According to data from Unesco, one year into the Covid-19 pandemic led to close to half the world’s student population being affected by partial or full closures of educational institutions. This has given the global educational system a much-awaited jolt that is needed to modernize.
Due to the stay-at-home orders and business closures, there have been considerable technological disruptions in the educational and learning industry. The future for educational institutions is likely to present a blended and non-binary approach; an interesting mix of an online and on-campus experience for students.
That brings us to the question – Is experiential learning the solution?
In the current scenario, opting for experiential learning does offer some advantages.
Different ways educators can adopt experiential learning methods in a post-covid world:
Shift the focus from assessments to real-life problem solving
Paradoxically, examinations have always acted as a major barrier to learning. The question-answer way of learning is simply not the best way to grade a student, as in the real world curiosity and open-mindedness are rewarded. As Albert Einstein rightly said, “Learning is experience, everything else is just information”. In times like these, educators must create learning experiences for students that enable them to apply concepts. Internships, a semester abroad in a developing nation, or problem-based simulations are a great way for educators to create a holistic educational offering.
Immersive personalized short duration courses
The Covid-19 crisis has ushered in a lot of uncertainty in the job market. Therefore to maintain agility and to stay up to date with emerging trends, professionals, as well as students, may benefit greatly by opting for personalized virtual learning programs to scale up their skills. Quality virtual courses can be a great add-on to a university curriculum and can also cater to the unique demands of the student population.
Adopt practical learning methodologies in the classroom
Experiential learning is a method that is suitable for all settings and delivery modes – be it in the classroom or online.The scope of its activities can be wide-ranging. Practical ways for universities to adopt experiential methodologies may involve using chat rooms to discuss concepts, activity chunking, student-led learning, etc. Students could be asked to showcase their work through presentations, video submissions, or portfolios creating a two-way reflection channel.
That said, the move towards an engaging education system must not be stunted regardless of the uncertainties that lie in a post-covid world. Experiential learning should be plugged into blended and online teaching to induce engagement and foster holistic skill development. This will ultimately depend upon educators who choose to adopt innovative approaches that cater to the new world.