In this modern age, young minds pick up new information faster through learning in digital environments. This is one of the pros of the internet realm and high-tech gadgets. Parents train toddlers (or keep them busy) with an iPad or mobile phone. Isn’t it surprising that students can learn everything about the Solar System through the internet without human intervention?
Our technology and the internet contain a large library of quality information. This information is highly accessible, up to date, and we can go back to it at one tap of a finger. Lastly, such technology is easy to use and acquire.
Don Tapscott, co-author of Blockchain Revolution and guest editor for the TheStar.com posed a very challenging thought:
The professors who remain relevant will have to abandon the traditional lecture, and start listening and conversing with the students. To begin, the mastery of knowledge (anything where there is a right or wrong answer) should be achieved by students working with interactive, self-paced computer learning programs. This can be done outside the classroom, freeing students and faculty alike to spend class time on the things that matter: discussion, debate and collaboration around projects.
The Digital Race
The fact is that we have already stepped into the digital world. How are our traditional learning platforms adapting?
The introduction of classroom-based courses to teach students how to use the computer and its many applications aren’t enough. Our learning systems need to leverage more on these technologies in delivering education. It is practical (almost everyone has access to it outside the classroom). Additionally, the preference of the younger generations towards the use of such technology is existent.
Computer-based Learning Earns Extra Score
Tapscott commented, “Computer-based learning for instance, can free up intellectual capital — on the part of both professors and students — to spend their on-campus time thinking and inquiring and challenging each other, rather than just absorbing information.“
The traditional learning system is stifling in a sense. The teacher or lecturer’s role is to give the information, and students just need to remember. Comparatively, the most successful lecturers apply creative teaching techniques, while the most ineffective are where you get a handful of handouts as your lesson for the day.
Education is so much more than the mere transfer of information. The information has to be assimilated. Students have to connect the information to what they already know, develop mental models, learn how to apply the new knowledge and how to adapt this knowledge to new and unfamiliar situations. – Eric Mazur, professor at Harvard University
Students thrive more in a collaborative environment. They can freely and creatively discover, apply what they learn, and have fun in the process. The traditional campuses need to promote this. Subsequently, the emergence of new classroom models that are slowly adapting computer-based learning is challenging our learning institutions. A reason why homeschooling and distance learning through online courses are now popular alternatives.
Don Tapscott furthered this notion by stating that, “If students turn away from a traditional university education, this will erode the value of the credentials universities award, their position as centres of learning and research and as campuses where young people get a chance to grow up.”
Read more at “Universities must enter the digital age or risk facing irrelevance” by Don Tapscott.