The unforeseen wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the ever-growing trend of Blended Pedagogy. It is ideally a formal education program where a certain part of the knowledge delivery and teaching is done via digital media. In this setup, students attend traditional classes combined with computer interaction.
Before we analyze how Blended Pedagogy is the ultimate Future, it is vital to know the feasibility and accessibility of the critical tool – the ‘internet’ in recent times. Internet penetration in India was marked at 45% in Jan 2021, where our country saw 47 million increased users between 2020 and 2021. In all India counted 624.0 million users in Jan 2021. These numbers are evidence of how quickly people are embracing digital technology and shifting to modern ways for the consumption of knowledge. However, we cannot overlook the situation of digital divide in our country. There are still a vast majority of people who are yet to be connected with online education. However, if government, industries, and institutions collaborate to take the torch of digital education even to the remotest corners, we can certainly overcome this issue.
At IIM Sambalpur, blended pedagogy had already been implemented in the form of Flipped Classroom back in 2019 to encourage students to move beyond the traditional learning method and adapt to a more practical way of learning. Students indulge in live industry projects, conducted in a blended mode right inside the class, with faculty members and industry experts. The executive MBA program 2021 launched in a blended mode for working professionals, is yet another exemplary instance of adapting to the current digital trends.
Dr. Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director IIM Sambalpur shares “Business education in India needs to move towards innovation in learning pedagogy and research. It needs to orient more towards the application and creation of business rather than information and understanding merely. For this, we launched the Flipped Classroom in 2019 - a blended learning model which combines the advantages of both online and traditional classroom education. Further, the newly launched Executive MBA Degree Program 2021 to be run in blended mode (mostly online) for working professionals is another step towards fostering new-age leaders and entrepreneurs. The program will emphasize people management and digital transformation. The program will benefit those having a strong entrepreneurial mindset and leverage upon various Government of India initiatives like Make in India, Atma Nirbhar Bharat, and Start-up India.”
While the universities across the globe continue to invest in blended pedagogy, it all boils down to the students and teachers - how best they can make the most of this new-age method of learning. In the blended mode, there is no restriction to the number of students and people from even the remote parts of the country are attending classes. It also provides students the freedom to grasp knowledge at their own pace and pause and revisit the sessions to understand the concepts more clearly. As the students are adapting to the ever-changing environment, it is equally critical for the faculty to leverage technology to the fullest. With the blended mode teachers have the added advantage of delivering tailor-made sessions to the students.
With perks of blended pedagogy being many, the future of education is bright indeed. As a live instance, the government of India has been a frontrunner in creating online education resources available at a click of a button during the pandemic. For Higher education, portals like SWAYAM, SWAYAM PRABHA, Virtual Labs, FOSSEE, E-Yantra, and Spoken Tutorial are being widely used by students and teachers across the country. Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Minister of Education, in one of his interviews with Business India shared there have been 120 crore page views on DIKSHA, 1902 courses developed on SWAYAM with total student enrolments of 1.63 crores. On SWAYAM PRABHA, 56000 total video views have been telecasted. These numbers are a clear mark of victory, and how the youth of India is all geared to consume knowledge through the digital mode.
In the times to come, blended pedagogy will become the “Always Normal” for the education sector. Educational institutes will play a pivotal role in promoting this mode of learning. At IIM Sambalpur, with innovation being one of our core principles, we will continue to invest in newer technology, adapt to dynamic learning models, and nurture leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset.