Indians were the first to use the number ‘0’ in arithmetic calculations. The decimal system and trigonometry originated in India. We were also the first to estimate the value of Pi (π).
With such a rich heritage, one would believe our education system is well established and strong. The reality is a bit different though.
While India can claim to have produced some of the brightest minds in the world, it is also home to students who cannot even form a single sentence in a second language in primary school.
The roots of this system can be traced back in the past – in the method.
In the era of dynasties, people dedicated their lives to learning. Education was imparted at a Gurukula – a residential learning system where many Shishyas (students) lived with their Guru (teacher).
This paved the way for the ‘one teacher for many students’ format of teaching that is followed in schools and colleges till date.
Pitfalls of classroom learning
While the traditional learning system is time-efficient, the quality of knowledge imparted depends on the teacher’s own knowledge and ability. However, it doesn’t factor in the fact that every student is unique and learns differently. Pressed for time, teachers are largely unable to personalize their teaching to the needs of their students.
The average Pupil-Teacher Ratio in India stands at 24:1 for primary schools and 27:1 for secondary schools. In extreme cases, this ratio is as high as 100:1. The average classroom session stands at 30 to 40 minutes in schools and 50 to 60 minutes in colleges.
The disproportionate availability of resources, study material and infrastructure is another issue. Compared to their urban counterparts, teachers in rural areas are often limited in their ability to teach effectively. There is thus an imbalance in the learning of students in different areas.
Additionally, the best educational institutes that can offer all the above, are geographically concentrated. Long commutes, steep tuition fees and fierce competition are some of the reasons due to which many students can’t access them.
The advent of personalized learning with technology
Indian education is slowly embracing a tech-enabled approach to learning. There is growing focus on the need to personalize education for students. This is imperative when you consider how many we have in India.
Today, India has over 400 million children in the school-going age group. 250 of them currently go to schools across India.
At its core, personalized learning is a methodology that factors in the strengths, weaknesses and learning ability of individual students and allows them to study at their own pace.
Here’s how this works.
Every student’s individual learning ability is taken into consideration.
Students are then given a personalized learning plan; where they set goals, make plans to achieve them, learn the required knowledge and apply that knowledge at regular intervals.
Their performance is regularly analysed, based on which they are given regular feedback to facilitate improvement.
At Toppr, we are using technology to personalize learning for students in India. We’ve have used machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to build an adaptive platform that can analyse user inputs and predict future behavior.
We’re using this to customize vast banks of quality educational content to the needs of every single student. As a result, they are using our adaptive platform to enhance the way they study and prepare for examinations.
This also benefits students in the below ways:
It allows them to study academic curriculum at their own pace
Students get the personal attention they need to alleviate their weaknesses and enhance their strengths. They are also able to make optimal use of their time and effort to achieve the best results.
They get to measure their progress
A goal-based learning system allows students to set their own goals and achieve them in a systematic manner. Daily assessments show students the areas they need to focus on. Feedback and inputs for improvement then help them turn weaknesses into strengths.
It keeps them engaged and motivated to improve
Be setting their own academic goals and pathway, students become participants and contributors in their own learning process. This keeps them motivated to put in the hard work and learn new skills.
Today, we are personalizing learning for over 1.8 million students in India across classes 5 to 12. Be it urban areas, villages or even the hinterlands, students can access quality education at the tip of their fingertips.
Knowledge is meant to be shared. Only by doing so can we truly liberate the future generation and help them reach heights we know they’re capable of.
Even if it means altering a tradition that’s stood strong for centuries.