The sheer number of learners in the country makes it difficult for institutions to experiment otherwise. Is it then right time to discuss personalized learning as a possibility to drive more purposeful learner’s engagement in India?
India is a richly diverse country and so is its education system. From plethora of distance mode institutions to myriads of regular universities to many institutions offering part time courses, Indian education landscape is dotted with centers that provide learning through highly controlled curricular structure leaving learners not many alternatives to learn as per need and perceptive efficiency. However, the sheer number of learners in the country makes it difficult for institutions to experiment otherwise. Is it right then to discuss personalized learning as a possibility to drive more purposeful learner’s engagement in India?
From the institutional perspective and in view of resource constraints, personalised learning or individualized instructions may look like a far-fetched idea in most part of the current education setup. But given the pace and rate of technological interventions in the field of education elsewhere, the idea of personalized learning seems just right at this hour, especially when the need is to provide learners with only what they need or want.
In this age of personalization, when even your online shopping priorities are individualized based on your past purchases, conceiving a tailored learning material just sound the most right thing to do. The digital space is increasingly becoming specifically tailored based on what one has been doing in the past, for example, online ads chasing you site to site and giving you a sense of déjà vu, which it’s not.
In India, where a high rate of unemployment is a pressing concern, employability of learners is one of the fundamental reasons why industries are not finding suitable human resources. Elsewhere the idea of adaptive learning or tailored learning is emerging as a promising trend only because employee mindshare remains the most needed thing to have by the companies.
From the institutional view-point, adaptive learning may not look achievable for time being in India and that doesn’t mean that learners and employers don’t need it. In fact, from learner’s or an employer’s view-point, personalized learning has been a requirement for as long as it has been elsewhere.
Learners has always expected content that is personalized as well as teaching methods that are personalized. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and immersive experiences are toady adding new heights how content can be better personalized and learning experiences better organized. In India, however, these trends have gained little or no exposure, and e-learning is mostly confined to videos and few apps which don’t give much learning freedom.
As the knowledge outcomes of the prevailing education systems are not adequate or at par with what’s required at ground level, the concepts of tailored learning and customized instructions are more needed here than anywhere else.
The idea of e-learning and customized instructions has tested the water as far as learners’ engagement is concerned. With more smartphones in hand, learners have been seen interacting with various learning apps to enhance their knowledge in such fields as language learning, basic arithmetic, and general knowledge. These apps and videos may not be the best examples of customized learning, but the existence of a constellation of such apps and videos for the learners to choose is at least demonstrating the learners’ desire to look for the content they exactly desire.
Personalized learning doesn’t necessarily need to start with curating the content based on learner’s need. One can start with the existing content also and better organize it with the help of AI for more adaptive learning. AI is great for recommending the best learning resources for each learner.
In India, many institutions have invested lot more in developing the learning material, but are equally frustrated with non-accessibility of this vast pool of content. In such cases, adaptive learning platforms make it easy for learners to be guided to most applicable materials. This should be the first step in India in the direction of personalization.
Curation of learning resources is also important – in fact, it is the very heart of adaptive learning platforms and personalized learning. Technology enables and facilitates the curation of learning resources, and curation platforms, like EdCast, which are becoming popular, serve up learning resources from trusted sources and that use AI to find rank that content.
Technology also enables curation of learning resources — again, they are personalized to the individual learner’s interests and what he or she needs to learn to do the job better.