Future is here: The need for building cloud-based learning community

“The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation or context. Nothing more, nothing less. And they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner, not later.” -Dr Marcus Specht

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Cloud computing enhances learning while enabling sharing and collaboration. This innovative learning environment is not limited to a physical space but can be accessed in the comfort of one’s home. It is unlike classroom learning where the learners learn in the same environment with the same set of people at a specific time. Here the community is broadened and the learning is more dynamic.

A majority of people in India now can access the Internet, which is growing rapidly with a developing culture of WWW (Whatever, Whenever and Wherever). Our learners today are SMART (Systematic, Meticulous, Artistic, Realistic and Tactful) towards attaining the right kind of education. There is a gradual change in imparting education where there is an ever-developing culture of learning by doing. No doubt, the implementation of ICT based learning shall give a fillip to the required expertise in a big way. There is a requirement for dynamic ideas and opportunities which demand investments towards infrastructure, knowledge hubs and teaching skills. There is a growing need for a knowledge hub in the country which is at par with the Foreign Universities. What is needed is a knowledge society integrated with a guild of learners and lecturers at a common wavelength.

The application of novel modules integrated with multimedia-based packages and content enables new learning for 21st Century internet users. Learning should not be restricted to memorisation of content. The Indian learning scenario needs to be focused on the process rather than the outcome. The focus should be on allowing different perspectives of thought and internalisation of knowledge related to a subject. Taking it one step further is the collaborative model which incorporates a team on a “hunt” for information forming a conclusion based on personal and shared perspective (synthetic learning).

Teachers are no longer the sole imparters of knowledge. They need to empower the students to learn at their pace and leisure through personal learning networks in congruence with their special traits and interests. The teacher’s work doesn’t end in the four walls of the classroom but they are accessible through social learning networks. The innovative educator has to evolve a personal learning network for his or her improvement first, which reaches the students as well. It is a way to build one’s own classroom and one’s own network of learning.

The new and update learning scenario has a few requisites which are:
• Providing access to quality education that is practical, relevant, customised and effective.
• Adopting innovative ways (tech-based) to allow opportunities for education to all.
• Bridging the gap between education and employability.
• Promoting social equality/economic viability.

In cloud-based innovative learning, the community is diverse and the learning can be spectacular. Here the teacher is the one who is concerned, as he/she will get engaged and involved in the conversations as a leader or a facilitator. And this makes the Indian Education System more challenging to face the 21st Century learners who are fertile with knowledge and come to classrooms to route their intelligence and explore collaborative learning.

As we use the power of Amazon Kindle, the pride of Google, the strength of Gmail and the beauty of connectivity via FB, Twitter, LinkedIn or even sound cloud, there is a continuous march towards new technologies and solutions to enhance the teaching-learning process. For schools to progress, the options are unlimited with a wide spectrum of technologies.

Dr. Dheeraj Mehrotra is an expert in Six Sigma In Education, NLP, Experiential Learning and TQM in Academics as a coach and a practitioner. He has published over 40 books in the field of academics and has trained over ten thousand teachers during his 27 years of working. He has also been listed in the Limca Book of Records and INDIA Book of Records for developing 150 apps. He is an active TeDx speaker and UDEMY premium instructor. He has been honoured with National Teacher Award in 2005.