“Introduction of internet in learning was a pivotal moment”

Rohit Saha

Rohit Saha, Co-Founder, CollegeDekho, has over 20 years of experience across industries like telecom and IT. He writes about the disruptive technologies in higher education.

Technology constantly evolves. Every once in a while, a new technological advancement comes our way that does away with the previous practices and becomes the new norm. The field of education has gone through similar technological advancements over the years and the introduction of the internet in teaching and learning practices was a pivotal moment. Let’s have a look at a few disruptive technologies in the higher education space.

Online Learning: Online learning has been slowly gaining popularity. The pandemic merely hurried it along and now it is generally accepted as a viable alternative to traditional education. It holds many advantages over the traditional lecture formats. Video conferencing and video-on-demand streaming are some features that have ensured the success of online learning. It has revolutionized the way education is delivered and has made learning more accessible than before. Many students were unable to join their colleges abroad due to the pandemic induced travel restrictions and online classes allowed these students to still take up admission to their preferred colleges.

Chat-Based Collaboration: Even though online learning has proved to be a viable alternative to traditional education, it lacks peer interaction. Students need to discuss their learnings with each other and chat-based forums have helped in accomplishing that.

AI Learning: Research has shown that every student has a different capacity to understand various topics. What one student can understand in 5 minutes, the other student might need an hour. Artificial Intelligence Learning ensures that each student is able to learn at their own pace.

Interactive/ Digital Whiteboards: One of the biggest challenges that college teachers faced during the pandemic lockdowns was the lack of a board-like object to write down the highlights of the class. Interactive Whiteboards helped fill this need as not only did they work as a traditional blackboard but the digital nature of these boards ensured advanced features like pattern recognition capabilities as well. Pattern recognition helps the board convert handwritten text, shapes and drawings into digitally transmittable content. This is especially useful for engineering and medical classes in colleges.

Virtual and Augmented Reality: Both Virtual and Augmented Reality are relatively new technologies. VR can provide the best solution as it combines face-to-face interaction and online education in a vivid encounter. The biggest advantage of VR is being able to create any environment and make the learning experience very interactive. Augmented Reality (AR) mostly uses cell phones to add a layer of information to physical reality. AR helps add additional information that adds value to the learning experience. For instance, with the help of AR, a student can better navigate through a new campus or they can find additional information about a painting in an art gallery. The biggest advantage that AR has over VR is the lack of infrastructure required. These days most students carry a smartphone and that is precisely what is needed to implement augmented reality. VR on the other hand requires a VR headset which is not cheap. Even though most colleges are yet to implement both these technologies, there is no doubt that these technologies are the future.