Reality check on future of learning post Covid

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 00:00 |
An empty classroom with desks arranged one metre apart according to Covid-19 protocols. Photo/COURTESY

Joshua Basilio 

Education is one of the key pillars of development in any country. The main motive of education is to impart knowledge to all learners in a well-defined curriculum. 

However, with the emergence of Covid-19, education and learning seems to have been highly differentiated and it is important to understand the meaning of the two and look at the future of both.

Jeff Cobb, a renowned author of the book Philosophically Speaking defines learning as “the lifelong process of transforming information and experience into knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes”.

 According to him, education is just a small component of learning. In this sense, education and learning are related. 

However, learning is much broader and does not necessarily dwell on acquisition of knowledge and skills, but emphasises on lifelong transformation.

This clearly denotes that learning starts way before we enter education institutions. 

In the pre-Covid period, learning and education seemed to have been equal because learning was synonymous with being physically in school.

Online learning was a rare item, especially for secondary and primary school children. In fact, it was almost inconceivable to imagine that learning would happen at home. 

Following the spread of the pandemic, schools adopted online learning through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom.

Many online learning systems started to emerge with some stand-alone learning platforms while others came in as complete Learning Management Systems (LMS), incorporating distance-learning modules.

Of all the systems sampled in the market, LMS offer a very comprehensive approach; similar to web-based platforms for the same category of users. 

Covid-19 has formalised homeschooling for basic education. A keen look at the curriculum that was proposed for Community Based Learning, shows that the crisis has ushered in a complete transformation in the education sector.

Some of the areas of emphasis are entrepreneurship, financial management, innovations, design thinking, coding and programming, whose intention was to create self-reliant individuals from our learning undertakings. Through the LMS, pupils have also expanded their learning skills.

The big question remains, “what is the future of learning in Kenya post Covid-19?. 

Teachers should be more innovative in delivering content to supplement physical learning.

Additionally, the government ought to play a bigger role in policy-making and quality control and leave the management of schools to private entrepreneurs to enhance growth and quality.

Examination bodies will also need to find new ways of assessment. Exams will change in terms of both the nature, content and management.

This will eventually digitise the learner’s portfolio and keep a long-term stage-by-stage performance record of the learners. There should also be a consideration of digital libraries.

As part of making learning truly transformative, some old learning areas will start to fade.

Key areas to watch will be financial management for youth, entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking, coding, photography and videography.

Enhanced parent-teacher school engagements should replace a diary that only communicates after the pupils reach their homes. 

In conclusion, learning will change drastically. This is not just in learning institutions but the same dynamics that apply across various sectors, business lines and even the social or nonprofit-based institutions.  —The writer is CPF Group Head of Special Projects and Innovation

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