Future of Learning

All of us are experiencing uncertain times. We are anxious, concerned, afraid of what the future holds for us. This Covid-19 pandemic has brought in changes that we most unexpected, least encouraging. Among the worst impacted is the teaching-learning process and the teacher-learner relationship.

What is the future of learning? Many experts have already spoken out their predictions and prescriptions. I would like to share some of my thoughts on the subject.

The speed at which technology companies have responded to the changes caused by the pandemic has been awesome. Technology that was already advancing at a furious pace has gathered some more momentum and traction and has become all pervasive. It has an omnipresence, everywhere, everytime. It has impacted the education domain irrevocably. The learner today has a choice that was not available earlier. He has a larger water body to fish in. Call it online, digital, virtual or whatever. But the process of learning has changed.

The relationship between the teacher and the learner - which, in a physical classroom was that of a leader and the led - has changed and the teacher today has become a co-learner. He shares the same environment as the learner in which he is challenged to learn continuously to keep himself current and relevant. He has to share the same platform as the learner to draw out different perspectives and yet integrate everything into one whole. He becomes a life-long learner himself.

There will be many thousands more providers of knowledge. Content will be commoditised and standardised. It is the quality and standard of delivery that will differentiate one teacher from another. This is a challenge which every teacher needs to wake up to.

by Prof S Balasubramanian