Stating that one cannot stop learning as it is a continuous process and in order to enforce learning, the society needs to open and create spaces for learning to occur, science educator, entrepreneur and curator, Jaya Ramchandani while delivering a lecture on ‘The Pardox of Learning in The 21st Century’ at 11th DD Kosambi ‘Festival of Ideas’ gave an insight into how learning has evolved over the years and what needs to be done in order to not stop learning
Throwing light on the theory of how learning or the learning methods in the educational system evolved over the years, science educator Jaya Ramchandani while speaking on the second day of the 11th DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas said that several researchers have examined the change in learning methods. “In 1960s researchers discovered that the way of teaching was through positive reinforcement, reward and punishment, drills and practice and boring lectures. The assessment for the same was usually multiple-choice or writing examination. In the 1970s researchers thought that learning goes beyond the external, it is an internal process and depends on short and long term memory and therefore, the visual mediums like pictorial descriptions, maps, and diagrams made their way into the classroom. You could find more of visual tools that helped facilitate memorisation,” said Jaya.
In the 1980s, she said, they discovered that learning was an internal process which was based on personal experience and was best when it was active and social. “All the currents teaching methods are in this direction like discovery based learning, inquiry based learning, collaborative group work, problem-based learning and practical situation. This is also the phase when a major shift happened from learning just knowledge and content to learning skills,” added Jaya.
She went on to explain another phase of learning that came about in 1990s. It was discovered that the learners were self-directed and the learnt by making connection in order to understand the subject well. “The teaching methods that came about in the 1990s were informal learning, situational learning, and experiential learning. While the first two stages, 1960s and 1970s, were more of how the teachers taught and the next two were how someone learnt,” she added.
Mentioning that all learning one receives depends on the school they go to and the method they are being taught in, also the society in which they live has an impact on their thought process.
Giving a gist of how technology today is evolving and is making its way to the education system, Jaya mentioned about the robotics discoveries that are slowly replacing humans, she feels that if human beings don’t update to new methods and techniques then they are bound to remain backward but the other way to see the problem is to use these inventions for their own purpose to get things easy for themselves.
She emphasised on the importance of self-awareness. According to Jaya it is important to think big and think beyond disciplines for “People need to think out of the box. Think of the bigger picture. There are several issues that are coming but we need to think beyond the common. We need to encourage children to think independently and to make children realise that things exist on inter-dependency. Going deeper into things will give one a bigger picture of the topic,” she added.
Today there are several challenges and issues before the common man, and to tackle the various situations of the 21st Century Jaya suggested that one needs to introspect and find answers to why to learn, what to learn and what to learn for. “We need to first understand what is inside the education system and what can be done in order to improvise on the same. We should not replace it fully but work hand-in-hand to collaborate with new ideas and thoughts. For example in school if you see science exhibitions they always have the same models and experiments. There is a need to allow students to think openly upon what new can be done, either by collaborating with other departments or subjects,” she said.
On a concluding note, Jaya mentioned that there is a festival under the banner ‘The Story of’ (‘The Story of Light’ and ‘The Story of Space’) which takes place in Goa that gives creative minds an opportunity to explore their learning and encouraged people to participate in such festivals to keep learning new thing.