A Change Long Overdue
The pandemic has pushed educational institutes to adopt new learning approaches to cope with the 'new normal'. The need for transformation and overhaul of existing education practices was present long before the onset of the pandemic. Pre-pandemic there was already a widespread acknowledgement that traditional educational methodologies fail to connect chord with students, teachers and other stakeholders.
With the pandemic gaining momentum and the announcement of subsequent shutdowns there was a quick rush to "remote learning". Education providers were caught off guard and found themselves grappling with the new and profound changes they had to adapt to keep thriving. The translation from in-person instruction to online learning has not been a cakewalk for them. The current crisis has exposed their vulnerabilities but also presented itself as an opportunity to strengthen their education systems and accelerate growth. The aim is to not only cope through the existing crisis but also become equipped with the skills to succeed and proactively respond to potential future changes.
Education Providers face questions that need immediate consideration
how do I support my core stakeholders – students and teachers
how do I enhance my visibility and claim the market in crisis
Coping with Change
1. Design quality programmes and deliver quality learning experiences
Institutes must prudently invest in the design and development of customised courses and curricula tailored to the needs of different student populations that could potentially enhance their employability skills. There is no questioning the efficacy of face-to-face learning but with remote learning becoming the new norm efforts need to be made to make the courses accessible to students in the form of interactive and engaging online lessons. Again, online learning comes with its own set of challenges. So, institutes should support students in their digital learning journey to reduce learning loss and set up in place support systems adapted to the needs of online learners.
2. Equip Educators with technological and pedagogical skills
A crucial aspect for institutes adapting to change must also be to redefine the role of their educators and engage them as true partners in learning. Educators are already navigating the new reality of going from a physical setting to a remote or online platform. They need to be equipped with technological skills to support classes and exchange information and pedagogical skills to collaborate and have meaningful interaction with their students. Their ability to deliver learning using multiple modes (offline, online and blended) will have a significant bearing on both the individual and the institute's performance.
3. Teach Future Skills
In an ever-changing environment, young people require skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking essential to navigate this pandemic. These skills will also be a predictor of their success in future workplaces. Institutes must facilitate education and enhancement of these essential life and work skills. Not just students but educators too need to be trained in these 21st-century skills that will facilitate their personal growth and growth of their student community.
4. Invest in a robust online presence
Institutes are already exploring and experiencing new possibilities of doing things differently that will result in potential benefits. One such area is the investment in an online presence which has previously been largely untapped. The online presence will have considerable influence on how current and future students and other stakeholders develop an opinion about the institution. Institutes need to assess their competitive position and see whether the digital experience they offer caters to diverse groups.
Now is the time for education providers to rethink their learning approaches and reinvigorate themselves. They should identify areas of improvement and invest strategically in those areas. In these difficult and distracting times, they should consider the possibility of outsourcing and partner with education consultants who can offer expertise in expanding capabilities and enhancing profitability through transformative approaches.