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    IIM study suggests blended learning for school education

    Synopsis

    The paper has devised a mathematical model recommending a blend of offline and online learning. As per the model, following social distancing norms, a school can operate in three shifts—7 am to 11 am, 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, and 4 pm to 7:30 pm. It also suggests that students be divided into three groups—class 1 to 4, class 5 to 8, and class 9 to 12.

    The paper says the model devised by the institute “offers a strategy for schools to scale up their operations without disturbing their existing infrastructure”.
    New Delhi: In its pursuit to identify a viable alternative for resurrection of school education in a post-Covid-19 world, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Rohtak has come up with a paper suggesting “blended learning” as the way forward.

    The paper has devised a mathematical model recommending a blend of offline and online learning. As per the model, following social distancing norms, a school can operate in three shifts—7 am to 11 am, 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, and 4 pm to 7:30 pm. It also suggests that students be divided into three groups—class 1 to 4, class 5 to 8, and class 9 to 12.

    The paper recommends every student to attend the school for a week while following the worldwide social distancing criteria, and take online sessions for the next two weeks from home while maintaining self quarantine.

    “Our findings provide a useful insight to the school management and policymakers to upgrade their existing income and capacity with the existing infrastructure,” Dheeraj Sharma, director at IIM-Rohtak told ET. “The proposed blended learning model does not deter the satisfaction level of the parents of school going students.”

    The constraints factored in while formulating the mathematical model are social distance, parental commitment, the probability of overlap, capacity utilisation, cost, and expansion.

    The paper says the learning outcomes of 300 students from a school in northern India, in terms of their grades in the traditional school system, were compared with the grades in a blended learning system. Using a simple test for comparison, no significant differences in the learning outcomes of the students were found.

    Elaborating on the implication of blended learning on cost and capacity, the paper says that the model devised by the institute “offers a strategy for schools to scale up their operations without disturbing their existing infrastructure”.

    “Implementing our recommendations would allow schools to double their capacity and enjoy a 100% increase in fee collection,” says the paper. “Finally, our mathematical model would help school authorities to reduce the cost of operating a school. It would also benefit the society by reducing the cost of education and making school education more accessible to a larger strata of the society. Blended learning pedagogy in schools would not only pave way for superior learning outcomes for students but would also benefit the school administration and society.”

    The model ensures that there is no class overlap during the implementation of the schedule.

    Blended learning is defined as an education programme in which a student learns, at least in part, through online delivery of content and instruction and, at least in part, at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.

    The paper formulates multi-constraint linear programming models from a scheduling perspective to implement this pedagogy in a school environment and shows that it is possible to sustain the outcomes of learning by implementing a systematic blended learning approach and maintain social distancing standards in schools. The paper also attempts to discuss how blended learning can reduce the chance of contracting Covid-19 and how it amplifies opportunities for educational institutions like schools to expand learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
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    4 Comments on this Story

    Raghavendra Rao Gudipudi45 days ago
    It is time who ever gives these kind of hare brained ideas be kicked out. Do they really know about the government schools which account for 50% or more of the total students.
    Classes till 7:30 PM, how will children stdy in the dark. Most of these schools have no electric connection. Also how will poor children have access to online educational systems and bandwidth
    Also even with schools and colleges closed, our network infrastructure is being tested. What is a million students join, can it withstand. Also is there proper telecom infrastructure available in some of teh remote areas that these schools are located?
    Manas Agrawal48 days ago
    Nothing about teachers is mentioned in the article. From the article, it seems only the monetary impact has been taken into account.
    vkumar cheriyath48 days ago
    IIMs must be giving this advice based on their own experience in business schools. This should have been disclosed to add credibility.
    The Economic Times