Need For A Restructuring In The Education System

Vivek Chachra, Country Manager (India), Harvard Business PublishingThere are several academic institutions in India that are innovating and adapting to changing needs in an effective manner. From redesigning curriculum to meet new skills, flipped classrooms to focus on application, deeper academic-industry collaboration and adopting technology. It is difficult to paint the University system in India with one brush stroke. More institutes can participate in this change and more can certainly be done, but that is true for pretty much everything when it comes to a country as populous, complex and ambitious as India.

According to me, any student-centered method of teaching, like the case study method or teaching with simulations requires an active discussion leader in the classroom to stimulate students' critical thinking skills. Fortunately, this puts many active engagement techniques at instructors' disposal. Role plays, students debating each other, follow-up questions, and similar techniques can make it important for students to be actively listening and engaged.

And like many modes of learning, online education serves certain learners very well, such as those who are self-motivated and students who hesitate to speak up in a live classroom. Other advantages of online learning include elements that simply aren't possible in a face-to-
face classroom, such as all students contributing at once to a document, map, or other wiki-based, collaborative platform. New tools crop up regularly that uncover new benefits of online learning.

From HBPs perspective, as a provider of rigorous course materials, HBP subjects digital courseware to the same high standard: all course materials are class-tested prior to publication to ensure that learning objectives and technical standards are met. HBP help professors understand the improvement in student learning outcomes when assigning online content. Online simulations and foundational readings with interactive elements help students retain information because students play an active role in processes, experimenting with different parameters, and observing the resulting changes in outcomes.

New tools crop up regularly that uncover new benefits of online learning

But there are numerous drawbacks prevailing in both online learning and student-centered teaching methods. For instance, online learning may include the fact that not all student learning styles benefit from the approach. Some learners require a community of humans working face-to-face to stimulate their thinking or to keep them on task. Others may need the one-on-one attention from an instructor that can be hard to replicate online. On the other hand, student-centered teaching methods that require robust discussion can also be difficult for instructors to create in an asynchronous online environment. Some of these drawbacks can be mitigated by the growing prevalence of hybrid models, in which some learning takes place asynchronously online and some learning happens in synchronous face-to-face environments.

Even the instructors can be hesitant to adopt new technology for many reasons. They may be well-versed in the existing materials they teach, they may be concerned that technology is not reliable enough to ensure a smooth classroom experience, and like adopting any new material, it takes time for an instructor to run through online content and determine a teaching approach. However, instructors who do adopt online programs for teaching find that it generates tremendous energy among students.