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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Virtual classrooms: How learning can be personalised for children

Technology in personalised learning will come to the aid of students not only in learning and retention but they will also enjoy and appreciate what they have learnt.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi | August 24, 2020 1:53:11 pm
UNICEF, online learning, online school, online courses, education newsAt least a third of the world's schoolchildren 46.3 crore children globally were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools, according to the new UNICEF report. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Amit Arora

Almost all Indian parents secretly aspire that their young offspring  emerges as a topper in their class and makes them proud of their achievements. Selecting a highly effective mode of enhanced learning is important in securing a great and bright future for their child.

And now in these corona times, with the entire world literally turned upside down, virtual classrooms appear to have become the hottest buzzword to take learning to another level. With schools shut and parents working from home, the obvious choice for parents is to opt for these for a host of reasons.

There are certain advantages of virtual classrooms in learning and reinforcement:

Flexibility: Learn from anywhere so long as you have good internet connectivity.

Effectiveness: Teachers and students alike can have access to a lot of teaching aids and tools enabled by the advancements in computing and internet technologies to make teaching and learning more effective.

Control: Students have full control over how and when they access learning resources.

Affordability: With the power and scale of EduTech technologies, many high end solutions are available at very affordable price points making it easy on the parents’ pockets.

Zero misses: Since everything is recorded, you can always access it anytime.

Zero travel time: Learn from the safety and security of your own home without bothering to commute unnecessarily.

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To make virtual classrooms most effective, there has to be personalised learning, a teaching approach focused solely on the learner. Moreover, since each child is unique with different learning abilities, it is important to address their needs differently for better outcomes. One size certainly does not fit all. And with teachers and students in different places now, and with the option to gauge effectiveness of a lecture based on the response of students or reading their body language ruled out, the need for regular assessments and analysing each students’ grasp of the concepts has increased even more.

In order to make personalised learning a new permanent order to reckon with, top technology providers in this space need to empower students with ownership of their learning where they can see their performance analysis on an instant and regular basis. Encouraging students to assess themselves periodically can help polish their thinking and grasping skills. It is a great practice to assess while the learning is ongoing. This helps students and teachers identify each student’s weak areas. Using that analysis as the base, AI/ML based algorithms can generate an individualised study plan which enables the students to practise further on the required subjects in which he/she is weak.

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Learning can be personalised in many other ways:

  • Give children something to learn which is of their personal interest, and not necessarily  a part of the prescribed curriculum. It is a great motivator.

  • Seek direct feedback from children from time to time on their view of the learning. Just like we have parent-teacher meetings and tests to get the teacher’s view on each student, we should have candid, encouraging discussions where children give their inputs on how they are finding the learning and teaching methodologies and pace.

  • Get them to be part of a larger learning group on the same wavelength and interest areas as them for added support.

ALSO READ | Remote learning: Why some kids may be doing better than others

Finally, what makes online personalised learning truly stand out is that it gives students freedom to fail and try again without negative effects.

Times are changing rapidly and education in India, including its methods, has witnessed a sea change. Technology in personalised learning will come to the aid of students not only in learning and retention but they will also enjoy and appreciate what they have learnt which will equip them towards achieving theirs and their parent’s dreams of a bright future for them.

(The writer is Founder, EduThrill, an e-assessment & learning company gamified platform)

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