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Digital learning is an advanced technological medium but it also provides the learners with a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to study at any time from any place at their own convenient speed without worrying about timetables and schedules.
In this ever-growing digital age, an increasing number of students are slowly but steadily moving towards online digital courses in almost every field including technical education and training (TVET), business, arts, engineering as well as programming languages and technical tools. Online digital courses are also known as eLearning and digital classrooms, These are coming up rapidly in all streams around the world, and the learners are eagerly filling up the seats.
Not only is digital learning a vastly advanced technological medium but it also provides the learners with a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to study at any time from any place at their own convenient speed without worrying about timetables and schedules.
The students, for the first time, also have the liberty to choose what they what to learn and what they don’t. This advantage has made digital learning hugely popular, not only among engineering students but also students involved in many different fields. There are a few basics which, when applied to digital learning classrooms, improve student engagement as well as their interest. These basic principles are applicable to all kinds of digital learning courses.
A study that throws light on the potential of ICT for innovative pedagogies in TVET, describes what an organization must do to move from one stage to another in the four key domains;
- Leadership: Strategic and organizational readiness depend on the school leaders’ level of ownership and influence, the focus of ICT implementation, the level of engagement of students, staff and partners, and the processes for ICT implementation to support learning. For example, the focus of ICT implementation is at the ‘foundation’ level if it is driven mainly by technological considerations; ‘emergent’ if driven mainly by curriculum and pedagogical considerations; ‘innovative’ if it is also informed by learning theories and research findings; and ‘transformative’ if it is improved by reflective practices within the organization.
- Teacher: Pedagogical readiness relates to the teachers’ ability to design ICT-enabled learning experiences, the focus of schools’ professional learning strategy and the breadth of learning communities the teachers are involved in. For example, teachers’ ability to design ICT-enabled learning experiences is seen as at the foundation level, if teachers are only able to use tools and learning resources to support flexible, self-directed learning; emergent, if they are also able to adapt technologies to support active, participatory learning; innovative, if they are able to also adapt technologies to support and monitor collaborative learning; and transformative, if they can also transform learning experiences through lifelong and reflective learning in a real-world work context.
- Student: Learner readiness can be demonstrated by the level of higher-order thinking that is facilitated by ICT, the level of ICT-enabled learning, the type of learning that is supported by the use of technologies and the extent of student involvement in curriculum and learning activities facilitated by ICT. For example, students’ ability to use ICT tools is considered at the ‘foundation’ level if they have basic ICT skills such as use of office applications to support their learning; ‘emergent’ if, under their teachers’ guidance, they are also able to select and use appropriate ICT tools for learning; ‘innovative’ if they are able to exploit the features of ICT tools to enhance their learning; and ‘transformative’ if they can transfer current knowledge of the use of ICT tools to the learning of new technologies to enhance their learning.
- Infrastructure: Technical and operational readiness can be measured in terms of students’ access to ICT resources in digital spaces, the physical setup of learning spaces, the availability of ICT systems and tools to support learning and the availability of an IT Helpdesk. For example, students’ access to ICT resources is considered at the ‘foundation’ level if their access is limited to the use of schools’ network and computing devices in fixed venues; ‘emergent’ if their access is supported by ready availability of computing devices and wireless connections across the campus; ‘innovative’ if ICT resources are also available outside the campus using students’ own computing devices; and ‘transformative’ if students’ access to a variety of ICT resources is seamless, anywhere and anytime within and outside the campus, because various technologies have been integrated to support teachers and students in using their own computing devices (including mobile devices).
- Theresa Thang Tze Yian and Jonghwi Park, Beyond Access: ICT-enhanced Innovative Pedagogy in TVET, in the Asia-Pacific, UNESCO 2017
Lucubrate Magazine January 2020
The picture on the top of the article: students using gadgets, elearning; harbucks (Adobe Stocks)