By Manish Upadhyay, Preetika Gupta & Nitin Mehra
Computers have significantly changed the face of education over the past decade. They have not just revolutionised learning methodologies, but have also changed the outlook of traditionalists. The classic learning methods of using blackboard, pen and paper, and books, have given way to an innovative pedagogical approachthat makes learning more effective and interactive.
Our research team has worked extensively in drawing a comparative study between digitised and non-digitised courses. The team found that the technology-driven (Edtech) programmes create a more conducive learning environment for learners with the help of unique and innovative learning tools such as student presentations, personality development training sessions, English-speaking sessions, games, quizzes and lab practicals. Learners get to participate in discussions and group activities rather than being mere passive listeners. The Edtech programme helps learners gain confidence and hone their technical skills by not just imparting quality education but also by conducting periodic assessments as a performance check.
Let us understand through this case study, and the ramifications of using the Edtech programme for increasing overall learning effectiveness.
Need of the Edtech programme
Though the non-digitised programme is well received and accepted, it has multiple constraining factors and variables such as quality of the trainers, standardisation of programme delivery (course coverage and abilities of different trainers), student motivation levels, and better performance. The new Edtech programme is designed to control and manage these variables in order to improve educational outcomes for all learners.
Methodology of the Edtech programme
The research was based onseven session out of the overall course content of 150 sessions. This particular course prepares students in technical subjects like networking and information technology as well as soft skills like spoken English and selfgrooming. After completing the course students get placed in various organisations as Technical Support Executives. To test the hypothesis, the research looked at four major areas of study namely:
- Skill (Technical skills)
Key Hypothesis to be tested:
Intervention of educational technology in the new Edtech course is resulting in increased learning effectiveness/student performance.
Two different groups were formed –
- Control Group (running the nondigitised course)
- Experimental Group (running the new Edtech course)
Student batches for the two groups were created on the basis of –
- Educational qualification
- Number of students
- Geographic location
- Family background
Other tools that were implemented –
- Same trainer conducted both the control group and the experimental group sessions.
- Each session duration data was gathered through centralised LMS by Liqvid.
- To measure student performance, knowledge and skill-based assessments were carried out at the end of each session and after all seven sessions for both the groups. Each assessment carried 10 objective questions. The questions were a mix of multiple choice and fill in the blanks.
- Learner and trainer feedback were also captured by means of a questionnaire.
Key findings of the Edtech programme
The key findings of the programme were based on four main output indicators:
• Indicator 1 (Improvement in course coverage by the trainer):
o 88 percent of the learners in the experimental group perceived that most of the sessions were covered end-to-end in comparison to a mere 33 percent in the control group. The trainer agreed that the study methodology in experimental group was more structured with use of timer in interactive activities.
• Indicator 2 (Clearer and effective presentation by the trainer):
o 88 percent of the learners in the experimental group said that use of audio and video in the sessions helped them comprehend much better and retained their interest in the course.
o 50 percent of the learners in the control group perceived that they were equipped to answer questions on at least 80 percent of each session taught whereas the same proportion of learners in the experimental group perceived it to be 88 percent.
• Indicator 3 (Trainer more interested and focused to teach):
o While the trainer took greater interest in teaching, 94 percent of the control group and 78 percent of the experimental group perceived that not all the topics could be covered in detail due to delay in starting sessions.The reason for delay wasscheduling of back-toback batches and finalising of labs to conduct practicals.
• Indicator 4 (Increase in student participation in the class):
o According to the trainer; the motivation level of the experimental group was 90-95 percent while that of the control group was 85 percent. Both the batches stated knowledge as the key source of motivation.Other sources cited were ambition and quest for learning something new.
o 94 percent of the experimental group preferred group discussion activity over individual presentations in comparison to 72 percent of the control group.This indicates that learners in the experimental group were more participative.
• Indicator 5 (Regularity in student attendance):
o No major inference could be drawn from the attendance data.
Outcomes: Knowledge (K) and Skill (S)
• Indicator 6 (Increase in student performance per session):
o The average score at the end of knowledge-based session assessments was 53 percent for the experimental group and 42 percent for the control group.
o The average score at the end of skills-based session assessments was 77 percent for the experimental group and 65 percent for the control group.
• Indicator 7 (Increase in student performance in the final assessment):
o The average score at the end of all knowledge-based sessionswas 71 percent for the experimental group and 32 percent for the control group, which is more than the double.
o The average score at the end of all skill-basedsessions was 75 percent for the experimental group and 71 percent for the control group. There is only a marginal improvement in the skill factor.
Smart Learning Techniques of the Edtech programme:
- The trainer asks three learners to come forward and give a presentation on the previous day’s topic. This is to know how much they have understood. The duration of the activity varies between 3-5 minutes.
- After the presentation is over, the trainer rates each student (on a scale of 5) based on five parameters: Knowledge (KN), Grooming (GR), Presentation (PR), Confidence (CF) and Language (LN).
- The trainer uses whiteboard as a primary teaching aid, but wherever needed, displays relevant procedures on a computer, which is projected through a TV in the classroom. The trainer also carries relevant hardware like motherboard for hands-on feel.
- Each session has one or more group discussion activity wherein each group discusses a topic. A group leader is appointed for each group who answers the questions asked by the trainer. The duration of the activity varies between 3-5 minutes.
- Depending on the content of the sessions, the practical/LAB sessions happen after every couple of sessions. Two learners share a terminal to do the practical.
- Learners attempt quizzes and assignments for each session in their books. It is either done either as homework or discussed in the class depending on the practical nature of the content.
Our education system is in a constant flux and those associated with it, whether learners or practitioners, should reap benefits from technology-enabled learning methodologies that give excellent performance support solutions. The Edtech product creates a motivating environment for both learners and trainers in the most effective way. Learners exposed to innovative approaches of study and practice will have better career opportunities as compared to those who simply reproduce what is given in their books.