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Hybridization Is The Future of Education

Education is more than just teaching, learning, and assessments. It is about building social skills, communication, networking, and growing as individuals.

Nishant Agarwal, Founder, Proctur; Prateek Bhargava, Founder & CEO, Mindler; and Tarun Saini, Founder & CEO, Vidyakul-Bharat ka Online School; speak with Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor BW Businessworld & Executive Editorial BW Applause & Everything experiential, about the future of online education, the role of EdTech, and the need for both offline and online learning.

Ruhail Amin: When schools opened in-between, did your platforms have the same kind of traction it did during the pandemic?

Prateek Bhargava: There are some schools/institutions that have adapted faster than others when it comes to online education. The main points that affect this adaptation process are:  1. The age group of the learner; 2. The infrastructure available for the educator and the learner; and 3. The instructor.

Ruhail Amin: Where do you see the growth in online education platforms?

Nishant Aggarwal: The impact of online education has been different depending on whether we are dealing with formal or informal education. In the case of informal education, only 25% of people were still able to access information, hopefully, online education can help increase this accessibility. In the case of formal education, mainstream education may still take place in classrooms, but surrounding work such as revisions, or even administrative work may go online.

Ruhail Amin: Are you preparing your platform to be used in the long haul, which may be very different from the pandemic?

Tarun Saini: The future of online education has only just started. Students who want to learn in their regional language or in Hindi, are only now starting to emerge. We are creating platforms that are accessible and catering to all children.

Ruhail Amin: In your opinion, what will be the relevance of offline education alongside virtual platforms?

Prateek Bhargava: Education is more than just teaching, learning, and assessments. It is about building social skills, communication, networking, and growing as individuals. A lot can be done online, but I think schools play an important role.

Ruhail Amin: How confident are you that investment in online education is going to be a driving factor in the future?

Nishant Agarwal: In my opinion, blended is going to be the future. All teachers who are online, have an offline presence. Once things calm down [pandemic] I think we will go back to offline spaces. Online platforms that are moving too fast need to keep that in mind. 

Ruhail Amin: Do you think people are not coming to Ed-tech due to limited infrastructure?

Tarun Saini: Yes, but it depends on which market we are entering. As we move between the different tier towns, we can see not everyone has smartphones or faces network issues. That being said, students who are determined to learn to find a way, and are happy to oblige their needs.

Ruhail Amin: When you are catering to a classroom, how do you build and maintain engagement?

Prateek Bhargava: Most schools are taking the traditional classroom methods, and using them online. The challenge here is to learn to be more engaging in the teaching process.

Ruhail Amin: The online space seems determined to replicate the offline, physical classrooms. How can we go about changing this? 

Nishant Aggarwal: We are training and encouraging educators to use the available solutions while introducing tools that are unique to online platforms. This is a challenge, but everyone is adapting.

Ruhail Amin: Have you seen a difference in engagement when you compare students learning together from one device to urban centers where students have multiple devices?

Tarun Saini: It’s not just the platform but the educators operating it. Content-wise educators have no issue in India. I think we can learn to be good storytellers in our education. 

Ruhail Amin: What is the future of online education? 

Prateek Bhargava: Online education is here to stay. There is a need for blended learning. All these challenges we discuss can be handled. Right now we are seeing just the essentials, but soon universities and schools will slowly complete this transition, once the tech infrastructure is properly set up. Nishant Aggarwal: I believe the benefits will overcome the challenges when it comes to online education. 

Tarun Saini: 70% of students from Kindergarten to 12th grade are either in government schools or come from tier 3 and 4 cities. We need more content to be created in the regional languages of these students. Furthermore, educators in these cities have already started using some platforms, in a few years they should be acclimated to the available online platforms.

Source: Business World

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