Making Education Learner-Centric

Atanu Dey writes about moving away from a teacher-centric model and re-inventing education:

So what is a learning-centric model? First, the active agent in this is the student. The student asks the questions and the student answers the questions. The questions come first, and then the answers, which in turn lead on to more questions, and so on. The motivation is therefore in-built. Second, while the destination could be set externally (you have to master this amount of material), the path that the student takes to get there and at which pace is entirely unique for every student.

Thus the learning-centric model recognizes these two basic truths: that the universe is connected, and that every student is unique. The model makes available to the student a very rich, deep, and connected set of content which the student navigates through a process which can only be called discovery. Although the basic material is accessible to students is common, the path that a specific student takes is unique to the student. Conceptually, the content is a fully-connected network which can be traversed in a potentially infinite set of ways. One can start from any one of a very large set of nodes, and then move from one node to another till entire structure has been visited. I will go into the details of operationalizing such a model later but for now allow me to illustrate it.

On the way to school, the student sees a beautiful rainbow painted by a passing rain shower. Upon arriving at the school, he looks up “rainbow” in the online School-in-a-Box (SiaB). The system responds with an image and some text explaining what a rainbow is. That explanation refers to a small set of concepts, from internal reflection of light to the physics of optics to refractive index of various media to rain to the hydrological cycle to weather to monsoons, and so on. The student can then choose to move on to the nature of light and watch a little video of how light passing through a prism separates the various frequencies. Or, related to rain, the student could hear a poem by Tagore read by a gifted actor, and read a critique of the poem and thus move through the content at a pace that suits him and as his spirit moves him. Starting at the rainbow, the student could end up learning a number of physics modules, or metereological modules, or a few literature modules. From time to time, the student could take “challenge” tests, which examine the understanding of the student, following the browsing.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.