Blended learning the way forward

Blended learning, also known as technology-mediated instruction, web-enhanced instruction, or mixed-mode instruction.

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We need to have very holistic education. Not many institutes are forcing students to go for digital. It is more of a hybrid education today.

The panel discussion on “How digital skilling and EdTech is complementing in talent transformation” featured Amit N. Kolhe, Managing Trustee, Sanjivani Education Society, Sameer Mathur, Founder and CEO, Redwood Learning, and Praveen Sirohi, Senior GM, Telecom Sector Skill Council. It was moderated by Shubhendu Parth, Editor, Voice & Data.

The lockdown has accelerated transformation, including education. We need to define digital skilling and education. Praveen said skilling is something where you give something required for industry. Education is all-encompassing. This includes practical and theoretical, and OTJ. People need to use that for the industry. Sameer said that there is a thin line between education and skilling. Skilling is required for outcomes towards end industries. Education is very important, and more holistic.


Amit said everything was closed down from where he was in Maharashtra, and it was important how you were prepared. Delivery of education through the digital platform is necessary. We made our own elements and put that in the platform. Digital skilling is the need of the hour. It is about getting acquainted with both the sides. Digital covers the entire gamut. Sirohi said we are a bit ahead in digital skilling. We need to convert that from EdTech to digital skills.

Sameer said that some, among universities, we felt they are apprehensive to use digital as a medium. Some large institutes are still not ready. Acceptance of digital is growing. It can act as a hybrid model to facilitate further learning. Cost of physical learning is still very high. Most felt that the digital learning outcome is about 10% than physical learning. EdTech is there to stay.

Sirohi added that technical skills are required. Success of digital lies more with technology. Rural may not have bandwidth. It is also connected with telecom. With 5G, more focus has started on private colleges. We have started 5G rollout in rural areas. It is in some areas. The industry still does not have enough skills. Government is serious about this. They discussed how we are going to fill up the skills gap. We are going to fill up the skills gap in 6 months. For pan-India, it may take around two years.


Next, how is technology driving skilling in rural areas? Kohle noted that we cannot have a replacement for education. Some engineers have gone for Coursera licenses. In emerging technologies, we adopted some courses from Coursera. They also trained our faculty on those domains.

Are we now doing the blending right, by placing technology before education? Mathur replied we need not copy others in all the parameters. We need to have very holistic education. Not many institutes are forcing students to go for digital. It is more of a hybrid education today.

Kolhe said the government has involved all educational institutes. In private sector, it has happened more in Tier 1 cities. The missing gap was filled by government. Acceptability may not come easily. Sirohi added that we need to see what kind of blended learning we are going to provide. Mathur noted that the main stakeholders in TSSC are 2-3 companies running the telecom networks. Sirohi said the operators are the owners. Most of the candidates also got placed with them.


If there is 10x change in the education sector, is the NEP built to meet the new era? Sirohi said education has not been adopted enough. We have made available the entire course. NEP has been prepared to also make the journey digital. We have solved one part of the problem.

How can we convert physical training to digital? Mathur said the biggest stakeholder are the academicians. They are here to help you. Similar resistance to change is also available among corporates. Learning outcomes have not been very successful in many cases. Kohle noted that we need to understand how NEP is going to be implemented. Digital is going to be there. UGC is saying we can have 40% of course on digital. Blended learning is perhaps, the way forward.

Sirohi said we need EdTech companies to use more of AR/VR. It has to replace the lab to digital. It has to be replicated. We need to have more digital labs. Mathur said any change is slow process, and should start from the top. Education institutes need to start with few projects where there is digital for about 30-40%, and the rest is physical. They also need to take care of security. Digital companies need not focus too much on being digital and jazzy. They also need to have stronger outcomes for learning. They can help us learn better with great content. Kohle said education institutes need to follow what has been set by the government. We also need to have physical sessions of some topics.