian as Maruti’, CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma Says on Chinese Funding
HIGHLIGHTS
Alibaba pumped in $680 million into Paytm’s parent One97 last year
Chinese investors are looking to raise their stake to 70 percent in Paytm
Paytm Bank will not engage in a rate war with rivals like Airtel
Facing criticism over significant Chinese ownership, Paytm Founder and Chief Executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma has asserted that the payments and e-commerce platform is “as Indian as Maruti” and prides itself on being a representative of the “India story”.

“We are as Indian as Maruti is…we are ‘India story’ in every sense whatsoever,” Sharma told PTI.

The once-government controlled Maruti is now majority owned by Japanese carmaker Suzuki Motor Corp with a 56.21 percent stake as its sole promoter.

Paytm had hailed the ongoing demonetisation drive with advertisements displaying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture, leading many critics to point out that its single largest shareholder is Chinese giant Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce player.

Sharma said Paytm goes out into the world as an Indian company that is of “pride” to India. “What matters to us is our customers, what matters to us is the law of land, regulator,” he said.

Alibaba Group and its affiliate Ant Financial pumped in $680 million into Paytm’s parent One97 Communications last year, taking its total shareholding to over 40 percent in the country’s largest mobile wallet operator with close to 160 million customers.
The criticism over ownership, circulated widely through instant messaging apps, sought to pick up on sentiment of banning Chinese products.

Sharma, however, appeared unfazed by the criticism, saying, “Everybody else has a way to say whatever they want to say. We don’t come to that level and reply.”
A recent report also said Chinese investors are looking to raise their stake to 70 percent in the company, which is at the cusp of launching a payments bank.

(Also see: How to Transfer Money From Paytm Wallet to Bank Account)

Reserve Bank guidelines say foreign shareholding in payments banks would be as per the prevailing FDI policies for private sector banks, which currently stands at 74 percent.

Sharma had on Saturday said that Paytm Bank, its payments bank offering scheduled for commercial launch next month, will not engage in a rate war with rivals like Airtel, which is offering 7.25 percent interest on deposits.

“None of our products are driven by anything that anybody else does. I do not know the interest rates of my rivals. But I don’t think our product is built around the interest rate,” Sharma said.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.

Tags: Paytm, Paytm CEO, Vijay Shekhar, Mobile Wallet, E Banking, Paytm Bank, Demonetisation, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]