Bridging the skills gap: Why experiential learning matters

Uma Ganesh | September 18, 2023 |

Innovation in education models supported by technology is crucial

Organisations are encouraging their employees to upskill themselves by providing them with tech led personalised learning. Aided by generative AI, learners are able to access curated learning assets that are matched with their interests and the priorities of organisations.

However, such training-learning equations are found to be sub-optimal in many instances as the germination and the urge for learning are of recent origin. Hence, the importance of setting up the process early in the school system taking advantage of technology to support flexible learning and sowing the seeds for lifelong learning.

Countries such as Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand and some states in the US have been experimenting with competence-based learning in the high schools and providing flexible learning options using technology. A country like India with 30% of the population below 18 years has to address the challenges of finding employment opportunities on the one hand and customising education based on skills and interests on the other. In this context, innovation in education models and alignment with the emerging avenues for livelihood and employment supported by technology assume urgency.

The vast content that is freely available on the internet and the increasing access to videos that are being generated are providing the impetus to learning. As a result, the exposure of children to innumerable subjects and stimulating their curiosity manifold from a very early age have become a feasible proposition. High school education in India has started providing students with skills orientation using hybrid models of learning and thus preparing them for vocational careers. We need to mainstream competence based learning in myriad fields and provide extended mentor circles and real life assignments in the areas of their interest.

Today with technology immersion in education, it is possible to provide experiential learning in a whole range of subjects and get students to assume ownership for their learning. This would help them not only in their career preparation process but would also sow the seeds for continuous learning and upgradation that are much needed to constantly reinvent themselves in order to succeed. The National Institute of Open Schooling instituted in 1989 is an excellent platform from which to leapfrog towards further innovation on flexible learning models. Time has come to widen its scope and become the cradle for reinventing school education that would keep pace with the demands for transformation of our nation.

We need to plan for several pilots across the country as the needs of different segments of our population and states are varied. Change in the established process of the education system is not easy, particularly with teachers. Therefore, we need inspired teachers to show the way to others in their fraternity on how to build new successful education models that would lay the foundation for the future of this nation.

Originally appeared in Financial Express