All over the world, in ancient times, the seeker/learner went to seek learning from the knowers.
At some point in history, the State took over education as a matter of public policy, and since then bureaucracies and politicians have been articulating policies and passing laws on matters related to education, but the critical element of ‘learning’ is often overlooked.
We are in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century, and the criticality of ‘learning’ , and especially higher order thinking skills and creativity is a sine qua non for flourishing and thriving in the emerging knowledge, innovation and sharing economy.
The Nobel Laureate in Economics (2009) Elinor Ostrom, established that resources held by a community can be better managed by the community itself,contrary to the well accepted ‘ tragedy of the commons’ proposed by Garrett Hardin.
And learning and knowledge reside in the community of teachers and learners. They must reclaim learning and devise methods and models for its universal accessibility.
The first step towards this is to give recognition to independent educators, like lawyers, doctors and other professionals.
When Archimedes grasped the principle of the lever, he remarked that ‘ give me a place to stand on, and I can move the world’.
Today’s educator can teach anyone anywhere in the world with access to the Internet from a Smartphone, tablet or other handheld device.
A set of tools comprising e-mail, instant messaging, blog, YouTube etc. provide the full suite to connect teachers and learners.
The other important element of reclaiming learning is to emulate the Montesquieu model of separation of State powers into executive, legislature and judiciary. So teaching, examinations and a qualification framework can operate as separate entities, within the education eco-system.
The fatal flaw in our present model of education and learning is that it is driven by the authority of the State. As Henry Maine had stated in Ancient Law societies progress when they move from status to contract.
Today, we believe that authority (status) is being replaced by ‘data’ and evidence. This is reflected in the ‘Big Data’ and Learning Analytics that give insights for decision making.
Reclaiming learning therefore involves the interactions between the teachers, learners and content to create an eco-system that facilitates data driven inclusive learning, in a diverse cohort of learners.
The new approach called ‘Heutagogy’ involves managing the learning of self-directed learners and relies upon nano-learning, flipped learning, social learning and mastery learning.
The reason educators must reclaim learning is that ‘education’ is perhaps in the state when ‘alchemy’ transformed to ‘Chemistry’, and it is they who are in a better position to transform ‘learning’.
If we feel overwhelmed with the challenge, I want to draw support and inspiration from a quote from Margaret Mead who said ” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
I am sure that you are the group Margaret was talking of.
Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation.
Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s.
He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era..
Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada.
He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published.
During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management).
With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT”
Prof. Pant is presently;
• Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education.
• Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan
• Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education
• Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT
• Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training
• Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education.
Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ;
• Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms)
• One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University
• Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
• Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association
With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.