It is a known fact that there exists a gap between the academia and the industry in terms of knowledge sharing and application of that knowledge. ITC Infotech is trying to bridge that gap with their new initiative, Prarambh.
An interactive platform, Prarambh allows students across campuses to log in and interact with the industry experts, by asking real time industry-relevant questions. The platform itself is a socially interactive one where students can post videos on learning content, create webinars with students from other campuses and get the answers to their queries, which are provide by the subject experts in the industry.
The goal is to bridge the gap between the lack of skill in the industry and what academia can provide
The idea behind this learning initiative was to create something that would provide students with access to the kinds of skills or applications they wish to learn—skills that would be useful for them. According to Suchismita Burman, CHRO, ITC Infotech, the major benefit for students would be that they would get to spend their time learning applications, which are going to be relevant immediately after they join any organisation. “What we found was that in many of these campuses, students possess a good amount of knowledge. However, they lack the agile method of learning new things. Too much time is spent on learning subjects or applications, which have dwindling relevance or mayt even become irrelevant by the time they come out.”
“What we wanted to do was to make the learning process meaningful for them”, she adds.
Another positive that arose from this initiative was that it gave rise to a process of reverse learning. It is not just students who come onto the platform, but also the professors and the deans of the colleges. Since the platform is accessible to students across campuses, the academia can gain insight into what their students are learning and their topics of interest. Moreover, they get a fair idea of the way learning is being delivered through assessments, tests and tutorials. They are able to use that information in their own teaching practices. The exchange can happen both ways. While it is not possible to change the curriculum, the delivery of the learning can certainly be modified or improved.
Burman adds, “The reverse learning is unique. There is a huge gap for such exchange. As a teacher and professor, it may not be easy to ask for information. Here, they can be part of an ecosystem where they can learn in a non-threatening manner and also ask questions anonymously.”
A mix of both formal and informal learning, the platform uses information from the students to better itself.
The content providers look at the kind of questions that are being asked by the students and the kind of tests that are being taken. Students have the option of creating groups for specific topics and subjects among themselves, which they can use to exchange information. That information is tracked and measured to provide relevant content or increase the available information on the platform.
ITC also looks at when and how fast the students are learning. Till now, they have found that the maximum activity happens after 11 p.m., which is when most of the students log in. They use this information to provide answers to their questions at a time when the maximum number of students can avail that information. Burman says, “We make sure that whatever queries they have are forwarded to the relevant experts in the industry and we try to ensure that they are provided immediately.” The intent is to make the exchange as real time as possible.
According to Burman, the response from the academia, including the deans and professors of the campuses, has been positive since the initiative adds value to the students and the teachers as well.
“The goal is to bridge the gap between the lack of skill in the industry and what academia can provide”, says Burman.