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Is Higher Education Necessary to Achieve Financial Success?

Perspective of a student –

During our childhood, we all must have heard from our parents and elders that if we study hard during our childhood, we will reap the sweet fruit of it during our later years of life, but we have many examples in front of us like Mark Zuckerberg who left the Harvard University without even completing his degree but still, he has a net worth of 10,680 crores US $. And one of the greatest examples will be of Steve Jobs, so today most of us will be proud and feel self-satisfied of having the latest model of i-phone with us but this couldn’t have been possible if back in 1997 a college dropout wouldn’t have “THINK DIFFERENTLY” approach and launched an entire series of iMac, iTunesiTunes StoreApple StoreiPodiPhoneApp Store, and the iPad.

Education is one of the important factors which might help us to decide our future goals and career paths to lead towards financial success in the future but it is surely not the most necessary component for creativity, innovation, and constructive disruption in society and most importantly for our financial success. The era of Industry 4.0 has demanded an immense need of technical skills which were not there in the existing fundamental formal education structure but since the New Education Policy 2020 came in, it signifies that how important IT and technical skills are, that the government has to include it in the basic curriculum of primary and elementary school children.

The current digital era has brought many new professions that do not require higher education. So even if we consider time duration of the long back but just recently a decade ago, people would have never believed that “vlogging” – making videos and posting them online – would be a future career option. Now, some vloggers pay the bills uploading YouTube videos alone which have given rise to an entirely new segment of “social media influencers”. Irrespective of whether you hold any degree or not it has no impact on your popularity.

Having a formal degree does not directly lead to a successful career. If we look into the current scenario most of the employers place a higher value on experience, which could mean volunteering, work experience, or general experience of life for selecting the best fit for their organization. With a mixture of skills, hard work, and luck, people will do just fine even without degrees.

Even in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a sudden higher drift in the demand of online Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning based technical and behavioral competency-based skill-courses which are quoted as vital to survive and compete in the current job market. As been quoted in one of the recent advertisements that to progress in career, continuous learning and skill-building are also important apart from basic institutional education.

One thing is also clear that most people do not land up working in their dream job aligned with their education even if they have enough skills for such a job or work. Intensive research should also be a mandatory part of the curriculum to reduce the current skill market gap and make our present and future workforce being ready for jobs in the upcoming digital era which will ensure financial stability along with a wider knowledge base as well.

As per an article in Financial Express dated December 26, 2018, India had only twenty- one thousand publications during the last decade which seemed to stand nowhere in the global mark. India holds its heads high in some of the key areas like traditional healthcare facilities existing in Ayurveda and other ancient histories. To survive and get successful in the current globally cut-throat competitive market, we should try to adopt an appropriate mix and balance of our ancestral knowledge along with adding technological aspects to the same.

And all these courses demand deep learning and research on the subject area which can be learned through various sources but just limiting ourselves to textbook knowledge or few restricted sources will never help us in attaining the right results rather we should focus more towards attaining a proper balance of theoretical knowledge along with practical aspect into the same.

So to conclude we can say that formal education should be made mandatory but then it should be flexible enough to let a student explore the creativity, innovation, and technological aspects of themselves. At IILM where I study for my higher education, the nurturing environment has given me the flexibility and freedom to choose from a wide array of electives and soft skills to pursue my passion and creativity and be future ready.

Author – Harshita Jain

MBA, Year II – IILM University Gurugram

 

 

Paradigm Shift in Higher Education

The unprecedented situation created by the global pandemic has put the spotlight on the education system. Most of the institutions of learning are moving to online platforms, and the focus has shifted to Digital Technologies in Education. The world is forging a new paradigm for learning.

The Pressure on the Indian Education System: As per AISHE portal of MHRD, in 2019 India had 37.3 million students enrolled in higher education, in 993 universities, and around 42,000 colleges and 10,700 standalone institutes of higher learning. Our current gross enrollment ratio from school to college is only 1:4, and this number for tribal areas is lowest at 1:7.

As per World Bank the world is in a learning crisis due to the poor quality of education. The current education systemin India is also failing to cope with the demands placed on it. 90% of the Indian universities are below par. How can we provide quality education within our limitations?

Tech in Education: Embracing technology to teach is the opportunity and the answer for the way forward. Technology in teaching has greater reach and here to stay. We in India leverage this push provided by technology to address the limitations of the pandemic. A session on zoom has a greater reach than a traditional classroom lecture. Online-classes and recorded courses will build on the current system. This will bring more quality control and outreach.

Online education is a paradigm shift towards blended education. Going forward, use of artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality will bridge the gap of synchronous education environments. EdTech will be data-driven, will use immersion technology, video content and allow for personalization and adaptive learning.

Skills vs Degrees: Degrees are not going to be important. Learning specific disciplines will lose focus. We will see cross-discipline, inter-discipline learning aligned to individual’s focus and needs. There will be close integration between academia and industry. As things change rapidly, every organization will be a learning organization. Corporate India is beginning to feel obsolete – it will need to help the employee to figure what to learn.

Self-Directed, Lifelong Learning:  We are evolving from specific degrees in specific time-frames to lifelong learning. Learning will be in blocks as when the individual requires it. The boundaries between discipline will blend and students will redefine their own purpose-driven program. Our understanding and expectations of what education is, will change accordingly.

People are by nature curious, with a desire to progress. The next generation of students will be self-directed. It will be the responsibility of the learner to be able to define their own path. This will lead to a focus on the accountability and responsibility of the student.

Our job as educators is in inspiring and keeping curiosity alive.

To know about how IILM is incorporating technology for virtual classroom delivery and inclusive education, please visit our website – www.iilm.edu

Simulation Games Enhance Learning Outcomes

The biggest challenge of our education system is to leverage the learning of concepts and theories with the use of modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all students that represent the reality of their future.

Most B-schools and universities follow a teaching style that is a blend of theory and practical. The traditional methods of teaching within the four walls of the classroom that include lectures and textbooks do set the basic foundation for a student. However, to attain the skills, which will be required at the workplace, these concepts have to be applied. The application of the learning will ensure that the student has been able to improve their critical thinking skills. The two years of PGDM should comprise of this blend of theory and practice giving the student a comprehensive curriculum.

Subjects like Entrepreneurship give the students ample opportunities to collaborate and work with peers. For subjects like this, the implementation of simulation is the best solution as it deals with the real-life application of the knowledge gained in the classroom.

What are the benefits of Simulation?

Simulations are games that follow a system or a phenomenon. The players are expected to achieve certain pre-specified goals and the environment of the simulation is pre-defined through algorithms and programming. The biggest benefit of simulations is that students get involved in playing the simulation and they consider it as a game or a competition in the real sense. In the process of playing the simulation, the students start applying the concepts that they have learnt in the classes. This provides them with an opportunity to find out how the concept actually works.

It is also the best way to implement Action Learning, i.e., learning by doing. These days, simulations are available online so they can be accessed from anywhere. Students can form teams and access the simulation from any part of the world. It also encourages more interactions among the students that set the platform for learning from each other. They can also afford to do mistakes and learn from it as the stakes are low and they have nothing to lose in terms of money or any other resource.

How to include Simulation in learning pedagogy?

Since simulations are beneficial for management students, it is imperative that it is included in the learning pedagogy. IILM has been implementing simulations in its UG as well as PG courses. Some of the key aspects that need to be considered for including Simulation in the learning pedagogy are:

  • Decide the learning objectives of the subject and check the relation between the concepts taught and the simulation game. There should be a perfect match between the learning objectives of the course and the skills that the simulation tests in the student.
  • The simulation game should be in a sequence. The sequence should move in terms of complexity. For example, a simulation may be played over 4 quarters and the decisions that the players have to take in the initial quarters should be simpler than the ones that they have to take in the later stages.
  • The class has to be guided by a coach who will channel the thoughts and ideas of the students. There has to be a little bit of hand holding in the initial stages of the simulation so that the students understand the process.
  • The coach can first give a brief synopsis of the situation in which this simulation is being conducted. If required, the initial stages can be demonstrated by the coach so that the students can follow his or her footsteps.
  • As the students play the simulation, the coach should encourage the students to think about their decisions and predict the consequences of their decisions. The coach will then have to connect this analysis with the learning objectives of the course.
  • The teams should be able to present their decisions and if required prepare a brief report of the simulation. The coach can then give their feedback so that the concepts become clear to the students.

In the present dynamic environment, the main focus of higher educational institutions is to enable student-centred teaching. This will be possible only when learning happens in an active and collaborative environment. The inclusion of Simulations in the teaching and learning of management concepts will not only make the students better learners but will also prepare them to face the challenges of the corporate world.

To know about other Management teaching best practices like case based learning, mentoring have a look at the following:

Business Case Studies – An Effective Teaching Tool

https://blog.iilm.edu/case-based-teaching-learning-management/

The Many Avatars of a Teacher – A Facilitator in Learning

What is the Mantra for right mentoring?

 

 

 

 

Higher Education: A Changing Paradigm

Introduction

The world of education has been ever changing and evolving. The unprecedented situation created by the global pandemic , Covid 19 has prompted higher education institutes to rethink yet again. Educators have been researching on the best ways to inculcate the appropriate skills in students and also making efforts towards bringing the best of talent to teach students. It is a difficult task to design a program that meets the needs of students who are from diverse backgrounds and ensure that they get the kind of education that fulfills their purpose and ambitions.

Teaching Pedagogy

Teaching pedagogies are being developed to include interactive and engaging experiences rather than simple dissemination of information. Earlier research suggests that the essence of teaching lies in the faculty’s ability to reflect on their style of teaching. Critically evaluating one’s own method of teaching by making notes and constant reflection may help faculty to improve the student’s “meta-cognitive awareness” and thus help him become a better decision maker (Cook-Sather, 2012). Education is being seen as a means to enable the student to be ready for the real world. Hence it needs to include more of practical application of concepts that provide students experiential learning rather than theoretical knowledge. Teaching methods have been changing from lecture method to flipped classroom, case studies, and blended learning. Technological advancements have enabled blended learning mechanisms where students can learn theoretical concepts through online lectures and use face-to-face class room interactions more effectively. Organisations like Adobe, Cisco and Microsoft, for their growth and high valuations, are investing in building education as a focused vertical and devising ways to help bring technology to the classroom. The idea is to use the classroom time for meaningful interactions. Many educational institutions advertise their tech- savvy classrooms with pride and showcase the flexibility given to students in completing the requirements of their curriculum.

Student Engagement

Student engagement was highly linked to campus life until now. This included all kinds of engagement – class room interaction, clubs and societies, participation in activities and contests, process of internship and placement services, sports and many more. All these are various ways by which a student’s personality takes shape, makes a student more competitive and responsible and helps in development of leadership skills. The process of engaging students is again being re-thought now to include same services online. Institutions have to use technology and deliver the same course and curriculum to the students through various available platforms provided by Microsoft, Google,  Zoom etc. However there is a constant evaluation of whether the students are truly feeling “engaged” or is it a one sided discourse which ends after a session.  The guidelines provided by Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (Kuh, 2001) are still relevant from the perspective of being assessed on learnings, value time factor and applying the learnings in their lives.

This continued uncertainty of Covid-19 has made educational institutions look at ways to “manage” the situation rather than reflect on the purpose of education.  In the absence of campus driven activities, student engagement is being looked at differently. The very nature of teaching and learning may undergo a transformational change.  Private colleges like IILM have created Undergraduate and Postgraduate Student Engagement teams working towards understanding the perspective of students and creating a schedule for engaging students. Focused group discussions are being done with students across campuses to understand what students are excited about and what are their barriers to learning and feeling engaged. Several inputs were shared by students which have been referred to here. Instagram pages run and managed by students wherein they can showcase their talents, writing blogs on previous trips made and their experiences, interactive webinars to hone up specific skills and inspiring lectures by industry experts are few of the ways that can promote learning apart from the focus on the program curriculum. The evergreen alternatives of having fun sessions that promote positive interaction, buddy programs for those students who have freshly enrolled in the system, and the joy of being rewarded by peers and teachers for various initiatives are always welcome. Students with writing skills can be prompted to run editorial columns/blogs/newsletters whereas students who are more adventurous can be asked to lead Instagram pages. Social media contests like innovative cooking, gaming and talent hunt are few which can grab their interests and make them feel engaged.

 

 

The Dilemma

There is a marked difference found in the offerings of distance learning and on campus learning’s’ which institutions were earlier using to differentiate as premium learning. Face to face interaction induces better comprehension and teachers can pull students into discussions, design activities for them and provide real time presentation opportunities thereby helping develop the complete personality of the student. A very obvious fact with the on-campus option has been the experience of the student life and its lifelong influence and networks. The thought and the fear of online education impacting the campus/classroom based training has been in existence for many years however it is only the current crisis that has made it look strong. The need for value delivered through sustainable student engagement in various facets and not just limited to academics will have a huge role to play.

Educational institutes will need to think beyond clubs and societies and show their creative side to win and sustain themselves in these uncertain times.  The question is whether institutes will go back to their earlier way of teaching, post Covid -19 or will be able to bring about a more permanent change in their approach to imparting knowledge and look at higher education as a changing paradigm. A lot will depend on how the situation shapes up, however we have to be prepared now.

 

Remedial Plan

Educational Institutes might consider restructuring their current curriculum in order to plan for blended learning.  A combination of online education along with class room teaching would gradually gain importance wherein students can learn the theoretical concepts online, but still have face to face classroom experience wherever necessary. Choosing the right online platform from among the list of options available is also an important factor that will help the institute connect with students and provide different and interesting modes of course delivery and thereby engagement with students.   Maintaining high standards of quality education under all circumstances along with an element of differentiation is a must to create a platform for the institute and to attract students. Overall, institutes will require to rethink their current strategy and approach in order to sustain in this uncertain environment.

References

George D.Kuh (2001) Assessing What Really Matters to Student Learning Inside The National Survey of Student Engagement, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 33(3), 10-17, DOI: 10.1080/00091380109601795

Cook-Sather, A. (2012). Lessons in higher education: Five pedagogical practices that promote active learning for faculty and students. Journal of Faculty Development, 26(1), 33–39.