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2021 - The Introduction of Blended Learning in India

05 Jul 2021

We all have learned several lessons in the pandemic and lockdown. But it is the educational system that has learned the biggest lesson. With schools and colleges shut for more than 400 days, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) realized it was time to change the foundation of our present education system. Future learning had to be impactful, skill-based, and technology-driven. It gave birth to the concept – Blended Learning. This method integrates in-person face-to-face classroom learning with technology-enhanced online material. In the blended learning model, the students are connected with their teacher virtually, and the teacher engages students in a live, interactive classroom through the tools of technology. Blended learning called hybrid learning or mixed-mode learning, is a revolutionary change in the higher education environ of India.

Blended Mode of Teaching and Learning, 2021
On May 20, 2021, the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, issued a Blended Mode of Teaching and Learning: Concept Note. The Introduction of the 50-page document clearly stated, “It is an instructional methodology, a teaching and learning approach that combines face-to-face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities to deliver instruction. This pedagogical approach means a mixture of face-to-face and online activities and the integration of synchronous and asynchronous learning tools, thus providing an optimal possibility for the arrangement of effective learning processes. Blended learning is the term given to the educational practice of combining digital learning tools with more traditional classroom face-to-face teaching. In a truly blended learning environment, both the student and the teacher should be physically located in the same space. Despite this, the digital tools used should be able to be utilized by the students in order to enforce some control over the speed or topics of their learning. The flipped classroom model is a similar program that aims to utilize technology in order to rearrange the learning experience and maximize the effectiveness of valuable face-to-face time in the classroom. In a flipped classroom programme, students would be encouraged to access digital learning materials via a cloud-based learning platform during their own time. Resources such as video lectures, podcasts, recordings and articles would be provided in order to transfer the main bulk of the necessary knowledge from teacher to student before each class. This then frees up time in class for teachers to support students in activities, lead discussions and facilitate engagement.”

This Blended Mode of Teaching and Learning is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP 2020), which also stresses the need for the extensive use of technology in teaching to enhance learning in students. Together they aim to achieve 100 percent literacy by internationalizing indigenous knowledge through digitized course contents.

The Blended model of teaching and learning says - up to 40 percent of any course can be taught in online mode and the rest 60 percent in offline mode.

The advantages of Blended Mode of Teaching and Learning
This structure of teaching and learning offers several advantages like: -

1. Improves student engagement in learning
Today millennials and others are seen to engage more with digital devices than books. Since blended learning uses the internet and tools like smart boards, it keeps students focused for longer periods and helps develop learning through exploration and research.

2. Provides a hybrid learning opportunity
Blended learning provides an opportunity to collaborate at a distance. Since students can attend theory classes virtually and attend college only for practical, it allows them the best hybrid learning opportunity.

3. Improves time management and increases flexibility
In technology-enabled learning, you can learn anytime and anywhere. The model enables students to study without barriers of time and location in any mode and multiple languages.

4. Allows learning at your own pace
As students can access internet resources, it allows them to learn at their own pace. Also, if the student wants more advanced learning material, a teacher can provide it online.

5. Increases interactivity
With teachers and students only a click away, this model increases interactivity among students and between students and teachers.

6. Instils a disposition of self-drive and responsibility
With online teaching, students can easily track their progress and individual achievements. It makes them both self-driven and responsible in reaching the goal. It helps develop the ability to find resources and also reach out to a teacher for assistance.

7. Enhances teacher and student interaction
Since this learning has more online interactive activities, it improves student engagement with the teachers. Technology integrated into lessons keeps students interested, focused, and excited about the subjects they are studying while teachers enjoy teaching them.

8. Makes a global job candidate
Today without knowledge of computers and access to the internet, you can be left behind. World over jobs requires people to be digitally advanced. In blended learning, since there is equal focus on digital learning skills, it helps students master their technologies and be ready for the best job in India or overseas.

9. Helps teachers to update resources and provide feedback quickly
Not only can teachers plan their work hours better, but teaching resources and content being repeatable, reliable, and reproducible online, it offers higher efficiency. The teacher even uses tech tools to rapidly analyze, review and give feedback on student assignments facilitating meaningful discussions. Automatic grading offered by many learning systems is also another quick means of instant feedback.

10. Promotes student ownership
The use of eLearning materials increases student learning outcomes. Blended learning instills a sense of ‘student ownership over learning’, which is a powerful force to improve learning through self-motivation.

The new blended learning policy will change the Indian education system for the better. Teaching will become more student-centric and skill-based. In the blended model of teaching and learning, the role of a teacher changes from being just an education provider to a trainer or a guru. As teachers and students both work beyond handing over/receiving degrees, it will enable the future students to create a new knowledge sphere and become tech-ready citizens. It will also prove to be cost-effective for an educational institute and enhance its reputation. In a nutshell, blended learning is one step forward towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.