Institutions are adopting technology to augment education model and pedagogy says Beas Dev Ralhan

-By KI News Team | Nov. 24, 2020, 8:06 p.m.

Let’s jump in with your story. What first got you into entrepreneurship and why did you decide to start your own company, NextEducation?

During my days at IIT Bombay, I realised that to make an impact on modern society, one has to build companies supported by the latest technologies and utilise the power of the Internet. My friend and colleague at PartyGaming, Raveendranath Kamath, had the same vision. So, both of us desired to employ technology to make a social impact in India.
In 2007, a focused market study helped us realize that the Indian education sector was least impacted by technology. With technology as our ally, we wanted to devise innovative methods to make education accessible and affordable for all. Thus, Next Education was born with a vision to transform education to suit the requirements of today’s learners.

What do you think about the transition to digital education by our Indian students?

Traditional models of education are dependent on time and place of learning. Learning facilitated by digital tools, popularly known as e-learning, does away with such frames enabling students to learn anytime and from anywhere. EdTech has opened up a plethora of options which include audiovisual content in the form of ebooks, animations etc. to cater to all kinds of learners. Schools are increasingly adopting technology-based solutions like online classes and learning management systems to augment their education model and pedagogy. Moreover, flipped learning and project-based learning which incorporates EdTech tools are also being incorporated into the pedagogy.

In reality, the efficiency of students towards learning digitally has decreased. What is your comment?

Though digital education has gained popularity, schools and educational institutions are unable to tap its maximum potential. As a result, the efficiency of the teaching-learning process has decreased. One of the main reasons is the gap between the transition from traditional learning methods to digital learning tools. Schools and educators are facing challenges in leveraging the important features of various digital tools, which in turn, hampers the learning experience of students. Moreover, the lack of training to effectively use digital tools also reduces teaching-learning efficiency.

Therefore, it is essential that educators and students are properly trained to use digital tools. This will bridge the digital divide and empower teachers to go digital, modify their pedagogy and usher in an array of new approaches to education.

Recent graduates are facing lower packages currently. What do you have to say about that?

Final-year students are experiencing a lot of panic and uncertainty when it comes to their employment prospects. Entry-level employees are being hit especially hard as various companies navigate their recovery during the worsening recession caused by COVID-19. Jobs across the country have witnessed a significant downfall owing to the economic downturn.

However, graduates and those looking for jobs can make the best use of this time to upskill themselves and stay updated in their respective fields. This will help them in getting good job opportunities in the coming days.

What kind of solutions do you provide for school and colleges present in remote areas?

We, at Next Education, are helping schools to redefine their teaching-learning approach through 'Next Learning Platform', a comprehensive integrated platform.

Focusing on remote areas, we have diversified our Next Learning Platform by integrating Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom for live online classes. Through the Next Learning Platform mobile app available across Android, iOS and Windows, students can easily attend online classes and interact with the teacher from their smartphones.

Our Learning Management System offers a rich repository of digital content across various educational boards and languages that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and from any device. Also, teachers can assign homework, conduct assessments and track each student’s progress in real-time.

Our education system was already complex. And with National education policy and COVID-19. Where do you think we are heading?

The National Education Policy lays emphasis on leveraging the advantage of technology in making the students future-ready. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to make our education system holistic, flexible and aligned to the needs of 21st-century education.

Schools should strengthen their digital infrastructure like digital classrooms, remote expertise-driven teaching models, AR/VR tools and more. Such technological advancements will empower educators to revolutionise their pedagogy in the long run as well, moving from a traditional classroom-based model to an interactive online classroom model. Moreover, the adoption of edtech solutions has also led to a significant transformation from teacher-centric education to student-centric education. Various collaborative online tools and learning management systems are helping to enhance the interaction between the teacher and students to create an experience similar to a real classroom.

How do you see the future of edtech post COVID?

Although an offline education system is prevalent in India, with the new developments due to COVID-19 crisis, it is believed that a combination of online and offline learning may become the new norm. Schools should steadily adopt online learning solutions to aid the traditional classroom approach. With the added benefits of this approach for both students and teachers in terms of skill development, digital proficiency, personalised learning, decision-making abilities, and time management, teachers will be able to design pedagogies that help shift the focus from rote learning to interactive learning and accomplish holistic development of students. However, for the seamless implementation of technological tools, it is imperative for schools and educational institutions to partner with edtech service providers, who aim to bring in disciplined online education.