Skilling in the time of Coronavirus has become a challenge for many training institutes. Training partners and skilling centres have created a virtual learning infrastructure, which has unimaginably changed the way students learn. ATDC was among the first training centres to go online and adopt online learning for DDU-GKY and other courses at ATDC.
We spoke to Mr. Gopal Bhasin, Chief General Manager and Project Lead DDU-GKY and State Skill Development Missions at Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC), to know more about blended learning in DDU-GKY courses, their plans of virtual expansion and more. We present excerpts from our conversation.
Virtual learning for DDU-GKY courses
DDU-GKY vertical mainly tries to reach out to the rural population. When most of the State governments announced the suspension of classes due to COVID-19, we started sending back our students to their respective homes. But the 21-days nation-wide lockdown was a shock to all of us, because we expected the suspension of classes to be a temporary one. It was then that Dr. Darlie Koshy suggested that we conduct online classes for the students.
Conducting online classes was not a difficult task for us as the entire DDU-GKY curriculum at ATDC is divided into day-wise lesson plans. And the lesson plans are already documented and shared with the students at the beginning of every course. But the challenge was to bring back the students to attend the online classes. Because many students from rural areas tend to get into other activities like agriculture when they go back home. That is when we started contacting students every day.
With students who had access to smartphones, we created WhatsApp groups and sent them daily lesson plans and gave them assignments. But the major setback was with the students who did not possess smartphones. For these students, we started calling them and shared daily lesson plans through conference calls.
Students are asked to mark their attendance on a Google Sheet and at the end of each day, they are asked to enter their log out time. This experiment is proved to be successful in engaging the students on a daily basis. This is also helpful to the students as they can now attend the classes from wherever they are.
Online training as the alternative
Every disruption in society gives you an alternative method. And globally, we’ve come to an understanding that online training is the only alternative during times of crisis. In the next couple of years, online training will have a more robust methodology to expedite training process.
In fact, every training module can be divided into two – online training and face-to-face training. We can have online training to teach theory, soft skills, English, IT, etc. and face-to-face training can be done only for the practical components.
Academicians must now work on making online learning more robust, more user-friendly and must start exploring various digital tools like Zoom, Skype and Lark among others. Because, any application of online learning has a pan India reach, which helps in broadcasting the lessons to different regions of the country. with emerging new technology, the training method can become more effective.
As ATDC prepares bilingual course materials for every state, tri-lingual in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, it is easier for us to go online in offering the training.
Related Article: ATDC goes online to deliver DDU-GKY courses during COVID-19 crisis – Read More: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/atdc-goes-online-to-deliver-ddu-gky-courses-during-covid-19-crisis/
ATDC’S virtual expansion along the verticals
We, at ATDC, would like to expand the online learning to other courses like the B.Voc., courses for State Skill Missions, etc. along with the DDU-GKY courses. As this will expedite the training process, students will have a shorter duration of the training, which makes it a fast track training process. We would like to reinvent and re-implement these fast track training programs with the help of online learning in all our training programs.
Need to relook at DDU-GKY SOPs to recognise online learning
Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and various other authorities must relook at the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This is because the online form of learning is not yet recognised as part of the training schedule. But this must be re-looked at because none of us have foreseen these kinds of circumstances.
At ATDC, we would like to rewrite our objective of online training and make the authorities understand that this is the need of the hour. They must amend the SOP to recognise online learning as part of the training process. If not, this period of lockdown will be a huge waste of time and effort for the students, trainers, and institutions. Also, the placements would be delayed, which means students will not be employed for several months after the lockdown, which will be a huge loss for all of us.