Disruptive changes due to Covid-19 gave fillip to digital literacy in India

– Rustom Kerawalla, Chairman of Ampersand Group

It may be called the need of the hour, but disruptive changes this year have spurted the urgency for digital literacy. The Covid-19 pandemic has already pushed remote learning mainstream. There emerged a sudden need among educational institutions for harnessing and utilising technological tools to generate content for remote learning for students. 

From face-to-face learning, it has been all about online learning now. In fact, online learning has received like never before stimulus with increased penetration of education through digital devices, including mobile phones, tablets and computers.  The whole curricula had to be remodelled and restructured in a short span of time while keeping the digital learning platforms in mind. Most educational institutions have risen up to the unprecedented challenge in a compressed time frame, if not equal than in their own way while relying on digital technologies that support educational continuity for students across the country.

Call it a paradigm shift as immersive learning experiences have reached a whole new level with virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies filling the gap for tech-enabled learning solutions at home. It also includes the usage of voice user interfaces, which are already accessible through smartphones or smart home devices. In the bargain, experiential learning has received a tremendous fillip in the past few months. It is, in fact, complementing classroom learning in a big way. It is allowing students to interact with content and practise their knowledge in real-time.

Extensive usage of computers has on-boarded a whole new generation of learners which has underlined the growing importance of computer education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Information and communication technology (ICT) has received a further boost with the increased acceptability of computer and allied systems as a powerful medium of communication and education. ICT tools are helping teachers reach an unlimited number of students that is not likely to be possible in the limited space of a classroom. Also, with no need to be in a classroom, online learning has democratised learning while promoting convenience.

A new child-centric education model has emerged mixed with technology and textbook. Mobile virtual reality (VR) is providing more interactive learning with fully immersive content than traditional educational approaches. On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is providing a level of differentiation that customises learning specifically to an individual student’s weaknesses and strengths. This has ushered in a sort of a digital revolution while ensuring acceptance of computer systems in all walks of life. This will also provide tremendous scope for promoting Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE).

A positive outcome has been that it has reduced the disparity in education due to the rise in online learning. It is likely that a new hybrid model of education, which will be collaborative, personalised and all about smart learning, will emerge once the educational institutions start to function as normalcy returns in the future. 

The disruptions by the Covid-19 pandemic have brought a change in the dynamics of learning across the world with education extensively being on-boarded across digital platforms and devices like computers, laptops, and mobile phones to maintain continuity of education. This has led scores of citizens to become computer literate and widened the spread of digital literacy. It also led to augment the need for computer literacy for students across the globe. Computer Literacy be extremely significant as nations enforced lockdown to the hilt – digital devices ensured continuity in education, at work, and for communication with everyone. The invention of the computer has been hailed among the greatest as we usher into a new wave of digital literacy.


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