Technology & Integrated Learning Solutions: The Key Growth Driver For Education In The Future

Sivaramakrishnan V, Managing Director, Oxford University Press IndiaSivaramakrishnan V has been holding the position of Managing Director at Oxford University Press India since 2015. Previously during his stint as Chief Marketing Officer and then Executive President for Education Services, he has overseen seven years of strong business development, improved quality assurance, and the effective delivery of supporting technology platforms.

Technology has emerged as the biggest theme to have impacted the education sector in recent years. The advent of digitally aided classrooms, web-based delivery & learning and the consumption of content in a digitized format have brought about a paradigm shift in the teaching-learning process. Technology has enabled education to shift from being a `knowledge transfer model' to becoming a more `collaborative and engaging experience' for the 21st-century learner. Learners have also been quick to adopt technology ­ being visually savvy, a flat screen or a handheld is their new ally in the learning process. Therefore, it is only fair and logical that Education companies adapt their delivery platforms and mediums to suit the new-age learner. Below are some Education technology trends that have the potential to upturn the Education landscape forever.

Adaptive learning through Artificial Intelligence (AI):
Adaptive learning has the potential to solve crucial challenges in classroom learning, such as, how to engage learners of different abilities in the same classroom! Adaptive learning systems use machine learning and help to personalize the presentation of learning material based on an individual's learning speed, interest and problem areas. AI in the hands of teachers can become an important tool to ensure more uniform learning. Machine learning along with natural processing and speech recognition technologies are facilitating the development of conversational programs, also called chatbots. The bots can be programmed to provide a wide variety of services such as tutoring. The application of artificial
intelligence in education is a space to watch out for in the near future.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR):
This has probably been the most talked about the recent trend. Virtual Reality immerses the user in a virtual or imaginary environment. Immersive educational environments are already being used to provide learners a life-like experience in subjects as diverse as history and chemistry. Augmented Reality, on the other hand, is a technology used to present an enhanced version of reality where elements of the physical real-world environment are augmented with digital learning experiences. AR/VR technologies help learners experience and interact with digital learning objects to support their learning. Educators, who earlier had a print or digital images/animations for teaching support, can now leverage these high-fidelity educational experiences to achieve better learning outcomes.

In our country where the `chalk and talk' education model is still widely prevalent, the instant transition to technology-based education by the majority will probably be a misnomer

Online Assessments:
New forms of technology-mediated assessments have enabled a big shift from fixed-in-point summative assessments, which are today at the core of the learning process, to more continuous and adaptive formative assessments. Online assessment solutions are clearly more customizable, interactive, secure and quick to deliver. They work across multiple platforms (mobile included) and offer detailed interactive dashboards to analyze performance from various aspects. The ability to store historical assessment data and compare progress over time can be used to establish a trend and also draw inferences on the learners' progress in the con-text of learning.

Learning Analytics:
It is often said: "what gets measured is what gets done". The focus is shifting from big data to `little' data. Little data is personal activity data which when analyzed by intelligent systems, is able to provide key insights into the way students learn. It may well become an important source of information and insight for decision-making for educators. It may also unlock new potential for personalization of tools and content. By adding the right information capture mechanisms and real-time insight capabilities, traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) can now vastly enhance the teaching-learning experience.

However, in our country where the `chalk and talk' education model is still widely prevalent, the instant transition to technology-based education by the majority will probably be a misnomer. An integrated learning solution is hence an excellent response to an Indian education system, where a `print book' is still the principal learning platform. Integrated learning solutions seamlessly combine print and digital mediums to ensure that the learner gets a consistent learning environment. Nonetheless, the next few years promise to be interesting in the context of education. Technology will certainly challenge and disrupt traditional methods, pedagogies and mindsets.