Education

Create a learning community

Learning is also a social experience.   | Photo Credit: Freepik

Like most young Indians, I got into an engineering college but was not really interested in it. The syllabus was outdated, and I felt my professors lacked enough real-world professional experience in their respective fields. This dissatisfaction led to the discovery of the valuable world of online learning communities, through social media groups. While social media is a way to connect with people, it also has many focus-based communities.

Learning is also a social experience. Focus-based online communities on social media platforms such as Facebook, Discord, and Reddit simulate this up to a point. Not only do these groups give one a real-world taste of how the system works, but also give an opportunity to interact with active industry professionals that one wouldn’t have access to otherwise. This helps pick up the ‘language’ of the industry and also some initial leads.

Take the example of Harvard’s CS50x, an online course available for free, on an ed-tech platform. To ease community engagement between online course-takers, CS50x uses a Facebook group in which students can ask questions, clear doubts, celebrate their small wins when they complete assignments, and also participate in group events. Students sometimes organise themselves into small study-groups as well, to do collective course-work.

Another aspect of social media acting as a catalyst to learning can be attributed to educational content creators (individuals with a level of mastery in their field). Choosing to follow the right creators and consuming their content daily can enrich your thinking and put your learning in the right direction, as you are taking the information from someone who has already done what you are about to do. On the flip-side, this choice of whose content you can consume can also put you at risk of falling into echo-chambers leading to the formation of a confirmation bias.

The community aspect of social media has been in use for learning purposes for the past decade. The ed-tech sector in India is currently tapping into this space, trying to leverage all of its possibilities, and ultimately moving the entire learning experience to the digital space.

The writer is Co-Founder and CMO, Avalon Meta.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 4:52:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/create-a-learning-community/article34294710.ece

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