How technology is changing the rules of time and education

Monday, 26 May 2014 - 9:31am IST Updated: Sunday, 25 May 2014 - 11:31pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Massive Open Online Courses are free and accessible. Adaptive learning aims to replace one size fits all education. Online courses force the generation of best content

Higher education today is all about time and not knowledge. Credits, semesters and academic years are what forms the academic qualifications we have today. What is central to the system is the credit hour which is supposed to be one hour of instruction and two hours of homework. It’s not that you’re not compensated for work experience and other alternatives. It’s just that this system is fundamentally flawed.
In a fast-paced world where competition is tough and the time-frames are small, the format of education today is counterproductive. It tries to make a relationship between time spent and knowledge learnt for all students, which is something that cannot be generalised. 

This relation fails when it comes to actual knowledge learnt because we simply cannot generalise how much knowledge students can absorb in a credit hour. 
Education is now set to change as college students are now questioning education in terms of time and money spent.

“If I had known that my education was going to be worth Rs 4-5 crore and it would take me four years to completem, the way it turned out, I would have spent my money differently” said Rhea Kanuga, a bachelor of fine arts from the Aacademy of Art University, San Francisco.

Massive Open Online Courses or Moocs and Adaptive Learning promise to bring that revolution to education. The world’s top universities are offering their quality content for free in the form of these Moocs, which are the defining spirit of education in this techno-savy period of history because of the ideas and beliefs of our world today. Since 2011, millions of students have enrolled for over a thousand courses from more than 200 of the world’s best universities for free. 

“This is about democratisation of learning: Learners are in control. We are at the beginning of an exciting effort to understand how people learn and how to educate well and effectively at scale.” said Andrew Ho, an associate professor in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education

“When a student joins one of the courses, he/she also joins a community of thousands of participants with diverse experience that enables further learning and network with the peer group. In India, the concept of MOOC is very new and we believe it will bring a long-lasting paradigm shift in management education inIndia,” said Megha Khatri, Program Manager for Open Courses at Sunstone Business School.
MOOCs are not only revolutionary for the students, they also help teachers get more feedback from students in a period of weeks than they would get in their entire career. Michael J, Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health echoed this when Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reached the MOOC milestone of One Million Enrollees. He said “With MOOCs, our faculty can reach more learners in one course than they would have throughout their entire careers.”

Unlike MOOCs, Adaptive learning is still to go mainstream. Adaptive Learning aims to model the study around the student instead of the other way around. Knewton is the world’s first adaptive learning technology that picks what to give a student next on the basis of the data of the student. While the student is studying Knewton uses this data to estimate the students understanding in specific fields of study. While Knewton is not at the stage of mass adoption yet. It offers an insight into where Adaptive Learning is headed.

Jose Ferreira, founder and CEO of Knewton said “Students generate a tremendous amount of high-stakes data that Knewton can analyze to ensure they learn in the most effective and efficient way for each. It is a new frontier in education.”




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