Have you given a thought about how education would be like moving forward? Is e-learning here to say? Jasmine shares what she thinks.
“In a few years more, you might ‘go to school’ at home. Your learning might all be remote,” said my science teacher back when I was still in secondary school. I didn’t believe it then but little did I know that this had come true.
According to the press release by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on 3rd March 2021, more than 168 to 214 million children are unable to learn physically in school due to the lock down imposed by governments of different countries. Due to the global pandemic, learning has been through a tremendous change. This change is inevitable and it might be permanent too. How are the students getting their education then? I believe this isn’t a tough question to answer as you might be getting your education through e-learning during this period too. Hence, as an educator and a learner, here are my two cents on the current trend and the future of education.
Even before the global pandemic hit, the rise of e-learning has already begun thanks to the advancement of tech. Education investors worldwide realised the benefits and how wide the e-learning market can penetrate which laid a good foundation for the current e-learning trend.
For example, many Chinese national parents sought native English teachers through e-learning websites. These e-learning websites can offer parents and students their demand for learning English from native speakers and connect the supply (native English speaking teacher) to the customers. Such an e-learning model has actually been adopted by many other countries which is why e-learning is also on a rise now. Cheers to the advancement of tech for the convenience and accessibility of education we now have! This would be the way to go for the future of education where learning will never again be restricted by time and space.
In the future, I believe that e-learning will be an ever-green industry that’ll become another major option for students to receive their education aside from offline education. However, many would still be sceptical on the effectiveness of online learning due to several problems such as students’ short attention span, lack of discipline as well as limited engagement and responses given during the lesson.
However, I’d like to address the effectiveness of online learning rationally and positively. If a student has a short attention span, lacks discipline and/or refuses to respond to the teacher in an online class, it’s likely that they’d have the same attitude in offline learning. Therefore, the responsibility doesn’t lay only on online learning but the learning behaviour of the students.
Besides, it’s evident that the 21st-century workforce demands fresh graduates that are skill-based and not just knowledge-based. In other words, the employers hope to recruit fresh graduates who are able to search for solutions on their own instead of having those who can only show good test results. The reason being that knowledge learned without application is so much more limited than applied knowledge that’s powerful.
For instance, Zyson Kang, the boy who made Malaysia proud by winning the Junior category of Nasa’s Lunar Loo Challenge. He applied his knowledge of mechanical kinetic concepts to produce a spacesuit toilet. That’s a great example of applying knowledge so that it can be a skill that made an impact. The future workforce expects more soft skills, such as creativity, critical thinking and communication from the employees or entrepreneurs to change the traditional way of work.
Hence, the current aim and method of teaching and learning should focus on these soft skills rather than the content of learning. What matters is not ‘what’ you learn but ‘how’ you learn. All the skills gained during the schooling years of the students will be precious experiences accumulated to prepare them for work. Therefore, teachers may opt for more skill-based homework and projects to develop students these skills mentioned above.
This brings us to the next focus where students are no longer learning from the main source but multiple sources. The teacher is no longer their only source of information because, in order to complete the skill-based homework, students would look up information from the internet, books or even by interviewing experts.
Such a learning method and style is decentralising the source of information from a single source with authority (teacher) to multiple sources with credits (other sources). Looking at the current trend of education in Malaysia, there are traces of decentralising of information sources, but it’s yet to be well-established as the acceptance of such learning styles are still low among parents and new to teachers.
However, the future of education globally is moving towards such a direction for good. Students that benefit from different sources of learning would be more versatile and open-minded.
In a nutshell, the future of education is heavily influenced by society and the demand for a future workforce. In turn, the direction and effort that we pumped in for our current education would also shape the future world that we expect.
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