Online learning has been knocking on our doors since the 2010s. Existing learning systems at that time successfully prevented it until the advent of the pandemic. We clung to our educational systems because we regarded them as sacred and believed they would endure until the end of the world.
When the pandemic hit, we had to accept the new reality and stay inside the four walls. It opened the doors to great opportunities. The one that tops the list is online learning. Today, the lion’s share of the country’s population has access to online learning.
Online learning was unpopular in India until COVID-19. Teachers and parents thought online learning was ineffective and a waste of time. Digital gadgets were banned in schools as they were considered things that would steal our time. Not one soul had a flash of inspiration about how these gadgets could revolutionise our learning process.
When offline classes were reinstated by Google and Zoom meetings, the major problem faced by educators was digital illiteracy. The rulers of the classrooms had to capitulate in front of their students. Compared to teachers, students had a much higher level of digital literacy. It gave rise to an unprecedented situation that arose due to the hindsight of teachers. Many thought that there was no need to stay updated. Online classes only came to their full strength after most teachers had slightly achieved digital literacy.
The lockdown and confinement were putting a lot of students under emotional and mental strain. This made it hard for them to learn, think, and engage. Many complained that online classes were not effective and were not helping in their studies. Online classes become dull and tedious. Students were not motivated to take online classes. In offline classes, they always had someone to help and support them physically. When it suddenly shifted online, it became a kind of distance learning. Distance learning meant students needed to be more responsible for their learning. This made it hard for many students to catch up with their studies and assignments.
Teachers and students followed it as a ritual that was forced on them. Numerous students stopped attending online classes by the time the teachers’ lack of digital literacy was fixed. The absence of students made everyone think about the teaching approach taken in online classes. Everyone was forced to stay with the existing system because of the lack of alternatives. There was a void that required filling.
Candela Learnings has been aware of this serious issue from the beginning. We have been searching assiduously and continuously for a suitable substitute that could address the concerns with online classes. Through our research, we discovered that ”experiential learning” could be a viable alternative. Experiential learning is referred to as learning through action, experience, and learning through discovery and exploration. Students are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically. I