Emerging Paradigms in Learning Post COVID-19

Emerging Paradigms

No state or national borders could stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Irrespective of nationality, education level, gender, or income, it has badly affected lives and ways of living. Post coronavirus outbreak, we have learnt to live in the ‘NEW NORMAL’ world. Every sector has witnessed disruptions after back-to-back strikes by different variants of COVID.

Education is no exception here. After the first lockdown, the four-walled classrooms were shifted to digital mode, leaving teachers and students juggling between laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Initially, the primary concern with complete digital learning was to keep the learning curve intact. On the other hand, this unexpected jolt was also challenging for the teachers in the beginning.

The best thing with this shifting paradigm was that the learning was never affected even amid this global pandemic. In fact, this shift transformed the conventional ways of learning with better outcomes and more convenience. The concept of online learning has given rise to digital literacy at all levels, which is the need of the hour for the aspirants seeking any occupation.

UNESCO says, “In today’s societies, the ability to leverage digital technology is increasingly indispensable. More than 90% of professional occupations require digital literacy. It is one of the fundamental competencies to understand the hyper-connected world of the 21st century. Education systems are increasingly trying to ensure equitable, inclusive and high-quality digital skills education and training. Digital learning is a literacy that enhances skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, computational and analytical thinking.”
(Source – A quote from UNESCO’s report.)

The world has witnessed emerging paradigms in learning after the COVID-19 outbreak. Let’s read further to understand how education has evolved under technology-driven learning.

Rise of Hybrid Learning
The concept of hybrid learning is new to educational institutions. However, even after the number of COVID patients receded in the last quarter of 2021, the threat is still hovering over our heads. In such a context, hybrid learning is the only option that ensures undisrupted education amid adversities. Moreover, hybrid learning facilitates education in both modes – online & offline. Hence, it allows facilitating education as per convenience.

Active Learning
Undoubtedly, the breakthrough in online learning has spurred a revolution in education. The advent of new technology in learning has facilitated a remarkable shift from the drudgery of passive knowledge to the exhilaration of interactive learning. It has assisted in inculcating discovery, curiosity, and a positive approach. The aim of making education universally affordable and accessible seems to be achievable with digital learning.

Continuous Innovation
Innovation is the critical factor that symbolizes progress in any field. The digital shift of education can also be seen as an innovative move. It has helped unleash the virgin territories and untapped capabilities in the field of education. Digital transformation of learning has set the pace at which the transmission of knowledge and training is impeccable.

Breaking down the intellectual boundaries
Digital learning has shown a new, better face of education by breaking down the intellectual boundaries with a more trans-disciplinary, integrated, and comprehensive approach to education. It has coped very well with society’s rapidly changing educational needs; conventional education was lagging far behind in accomplishing this objective.

Rapid Improvisation in Global Higher Education
After the domination of online learning, the higher education system has witnessed radical changes in human life in terms of values, knowledge, skills, and aspirations. In addition, the changing scenarios in diverse industries and sectors impose new demands on higher education; digital learning, as a global learning instrument, has coped well with the needs of the worldwide industry.

Recent Success of MOOCs 
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently registered success. After the overwhelming response of learners to MOOCs, the higher education system has experienced exponential growth in the number of universities offering online education programs. The World University Consortium’s website (www.wunicon.org) was conceived to accomplish this objective.

Person-Centred Education
Online education is more person-centred; society should accept this statement without an iota of doubt. Technology has extinguished the need for many mental & physical skills that were once considered mandatory for quality learning. This form of education focuses more on the capacity to adapt rather than the ability to repeat. It emphasizes fulfilling the learning objectives of modern society. This is a positive shift from quantity to quality with personalized attention to the progress of each learner.

Wrap Up
Online learning has undoubtedly given a new dimension to higher education with a positive paradigm shift. It has assisted education to shift from mass learning to personalize learning, from mechanical knowledge to interactive classrooms, from conventional intellect to individual innovation, from collective conformity to independent mindset. Thus, the sun has risen with brighter rays in the higher education system after the advent of online learning.

Prof. Faizal Bathurutheen
Assistant Director – Marketing & Admissions,
Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai
Email – faizal@rsb.edu.in