A fine balance between digital and traditional

A fine balance between digital and traditional

A fine balance between digital and traditional
For any nation, a sound education system is indispensable for its overall growth and development. And while India may have made many a stride in several other sectors, education still reels under many problems. However, with the advent of technology, things are slowly changing for the better and the wheels of progress seem to be moving in the right direction. Yet, it would be premature to think that digital education alone can solve the problems that plague the Indian education landscape. In a country where parents and even students have still not embraced technology to the fullest, only a seamless blend of technological and traditional pedagogical tools  can create a palpable impact on the way education is consumed.

It is true that the adoption of technology is helping teachers expand beyond the conventional, text-based learning and engage students in other formats of education that they find appealing and captivating. Globally, digital education is creating a wave in transforming teaching and learning across continents. However, when it comes to India, we can notice that our education system still relies on traditional methods to a large extent; a trend that is here to stay for a while.

As traditional teaching is often more cost-effective than its digital counterpart, it becomes suitable for schools in rural regions. Further, the face-to-face interaction between the teacher and student in the traditional format imbibes better discipline in students. Moreover, there is no additional burden on students to acquire any technical knowledge and they can instead focus more on the subject. All these aspects may make traditional learning the foremost way of imparting and acquiring knowledge in India. Yet, certain gaps, like the need for customised learning for students and the access to quality education in smaller cities, are being overcome with the advent and use of technology.

Technology has drastically changed the manner of imparting education and learning, through the massive amount of information available online on digital devices in the form of books, audio tutorials, images, video lectures, etc. Unlike the traditional norms which demand that children learn and progress at the same pace, digital learning tools available today understand that they are all unique, with different needs, strengths, weaknesses and learning abilities. That is why traditional learning methodologies are not sufficient to cater to them all.

The effects of digital learning are evident in the Indian education system, specially when it comes to K-12 education across geographies and in the case of students preparing for competitive examinations. When these students face hurdles in learning, they often rely on their teachers and tutors for help. But, how does a student preparing for a competitive or board examination, who gets stuck on some topic in the middle of the night, seek help? Here is how digital educational platforms come to the rescue by giving students access to quality educational content through new pedagogies from professional teachers that don’t require face-to-face interaction or physical presence.
Equal opportunity

While India continues to ride on the wave of its demographic dividend, the reality that continues to pierce the nation is that a very large part of India has no consistency when it comes to quality education. The power of technology connects students from all sections of society to relevant and high-quality educational content, regardless of their location.

So far, the concept of traditional learning has focused only on one facet of the student’s well-being — academic development, wherein students learn while exams test that knowledge. But one of the major shortcomings of this institutionalised method of learning is the lack of a holistic approach. Even though most schools and teachers leave no stone unturned to make academics enjoyable and to integrate the overall well-being of every child even in larger groups, their ultimate goal is to help the students who are able to meet the basic academic standards to aim high. Beyond classroom learning, there is very little that is done to enhance a student’s performance proficiency.

Thus, in addition to traditional academic modules in schools, digital learning makes way for adaptive practice sessions that can assess the strengths of students. So, rather than separately emphasising traditional or digital methods, it is instead a blend of both, that has the potential to contribute positively to the way students absorb, assimilate and utilise their learnings; thereby fostering strong individuals who are assets to the society and to the country.

(The author is founder & CEO, Toppr.com)
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