The National Education Policy 2020 has put great emphasis on research and industry integration by higher education bodies, keeping in mind the relevance of multidisciplinary education.
This certainly would lead to an evolution of management education as well, since it has a direct connection with the country’s economic factors.
Needless to say, in the current academic scenario, the approach of management education is directed towards nurturing critical thinking, communication, leadership, integrative thinking, holistic understanding etc.
Though the pandemic has made us comfortable with online classes, it is not just the digital format that we can look forward to. One thumb rule would be to communicate more with our students to build a strong leadership foundation. With an alternative between offline and online mode, it is much better that we design a hybrid learning environment in the long run.
Precisely defined, hybrid learning is a novel way of combining technology with the physical classroom for efficient time management and optimum learning outcomes. Living in a technology boom era makes it imperative for higher educational institutions to adopt this phenomenon and also cater to the gap of skill shortage seen in the corporate sector. To achieve this objective, the classrooms need to be upgraded for a better audio-video setup, wherein students can join from their homes also. Faculty would need to adapt themselves to the relevant technological platforms to deliver blended learning. Activities best suited to the management classrooms like group discussions, scenario handling and role-plays need to be incorporated in the hybrid model.
Digital is the new buzzword. Digital literacy will drive the educational learning environment today and tomorrow. But the concern related to privacy is an ethical and legal issue that needs to be seriously addressed.
In technology-enabled learning, students can make use of Course Management Systems (CMS) or Learning Management Systems (LMS), online libraries, presentation software and spreadsheets. These CMS are suited for administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of education courses. They also assist in posting announcements, notes, handouts and other correspondence. With a colossal increase in smartphone users, students will be required to update their IT skills for better learning. There has also been a spike in the usage of cloud computing technologies for a faster and cheaper learning experience.
Apart from being a saviour during the Covid-19 pandemic, hybrid learning has the quality of inducing life into the topics of the syllabus. With videos and leader boards, it leads to a productive interaction amongst the students and teachers. The synchronous structure of the hybrid model initiates group tasks and discussions to motivate students to have analytical conversations. Another advantage of hybrid learning is related to students who are on their own when it comes to self-management. Independent learning provides opportunities for students to learn at their pace and comfort. Teachers get the liberty to optimize the resources as per their usage and create assignments for learners. They can even redesign their curriculum and pedagogy to facilitate weak students to overcome their shortcomings.
One major challenge to hybrid learning comes in the form of a lack of in-person human interaction and co-ordinating offline and online classes. A few focused measures could include setting the right semester goals with the class and reasonable expectations with the students. Course mapping will play an important role in monitoring and navigating the class with respect to the activities. The facilitator can identify the elements of the course that can or cannot be taught online. The assessment can also be digitally planned with a critical and thoughtful analysis of grades. A trial run before the start of a course in hybrid learning can be helpful in identifying the grey areas.
Today, management education is effectively driven towards the integration of online and offline learning. With the Covid pandemic disrupting education, it is hybrid learning that has come to the rescue. It has been particularly true in the case of management education. With the target of instilling technical and conceptual skills in management students, hybrid learning has been extremely useful. It has ably run the show during Covid lockdowns and also helped in skilling the learners. To sum it up, hybrid learning has made a substantial contribution to the management stream and it certainly builds up the momentum in shaping the future of students.