To empower India’s youth with the right set of knowledge and skillsets, the higher educational institutes have recognized the need to foster quality-based pedagogy and curriculum. The challenge lies in conceptualizing, designing and implementing this approach and curriculum to ensure the best learning outcomes.
The higher educational institutions offer the rite of passage for learners, from academia to the world of profession. These institutes bear the onus of preparing students for gainful employment. It is, therefore, worthwhile analysing the internal and external forces that act as an impetus for overhauling the present syllabus and teaching-learning practices.
Especially since the inception of online learning, there is a dire need for examining and updating the pedagogical approach and curriculum of courses in management institutes. Several important aspects of soft skills, teamwork, communication, leadership & problem-solving are becoming imperative because of the complexity of today’s corporate workplace. If we categorize the employability skills into two groups – soft skills and hard skills – the higher educational institutes need to work out a systematic plan to address them at the curriculum level. According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, 2016, organizations are looking forward to a cultural fit and team-based approach from the budding managers.
The change in the curriculum of management education started with an increase in the number of credits per subject. A restructuring was done to provide the students opting for specialization with entrepreneurial, global and technological interventions. The addition of soft skills related to managing relationships during teamwork was a breakthrough in the syllabus. The stimulus for this transformation is always student learning outcomes (SLOs).
The pedagogy considered was experiential learning based on the best practices and theories. For instance, to achieve active learning in interpersonal skills, students can first assess their own leadership skills by self-administered tests and gain awareness about how individual differences may affect their relations and teamwork with others. Presentation of topics in the class by students and engagement in role-plays can assist them in applying their skills to practical scenarios. Through experiential learning, students feel engaged not only physically but mentally. It enhances their understanding of the topic. The faculty tailors these lectures as per the classroom’s needs and provides a wonderful opportunity for students to focus on practical learning.
Due to the vast prevalence of technology, the latest concepts of blended learning and flipped classrooms are coming into existence. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the students to shift to online learning. The institutions are working rigorously to leverage Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Simulations and Serious Games. The curriculum is being embedded with project-based assignments and live projects.
Some of the relevant transformations in teaching pedagogy are listed below:
Blended Learning: An integration of classroom and online teaching, it provides space for using the class time for digital resources. In a flipped classroom, the teacher provides students with recorded lectures, videos, readings, open education resources, quizzes that students go through before coming to the class, so that classroom time can be used for discussion and interaction.
Building Knowledge Communities: Inspiring students to construct their own knowledge through discussion is the basis of this pedagogy. Learners should share perspectives and sources and develop their own repository of knowledge. The teacher acts as a guide, facilitator and assessor of their learning.
Usage of multimedia and open educational resources (OER): In today’s world, knowledge is accessible through short videos, animations, simulations, virtual labs, virtual worlds and other formats. Various e-texts available through open sources lower the burden of buying textbooks and allow timely and appropriate usage.
Student autonomy: Management students can learn more on their own. They prefer to be independent and want to access a variety of content based on their interest and sources of accreditation. With multiple needs, these learners are not content with just classroom teaching. Rather they want to go with alternate interpretations and sources of accreditation.
Flexible learning: Many foreign universities have set up e-textbook initiatives wherein they collaborate with major publishers to provide students with holistic resources which are online and accessible on all devices.
To sum it up, a decisive change can be expected in the teaching-learning arena. The combination of synchronous and asynchronous platforms are intended to enhance micro-teaching and thoughtful reflections by students for their own practice.