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Side Event: Adaptability of Online Learning

The most interesting part of Day 1 was the side event on Adaptability of Online Learning which was facilitated by Prof. Ujjwal K. Chowdhury, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Adamas University, India where he shared how online learning shows the door to increase student collaboration, a better interface with instructors and abundant availability of resources with more productivity in the learning process.

He clarified he is not an advocate of pure digital learning but highlighted few essences of both the learning patterns. He explained that Face to face learning has its certain benefits; benefits of having friends, meeting and interacting with teachers, impactful learning getting your queries explained, clearing doubts face to face and much more impactful relation between students teachers, peer groups, social life and many more are some good essence of traditional learning’s. Physical education has a one-time cost of shaping large structures, costs for teachers but once it is set up, people come and learn, learning is moderated, supervised, and monitored. Challenges on physical education are it is more costly, as there are structures, teaching faculties bound to be generally more expensive. It also bounds to make the learning in stress because there is a system including examination, respect, and discipline to be exhibited on campus, imposing personalities of people who run education.

Figure: Prof. Ujjwal Kumar Chowdhury sharing his words on the Adaptability of Online Learning

He added learning in real sense is voluntary, needs to be self- governed, self-disciplined. Learning must be internalized and therefore there is an element of a problem in physical learning.

Therefore, online learning brings out many options for making learning voluntary. Physical learning depends too much on teachers and students. The teacher sets the syllabus, introduces the syllabus, teacher examines the syllabus, and run with rules and patterns that determine for evaluation. In the case of an alternative model, the teacher becomes replaced as mentors. Mentors do not necessarily frame the syllabus; it organically evolves taking the opinion of learners, mentors, and various other stakeholders like people who hire industry and all. They are mentors, not necessarily teachers. Mentors introduce the topic and hunt aggregate lessons from different sources, preparing effective learning resources for the students that favor the learning patterns and increase learner’s engagement towards gaining knowledge and developing their skills. A learner then goes through these learning materials and meets mentors for clearing associated doubts. He also introduced the concept of a flipped classroom which requires aggregation of learning, and aggregation learning materials transform the role of teacher into mentor and students into learners.

Difference between learners and students

Mr.Chowdhury highlighted the major difference between learners and students. He said students study in the classroom but a learner studies inside and beyond the classroom. Students study with a fixed syllabus but learners begin with the structured syllabus but goes beyond, with a proper understanding of the learning materials and this is called organic learning. Students studies for marks and degrees but for a learner, the lesson is for lifetime application. Students focus on one domain but a learner focuses on multiple domains like physical learning, online learning, self-learning because today’s world is not for one specific career, there may be a need for multiple careers. There may be one subject we are studying out of necessity for jobs, but there can be some other subject one might be interested in. For that one needs to be a learner, not a typical student.

He also urged there is a need to adopt conglomerate multiple assessment systems in online learning to evaluate the learners. Formative assessment throughout the course and summative assessment at the end of the course. There are different learning patterns adopted in the world, blended learning, and hybrid learning phydigital learning- a combination of both physical and digital learning. Online Learning will introduce a new domain in learning patterns. Young people can adjust to changing tracks in learning. The world today has changed into phydigital learning. This will soon be adopted and make an impact. There might be a transition problem when moving from physical learning to digital learning. One needs to blend their creativity with the knowledge material. We need to adapt to ensure effective learning with the use of digital learning materials like Wi-Fi connection, internet, a laptop that leads to social connectivity. There are online courses delivered by e-learning platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy. Let’s adapt to technology now. Let’s adapt to learning.

Restricted habits create adaptability. Therefore, Learning should be with multiple resources in multiple ways, multiple times.