Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Can online resources change how we learn?

Update : 31 May 2018, 04:00 PM

Bangladeshi education scores have risen above expected benchmark over the last decade. Thanks to our ministry of education – their efforts to raise standardized education for all has taken school goers and university students to a position of confidence. Text books, adequately learned teachers and institutions are the real heroes for the kids who will come through the next decades by bringing prosperity for the country. Although local education is standardized to a certain extent where propositions of our own cultural values and history are taught to learners, what can truly change their minds is learning what is not taught in schools using video contents, blogs, and news from the outside world. Our education system is based on standardized tests. Standardized test in reality only tests to how much someone remembers within a given time, usually three hours or less. The output of a student is based on the paper they submit which has to be concise and correctly written. What may astonish the teachers is that students often forget what was learned after the test scores are out. This also means standardized test only promotes general education and the number of graduates the nation receives every year – but what about the quality of graduates? Standardized testing is beneficial for the country if representing “numbers” satisfy the feel-good factor of our leader.

With the rise of information communication technology, learners can now develop themselves to the global standard – and they can do this on their own using online resources. The more connected we get with the outside world, the more information we get on what is really happening around the country and outside, and easily determine how people think. Knowing can give an edge – a competitive edge and “the mighty Internet” allow learners to do this for free. Waiting for the corporations of the first world to buy off this freedom is a sheer “bokami” and trust me nobody wants to be a “boka” these days. Not even a 60 year-old.

Learning online has evidently shaped how a person thinks and perceives – this is essential if global presence is kept in mind. Fact is, foreign direct investments are expected to flow in various sectors of business and infrastructure and knowing that as a fact, opens scopes to tap into with an equipped mind and a degree which can represent us more efficiently than our last generation.

Although standardized education is an effective learning method, there are now other ways to learn using visual and audio senses. On a study based on cognitive learning and its benefits, test participants were shown a video which demonstrates a simple task – tying knots. Results of this test show that in this immersive lesson, participants used interactive features like stopping, replaying, reversing or changing speed to adapt the pace of the video demonstration. This led to an uneven distribution of their attention and cognitive resources across the videos, which was more pronounced for the difficult knots.

With contents that are present in YouTube, anyone can perform an interactive learning session by taking time and repeating – they can master simple tasks and gradually harder ones. Content makers such as DIY Perks (Lets build it) provides creative ideas from do it your own circuit board to laptop screen replacement and even cooler mods for computer using rope and wood. Another content maker, Vox, analyzes almost every issue from current politics to music. Such contents are simply made for the viewers with an easy tone of voice for clarity of understanding. What it essentially does is it revokes our local media by using a perspective of neutrality and it’s important to have that when everything we learn from our own media is biased and political. Learning news from the outside world is also a part of learning that learners shouldn’t miss out on. It opens up perspective. VICE-News summarized the biggest legal prostitution issue in Bangladesh. Growing up in Dhaka, I never knew women and children in Daulatdia – a village in the Rajbari district, which is the largest brothel in Bangladesh – suffer immensely due to the legality of such institution and it’s funny that we were not taught of the suffering in the lives of women and children. With issues as such there can be newer polices on safety and health of those lives – research papers on how much money is circulating in criminal activities opening more scopes to study and action plans to recover.

There is a saying, “learners of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.” Demographic study between different times of our history as Bangladeshis will suggest there are more uni-goers now than ever before. In comparison with our history of 47 years as Bangladesh, there is now a surplus of uni-goers than the last two generations or even when our prime leader was ruling. The elders of our generation have finally agreed that the new kids in their block may supersede them in multiple aspects, be it science, tech, development, cultural studies – anything. E-learning is a mighty god and e-learning lets you learn through the major sensory parts – visual and audio. 

Thus promoting e-learning within individuals, if not through institutions, is ideal to proceed towards 2020. Dismantle what is already known and find the unknown. Theorize this and put it in practice. Create a rippling effect amongst groups of people who are willing to foresee their future as a learner. Think about learning as an industry and how everyone can benefit from fact analysis, informal debates and discussions. Come up with your own “food for thought” and discover what’s not taught in a standardized setting through discussions with similar and non-similar minds. Watch videos that are of interest and read about it. Let your organic self grow within your groups of friends and see what they bring in when you challenge their thoughts and ideas. 

Discover what is not found by you and let it all soak within. 

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