By Sameer Sikka & Ankit Ruia, Co-founders, iAugmentor Labs
Headquartered in Gurgaon, iAugmentor Labs is a tech-enabled Learning & Assessment platform enabling personalized, adaptive and experiential learning. Through its unique learning methodology the company ensures learners inculcate whatever they are learning.
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence are powering Learning to new frontiers of possibilities. Learning by Doing, Personalized Learning Trajectories, instantaneous actionable feedback on specific Learning gaps – these are three powerhouse possibilities that are transforming the way new millennials are beginning to learn in universities of the future.
The crucial linkage between VR/Artificial intelligence and the education sector is now taking shape, through technology companies that are looking at making educational institutions future ready. VR experiences are showing how the world can be a more interesting place, enhancing our daily lives, and how we connect with everything, real or virtual. Combined with learning, AI has the scope to revolutionize the education eco-system, especially in a country like ours which has an alarming rate of unemployed talent.
Once size fits all learning – Tectonic Shifts Up Ahead in Education
One size fits all, has been the traditional foundation of education in India – where learners of disparate learning gaps, needs and learning styles, are lumped together into un-engaging sessions. For new millenials who were born in an environment of ‘Want it, get it’, where technology and handheld devices give them phenomenal access to information, the education system has not been able to keep pace with unstated demands of learners.
Classrooms of Tomorrow
Classrooms of tomorrow will have to evolve, actually redefine themselves, and learning providers will have to embark on a voyage of change and unlearning, to drive the radical shift from the education direction we seem to have settled into.
Immersive techniques in learning, brought about by technology and social media environment - through gamification of learning, collaborative learning, crowd-sourcing of real-life content – can have a profound impact on what classrooms can be, tomorrow. In fact, in addition to shaping the classroom of tomorrow, VR has the potential to itself become the classroom of tomorrow
Role of Educator
The role of trainer will have to become that of a facilitator, who continuously fuels critical thinking among learners by making them seek, discover, ask questions, collaborate and then share. The role of the educator will also have to be to cluster learners with like skills, and give them learning inputs they need, which are actionable
On the fly assessments, continuous feedback and collation of learning needs as well as styles through Artificial intelligence can help educators draft personalized and actionable learning roadmaps for their learners. When learning becomes practical instead of theoretical, it enhances the learning capabilities of students, helping them gain a better understanding of core concepts. When we talk about life skills, the importance of hands-on experience is more credible and effective than traditional classroom teaching.
Today, one global language binds the entire population, and thus being fluent in effective communication has become a mandate. The real pressure a student faces is when they enter the real world, where the focus shifts from sole academics to employable skills. Through well-designed student-centric constructivist learning and development modes, we can improve the learning experience of students in which experiential learning is a key component.
Academic Skills vs. Life Skills
Studies reveal that employers do not only look for academic success, but key employability skills such as self-management, problem-solving, verbal communication skills, and team & people management. In India, youth represent 25 percent of the total working age population, but make up 40 percent of the unemployed demographics (ILO, FAO, 2015). This clearly emphasizes the fact that imbibing life skills are equally important as academic skills received in schools and colleges. Highlighting the current scenario of the education system in India, and foreseeing its future, technology will be crucial in empowering students through new-age learning modes that augment their learning capacities.
Many academic institutes have personality development courses for students that aim to improve communication skills, but the outcomes are often unpredictable. The lack of accountability and assessment, and the limitation pertaining to infrastructure are some of the challenges faced by institutes, which consequently affects the quality of learning. Following this, the fact that the industry groans about the lack of skilled workforce does not come as a surprise.
How AI Prepares Youth for the Future
The advent of the World Wide Web has introduced people to a community which thrives on connectivity and communication. This ‘Google Age’ has opened doors to learning by providing unlimited access to people to various sources which promote ‘video learning’ and ‘virtual classrooms’. However, such mediums are insufficient due to the simple reason that they offer no means of assessment and there is no scope for accountability.
For instance, while preparing for job interviews and public speaking, students are challenged as withoutfeedback and practical experience, they are unable to gain insights on their shortcomings and how to overcome these issues. This can be managed only through tech-based platforms that work on augmenting an individual’s learning experience.
Technology intervention is the need of the hour to tackle the incapacities of the existing education model and address the growing disconnect between students and educators. Backed by AI, technologies provide invaluable responses and reviews based on the student’s performance. This constant cycle of feedback and self-assessment is how learners augment their capabilities. As students gain a better understanding of the specific areas which requires more focus, they are able to master any skill.
Many international and local institutes are looking for ways to overcome the specific challenges they face today. There is huge demand of employable youth today, and through innovative, engaging and student-friendly solutions, we can hone the skills of individuals and make them industry-ready. After all, it is the youth who eventually define growth story of a nation.
The undeniable truth is that no educational approach is perfect. John Dewey, an American educational reformer and a true pragmatist, argues, “The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action”. When we talk about experiential learning, action and application are its two crucial components, which are also the best teachers in forming humanity.