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Making Learning Engaging & Effective with Technology

Prakash Rengarajan, Co-Founder & CEO, HelloClass
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Prakash Rengarajan, Co-Founder & CEO, HelloClass
An IIM-Bangalore and NIT-Rourkela alumni, Prakash has hands-on experience of working with multinational corporates such as Microsoft and Infosys. His stint with the education sector began when he joined TutorVista, a U.S. based e-Learning company. Apart from HelloClass, he is also the Co-Founder of Tikki-Tikki, a restaurant company in Bangalore.

Technology is improving every aspect of our life. It has changed the way we communicate, work, and learn. The rise of the internet and smart phones has transformed the education system, and hand-held devices have now become an integral part of learning, whether in a classroom environment or online. Technology is being used to disseminate learning right from the pre-primary stage to higher education as it is effective, engaging, and personalized. Edutech startups are determined to reshaping the education space in the country. They are evolving new e-learning models that are taking education beyond structured boundaries. With their emphasis on complete online training and live classes, these firms are taking education to the next level by converting it into a 24x7 personalized learning environment.

Gamification & Virtual Reality

Gamification is the latest rage among most startups in the edutech ecosystem that allows instructors the opportunity to bring out their creative side. Technology has converted the classrooms and online sessions into interactive platforms where students are taken into a more immersive and compelling learning atmosphere. The use of gamification, virtual reality, and augmented reality converts boring, exhaustive subjects into interesting and appealing ones, thus enhancing learning and performance. Mobile gaming not only drives engagement among users but also encourages students towards a social learning mechanism. From subscription-based models that cater to higher learning to skill enhancing activities for children at the primary learning level, edutech firms have got it all. The concept of virtual reality allows students to be part of connected classrooms, which are not confined in location and allow students to learn at their own pace. Innovative apps present lectures in the form of short videos and study material that can be referred to and bookmarked for convenient access.

Personalization, Differentiation, & Individualization

The days of one-size-fits-all approach to education are long gone, with the trend of tailored learning catching up. Web-based learning tools allow for personalized learning, wherein instructions are paced to suit personal learning speed, capacity and interest of each participant. In such an atmosphere, even though the final goal remains the same for all participants, the learning objectives are met at individual levels and allow for different styles of learning. Personalized learning models allow students to focus on their interest areas even while working towards a collective goal, thus helping them develop specialized adaptive skills. Students can go through course materials at their own speed. Online learning also gives you the flexibility to fit learning into your hectic schedule easily by enabling a 24x7 online learning window. There are automated learning platforms that work with multilevel storyboard systems which promote learning at a very fundamental and minute level.

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning presents an opportunity for two or more people to learn together, which makes problem solving easier, and facilitates healthy team work, discussion-based learning, and sharing of thought among learners. Innovative e-learning pathways allow for active participation, peer interaction, and one-on-one learning. There are ventures that focus on test preparation, and then there are those with a boot camp-like approach. They have courses and learning methodologies, which help participants grasp the toughest of concepts through easy hands-on techniques. This method of learning brings together people who share common interests and passion for certain aspects of a subject. It allows for co-construction of fundamentals based on individual and compounded understanding, which is more sustainable and effective. Connective online learning assists students in developing a higher stratum of thinking, enables real-time problem solving and sharing of knowledge among peer groups and even between instructors and students. Collaborative learning is not only beneficial for students but also help teachers develop a seamless flair for technology. In a job-embedded learning experience, the faculty also extensively relies upon the use of technology based tools to engage in online exchange of information.

Active Learning

Technology acts as a tool for creativity and takes education beyond passive classroom based training to student-centric active learning medium. Knowledge is not just acquired through taking down notes or simply listening to lectures, but is more participative and interactive. While internet is a hyper-medium of information, it offers students the freedom to learn through a method of their own choice and use the knowledge available effectively. Active learning has also made multitasking easier and more efficient. Given the fact that the brain cannot concentrate on two tasks at the same time unless the tasks are simple and do not compete for the same resources in the brain, e-learning presents ideas and concepts in simplified format that can be absorbed quickly. Learning through exploring is an aspect of online learning which allows participants to feel less pressurized in a curriculum. Individuals are allowed to navigate different parts of the course materials and different media of information such as images, infographics, videos and audios, which give the learner more control and freedom.

Engaging learners in the course they are part of is one of the key factors that ensure effective learning and getting the best possible outcome out of the program. The best way to get students to be more engaged is by creating an active, interactive and participative learning sphere. There is a lot of latent force in the segment, and the key is to make quality education affordable and accessible to one and all. And this is only possible with the right use of technology.

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