Can extracurriculars activities and skills really be taught online?



a person sitting at a table using a laptop: Can extracurriculars, skills and instruments really be taught online? Let's find out.


Can extracurriculars, skills and instruments really be taught online? Let’s find out.

Not so long ago, career fields were pre-decided by parents and teachers; either you can be an engineer, a doctor, a chartered accountant, or an MBA, this more or less sums it up. Career choices like a chef, a chess player, a fashion designer, a painter, and even a ballet-dancer were thoroughly recognised and well-acknowledged only in the second decade of the 21st century.

What we are seeing in 2020 is that the adaption towards digital academic and skills learning has grown immensely across the country and globally. Even before the pandemic, the global e-learning market was already seeing massive annual growth.

While learning math and science online wasn’t taken seriously five years ago, today, online education is mainstream and rapidly evolving. The conservative Indian parents are now more comfortable and supportive of sharing laptops and tablets as they do accept now that education can be empowered through advanced technology.

Students today also have a stronger grasp towards e-learning, an in-depth and quicker understanding of all that has been taught to them. This also means that they are more committed, motivated, and willing to put in an additional effort to learn; e.g. it is easier to learn to play a musical instrument like a guitar or a violin online. The only mandatory requirement here is the hours of practice, which is being done.

The same applies to the learning different hobbies like pottery, gardening, yoga, cooking, and even calligraphy. For any learner – skills and hobbies are important and have to be measured with equal value in the given narrative of the graph of learning.

What is working here:

  • The availability of multiple programmes along with recognised experts in helping to choose and learn extensively; you can also learn more than one skill at a given time.
  • Accessibility to global tutors and courses which were unaware that a student could learn or need to learn as there were earlier unavailable around your location.
  • Gamification of learning is also a huge medium for peer-to-peer learning and competition, both. And this can be done across the country and globally since it is digital.
  • Record your performance, practice, replay, and revise, without a hassle. There is the flexibility of learning at your own pace and the comfort of learning from your home with comparatively less pressure.
  • Milestone-based learning is available, along with being able to share your skills and hobbies online for acknowledgment and recognition. e.g. creating your very own ‘Skill Resume’ online or mentor skill-specific groups.
  • Online programmes also give you multiple trial and error, research and development provisions; till you decide on your choice of skill.

What needs to be looked into:

  • The biggest concern is the exposure here; parents will have to be careful and will have to overlook what their child is doing as per their requirements and the student’s age-bracket.
  • Collective learning, peer-to-peer competition as times are not as effective as expected, constant monitoring will be required.
  • Most of the programs are learned indoors; hence the sense and the benefits of physical activity is lost, especially for outdoor sports.
  • Parents will have to do the base-work across platforms before enrolment; this is not about the investment in terms of money, but to ensure the right investment in terms of time.

With the New Education Policy 2020, learning extracurricular activities is now mandatory along with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning. The question here is how well it has been taught through e-learning? The Edtech companies today have managed to bridge this gap quite successfully; besides running their customised programmes they are also helping schools and colleges to adapt to them as well.

Students today are creating their avatar (video games), repairing gadgets, baking a cake, redoing the interiors of their rooms, and even learning Jiu-Jitsu (martial arts), all through a simple click.

What we are achieving here is the upward end growth towards the student’s learning cycle by mimicking the hands-on-experience and creating an element of curiosity by keeping the analytical skills and excitement in-tact.

We might not know what the future holds, but we can give the generations ahead of an environment where they have all the resources at their reach to keep learning new things as and when education evolves.

(Authored by Siddharth Marupeddi, CEO, ULearn)

Read: Covid-19 impact: Is it enough to simply introduce technology and infuse it into a current educational framework?

Read: Debunking five common myths about online-learnin

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