Education is truly transformative. But not everyone gets to go to college or pursue post-graduation and beyond. This is especially the case in developing countries like India where there are several socio-economic, cultural, geographic and other barriers to education, especially beyond schooling. Online education came as a boon for the millions in the country who could either not afford higher education or who were restricted from pursuing it.
Online education itself has come a long way since its inception. We started with the printed correspondence mode where the study materials will be sent to you by post, involved self-learning and a few contact classes at your place of residence or a town close to it. While the printed correspondence is still in existence and used by many. There is a marked shift towards the online modes of learning and online education. In the online mode again, there are different variations such as Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs), self-study, blended, live and interactive learning, etc.
What is live and interactive learning?
Live and interactive learning basically recreates classroom-type interactions in the digital space and emulates the physical college/university environment through virtual, online classrooms, digital libraries, student communities and so on. It helps remove the classroom and college from the physical confines of a building or geography. It is offered through ed-tech platforms which deliver the education to wherever you are.
There are a variety of short-term and long-term courses offered through live and interactive learning: graduate degree, post-graduate degrees and diplomas, diplomas, certificate courses, executive programs, skilling courses, training modules and specializations to name a few.
Why is live and interactive learning gaining popularity?
The most important reason is that live and interactive learning removes the classroom from the physical confines of a building or geography. This means that you can study from anywhere, as long as you have a good internet connection and a computer/laptop. And today, when the internet is penetrating to even very remote places, live and interactive learning is gaining more popularity. Even working professionals who do not want to take a sabbatical, but still want to study, enhance/upgrade their skills or develop new skills and boost their career prospects find this to be a very convenient option.
Live and interactive learning prioritizes the convenience of the learners and lectures are scheduled either during the weekends or late evenings on weekdays. The self-learning materials are made available 24×7 and access is provided to the digital library for further learning.
The other reason for the rising popularity is that live and interactive online courses are comparatively inexpensive. For instance, an online MBA offered through the live and interactive mode costs only a quarter to half of what it would if you took the course through the regular, on-campus program. Even when the course fees are similar, you save up a lot on conveyance, accommodation, relocation and printing costs.
How does live and interactive learning makes it worthy?
Live and interactive lectures enable you to have a classroom-like atmosphere, interacting with the faculty and getting your doubts and queries clarified as and when. You do not have to wait for weeks or months for the contact classes like with other online certificate programs. The faculty makes use of visual aids to make the learning effective. Simulation activities, exercises and case studies are used too for hands-on learning.
Digital Campus: With the help of Learning Management Systems (LMS), the college is removed from the confines of walls and physical premises. The LMS helps in delivering self-study and reference materials as well as learning aids. You are given access to the digital library and a wide array of visual and textual reference materials.
Mobile App: The best live and interactive course providers also offer a mobile app so that you can learn whenever and wherever you want and at a pace that suits you.
Gamification is leveraged to enable better understanding and effective learning. It improves the learner’s level of engagement, helps reinforce concepts and clear your learning pathways by using the latent competitive urge in human beings.
Analytics is used to help learners reflect upon their learning styles, strengths and weakness in learning, their level of comprehension of different concepts, etc.
Dedicated student support: This helps create a seamless teaching-learning experience.
Best ed-tech platform for live and interactive learning
Talentegde is the best ed-tech platform for live and interactive learning and is the first to be credited with an ISO: 9001-2008 certification. Its cutting-edge LMS, SLIQ, enables the platform to emulate the college campus and a classroom environment in the virtual space. Talentedge has partnered up with world-class educational institutions and corporates to offer top-quality courses. It has two distinguishing features apart from all those mentioned in the previous section: the Selfie Scan tool to analyze personality traits of the learner and secondly, the Ask Pro and Pro Talk tools that allow learners to interact with industry stalwarts and domain experts on all aspects of career development.
Augmented reality refers to the enhanced user view of reality by superimposing a computer generated input such as sound, graphic or even video. Augmented reality is being widely used in the news and media business to enhance user experience of reality. In the world of education, a transformation is occurring, whereby with the help of image scans using mobile phones or tablets, students can view overlaid data relevant to that image.
Augmented reality is a segment of edtech just like elearning and mlearning. It is changing the way education was imparted. Even though AR is greatly entrenched in the gaming sector, research shows that it is impacting the education sector by changing the way students interact with their environment and how they learn from it. Moreover, the customer value of AR enhanced products is 33% higher than that of the non-augmented products.
One of the key aspects of augmented reality is the personalization that can be done because of the current advance technology. With the help of AR teachers can actually add videos, images or written text related to the subject matter to a trigger image; thereby enhancing the way the student looks at that information. For example, students learning about a certain function in excel, could scan an image related to it and actually see a step by step graphic depicting how to use that function.
The applicability of AR is immense and it is not limited to any one grade. Students from junior classes onwards have a learning advantage. For example, students learning about the solar system for the first time could scan an image of the solar system and watch a video related to the solar system that has been overlaid on that image link. This will give them a more enhanced and possibly a 3D view of what the solar system is like and how the planets rotate and revolve at the same time. Even students who have a difficulty in otherwise understanding the complex topics of rotation and revolution will understand it better and faster.
Augmented reality is a useful learning tool as it supports the user learning through prompting and helps in enhanced interpretation without controlling their takeaway. Currently, there are a number of apps available which can help educators create AR content for their students and help augment their learning experience by enhancing what they see and their perspective of the same. Also, these apps allow teachers to create highly customized content and thus, teachers can make use of it to create content pertaining to each different lesson.
The engagement ability of augmented reality is incredible and hence, students respond to AR content much faster. It is easier for them to relate with what they are learning because they can see and find greater perspective. Simply reading and listening to the teacher becomes a drab activity for students. Now they can actually engage with the content. For example, for someone reading a particular topic, it is far more easy to develop perspective when one interacts with AR content.
Moreover, teachers can create worksheets enabled with AR technology which students can work on and engage with even at home. This would make homework more engaging and students will have the opportunity to involve themselves with the technology as well as the content at their own pace at home. It is believed that this will inculcate a positive outlook towards education and technology among students.
Currently, there are two kinds of AR devices used in classrooms:
- Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets which have GPS and position and motion sensors.
- Relatively fixed devices such as computers and laptops which also have motion and position sensing capabilities.
The future of AR technology in classrooms
As of yet, the technology available is largely dependent on a screen and though, it provides a very enhanced realistic experience to students, critics say it could be better. It is believed that the technology can and must be improved to provide an even more realistic experience where without the use of a screen, students can actually use their hands to touch and feel the 3D object being studied.
Already, huge strides are being made in that direction with the development of AR goggles which are being used in gaming and other tech related fields. With engineers engaged in research and development on an ongoing basis, it is only a matter of time before these goggles are available in the market. Even though currently such gear is extremely expensive and hence, not available for students, it can be hoped that the technology will soon be available for students at affordable prices. Teachers who have already been using AR technology feel the need of the technology to become widespread, so that there is a healthy exchange of ideas, 3D content and resources across geographical borders.
What was seemingly fantasy until a few years ago is now available in the form of AR technology and is already being utilized in classrooms by certain teachers and students. The only barriers that have been felt regarding the technology is the ease of use and affordability as well as speed of recognition in devices. With constant research and development, it is hoped that these issues, especially the speed issue will be tackled effectively. The educational value that the AR products create in future will determine the success of AR technology in the field of education.