25/06/2016 12:04 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Breaking Down The Walls Of Classrooms

India, Rajasthan, two young boys using laptop computer
Adrian Pope via Getty Images
India, Rajasthan, two young boys using laptop computer

Education is a process of learning to learn. As civilizations are progressing at an exponential rate, we must ask ourselves a very fundamental question. That question is whether our methods of imparting learning are changing as fast as the attitudes of young learners towards learning. Socrates, one of greatest philosophers, once said, "I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think." The true success of any education lies in its ability to shape minds. A system of education which does not invoke curiosity of learning new things soon becomes defunct.

We have seen and talked enough about "out of the box" thinking. Now let's prepare the future generations to become comfortable with "out of the class(room)" thinking.

We are living in times where learning has become an indispensible part of progress and growth. These are times where nobody can afford to claim that his or her education has completed. New challenges for tackling everyday issues are emerging rapidly and they call for continuous upgradation of skills. Whether it is work or home, our accepted methods of solving problems are proving to be insufficient and at times inappropriate.

So, what changes are essential in our current education system so we can meet the need of continuous learning? Well, the most urgent change which can transform our current education systems has to come in the form of integrating tools of flexible learning into formal mechanisms of school education. We must start appreciating the value of self-paced complementary methods of learning at every level.


The best way forward, therefore, is to design curriculums with a judicious mix of offline and online courses. Traditionally, educational institutes have been providing learners with flexibility in the form of a choice of elective courses. Several world-class institutions have spearheaded this form of openness in education in the past few decades. Some have incorporated flexibility in the form of student and faculty exchange.

But now the time has come to rethink this model. In fact, the time has come to provide outside the boundaries of educational institutions. The curriculum of the future must provide learners with flexibility to choose from courses available online through MOOCs platforms. This in turn will enhance learners' potential to engage with courses of their choice and interest. Learning is also a state of mind. Given the choice to learn what one likes increases the curiosity to know more and more in the area of one's interest. Great educational institutions of the past were those who had phenomenal people and processes that facilitated exploration and knowledge creation. Although the core principles of achieving excellence will remain the same, the measures of success will undergo enormous change in the coming decades. This change process will be very difficult. But institutions which are willing to accept this unprecedented and disruptive change can meet the expectations of modern learners who see more value in the virtual world.

Online supplements to classroom teaching have the power to clear mental blocks and beliefs which might be stopping someone from approaching a new area of learning. That's exactly what tomorrow's education must aim at; breaking barriers to new thinking. It's a daunting task to shake our deep-rooted ideas about how learning should take place. But the sooner we get to work the better will be our chances to cope with the rising demands of adapting to a whole new world.

We have seen and talked enough about "out of the box" thinking. Now let's prepare the future generations to become comfortable with "out of the class(room)" thinking.

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