Autonomous Self Learners:

Backdrop: 

We are in the midst of two great revolutions: the 4th Industrial revolution and the 4th education revolution, and the young have to be prepared to prosper, flourish and thrive in a VUCA ( volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous ) future. 

This is not a program for the faint hearted, who treat learning as a spectator sport, for which they get admission tickets or the regular straight jacketed person. It is designed for those who do not want to limit their education to the most traditional established path, but for those who treat an uncertain world as an exciting one. In the spirit of Isaac Newton who said ‘I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I am a like a child on the seashore, looking now for a smoother pebble or a prettier shell, while the whole ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me’. For this they should be prepared to see further than others by standing on the shoulders of giants.

And Richard Feynman’s enthusiasm for finding out how the world works.

We draw upon the work of Everett Rogers on diffusion of innovation, to address the early adopters that typically comprise about 13.5% of the population. So, we are addressing to the needs of about 15% of the learners in the 14-18 years age group.

The late majority and laggards that comprise 50% of the population, will like others before them go to Kota, Aakash and other such Exam prep Institutes and pursue UGC-AICTE recognised Universities whom our Bharata Ratna Prof CNR Rao has said that 90% have out of date curricula and many modern educators think have teaching practices out of sync with the modern day world of Bootcamps, MOOCs, Hackathons and Meetups.

The 15% or maybe more (upto 30%, including half from the early majority segment) that we believe will benefit from this program are not necessarily those who are getting the top scores in the curriculum subjects, but those that display attributes for flourishing and thriving in the 4th Industrial Age.

This journey of coming of age begins with the following set of 4 weeklong courses:

WLL01: Learning with WhatsApp, other Mobile Apps and MOOCs

WLL02: Dispositions for success

WLL03: Learning Agility

WLL04: Getting a world class education in your hands

Having pursued these 4 courses over a month, the learner is ready for a personalised mentoring program.

WLL01: Learning with WhatsApp, other Mobile Apps and MOOCs

This course helps students and professionals to learn whatever they used to learn in a classroom environment but, in a different style with abundant online resources. It requires certain preparations by understanding the big picture of online remote education worldwide. The flow of contents during a weeklong study are as below;

Monday, Day 1: Learning with Whatsapp 

1.1: Why Whatsapp?

1.2: Features of Whatsapp that make it great for learning 

1.3: Techniques for learning effectively with Whatsapp 

1.4: Lifelong Learning with Whatsapp

1.5: Learning Artificial Intelligence with Whatsapp

Tuesday, Day 2: Learning with mobile Apps

2.1: The benefits of using mobile Apps for learning

2.2: UNESCO mobile learning initiatives

2.3: Bloom’s Taxonomy and mobile Apps

2.4: Characteristics of a good educational App: How to choose an App that is effective for learning 

2.5: Pursuing MOOCs through Apps.

Wednesday, Day 3: Specific Learning Apps

3.1: How to choose a good Learning App?

3.2: YouTube and other educational videos

3.3: Duolingo for language learning

3.4: Khan Academy for Maths and other subjects 

3.5: Grammarly and Turnitin for better writing in English

Thursday, Day 4: Learning with MOOCs 

4.1: A quick history of MOOCs 

4.2: Coursera

4.3: EdX

4.4: Futurelearn

4.5: Learning with SWAYAM:

Friday, Day 5: Leveraging AI for better learning 

5.1: Converting Speech to Text

5.2: Using Text to Speech

5.3: Benefitting from Machine Translation 

5.4: Using Google Alerts

5.5: Using YouTube recommendation engine to access personalised content


WLL02: Dispositions for success:

Day 1: Are there common factors for success ?

Topic 1.1: What is success ?

Topic 1.2: Varieties of successful persons

Topic 1.3: Success at different stages of life

Topic 1.4: Standing upon the shoulders of giants 

Topic 1.5: Dispositions of successful people

Day 2: Becoming an autonomous Learner

Topic 2.1: What is learner autonomy?

Topic 2.2: From do it yourself ( DIY) to learn it yourself ( LIY) 

Topic 2.3: The process of self-directed learning

Topic 2.4: Learning skills at each level of learner autonomy

Topic 2.5: How to develop learner autonomy 

Day 3: Paradigms, mental models and mindsets

Topic 3.1: Paradigms

Topic 3.2: Mental models 

Topic 3.3: Grit, perseverance and tenacity

Topic 3.4: Fixed versus growth mindsets 

Topic 3.5: Gardner’s 7 levers for changing minds

Day 4: Habits that drive success:

Topic 4.1: Stephen Covey’s habits of successful people

Topic 4.2: Atomic habits 

Topic 4.3: Learning from failure

Topic 4.4: Excuses: the biggest self-defeatist strategy. 

Topic 5.5: Habits of unsuccessful people 

Day 5: The entrepreneurial spirit

Topic 5.1: Innovation: its nature and rewards

Topic 5.2: Blue Ocean Strategy

Topic 5.3: First principles: Elon Musk’s secret sauce

Topic 5.4: Where others see problems, entrepreneurs see opportunities

Topic 5.5: Reaping the fruits of innovation

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WLL03: Learning agility: the most important skill for 21st Century success

Backdrop :

Progressive educators have for decades  requoted ad nauseum the well known prophecy of Alvin Toffler that “ The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” 

This was perhaps to challenge the exhortations of Francis Bacon “ Reading maketh a full man, writing maketh an exact man and conversation maketh a ready man”. 

In later times, arithmetic was added to make the 3Rs. 

In late 20th century, digital and computer literacy were added to the repertoire of a literate person. 

Having done nothing about it we now have the George Orwellian spectre of  “A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses.”

Time to wake up and develop learning agility ….

We are well into the 3rd decade of the 21st century and it is a monembt of self-reflection whether one is literate according to this criterion. Being digitally literate or learning AI at middle School alone may not be enough. 

A 5 day WhatsApp learning experience: typically Monday to Friday. About one hour per day. The full program is of about 5 hours duration. It will be delivered in “ the augmented lecture” model, building upon the mechanics of flipped instruction and fast a-synchronous learning. The course material is shared in advance electronically as :

  • plain text
  • PDF files 
  • Images 
  • Videos
  • Audios

Then augmenting this is an (optional) WhatsApp ‘live’ session for a scheduled hour. During this time the Instructor shares some resources ( with PowerPoint slides as a staple form) and posts several audio posts. During this live session, the Instructor responds to the queries raised by the learners, right there, if a short immediate response is feasible. All other queries are consolidated and responded to later, and posted as a consolidated document to the group. 

The flow of themes and topics is planned as follows. It may be tweaked by the time of actual delivery of the program.

Day 1: The What and Why of learning agility?

Day 2: Learning how to learn ( and re-learn)

Day 3: Learning to Unlearn

Day 4: Learning to Ultra-learn 

Day 5: Your personal action plan

Detailed flow:

Day 1: The what and why of learning agility ?

1.1: What is learning agility?

1.2: What is the need for learning agility? 

1.3: The 5 dimensions of Learning Agility

1.4: Measuring learning agility

1.5: Cultivating Learning Agility

Day 2: Learning how to learn ( and re-learn) 

2.1: The criticality of learning how to learn

2.2: Becoming an autonomous learner

2.3: What is worth learning ( or re-learning)?

2.4: Learning with a mobile phone

2.5: Learning from MOOCs

Day 3: Learning to unlearn

3.1: Reinventing yourself 

3.2: Key concepts

3.3: Keeping an open mind 

3.4: Unlearning: How to do it?

3.5: Examples of unlearning what you learnt at School

Day 4: Learning to Ultralearn

4.1: What is Ultralearning ?

4.2: Future-proofing your career with Ultralearning 

4.3: The key elements of Ultralearning

4.4: Designing an Ultralearning project

4.5: Successfully executing the Ultralearning project

Day 5: Your personal action plan

5.1: Overcoming procrastination and becoming indistractable

5.2: Setting SMART goals 

5.3: The importance of diet

5.4: The importance of exercise/ physical fitness 

5.5: Grit : to execute your personal action plan

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WLL04: Getting a world class education is now in your hands:

Day 1: The future of learning is in your hands

1.1: UNESCO and mobile learning

1.2: YouTube as a learning tool

1.3: WhatsApp as a learning tool

1.4. Mobile Apps for learning 

1.5: Using Artificial Intelligence to help you get a world class education

Day 2: Characteristic features of a world-class education

2.1: We can recognise and appreciate a world class education when we see one.

2.2: Well known world class Universities and Higher Education Institutions

2.3: The IITs delivered world class Indian engineering education 

2.4: Skills for readiness for the next decade

2.5: Education for an unknown and uncertain future 

Day 3: Accessing world class education on your mobile 

3.1: MOOCs

3.2: Coursera, edX and Futurelearn

3.3: Online University courses

3.4: SWAYAM

3.5: Individual Professors

Day 4: World class learning means lifelong learning

4.1: Lifelong learners: from Socrates to Bill Gates

4.2: Learning how to learn? 

4.3: Social Learning 

4.4: First Principles: the skill of thinking clearly

4.5: Developing Foresight

Day 5: A robot proof education:

5.1: Attributes of a robot proof education 

5.2: Systems Thinking

5.3: Entrepreneurship 

5.4: Cultural Agility

5.5: Humanics

Detailed flow of the narratives of these sessions have been designed and will be made available within the course group to those who enrol for the course.