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Need for tech led learning to de-stress students

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Stress is the root problem causing students to feel depressed; technology led learning can help evade this. Here’s how:

By Rajshekhar Ratrey, VP, Educational content, Toppr.com

Depression among students is a rising concern. Four out of 10 youngsters who are currently studying, feel regular or occasional depression, according to the Lokniti-CSDS Youth Survey 2016. The rising pressure of exams, the anxiety of results and the need to be among the best have made academics a dreaded part of students’ lives. Instead of making learning an exciting activity to quench curiosity, classrooms have become a rat race to the top of a rank list. This stress has caused widespread depression and stress in every classroom.

What factors contribute to depression?
The question on everyone’s mind is ‘Why?’. Why are 20 per cent students in every single class suffering from depression? We don’t have to look too far, the answers are within the classroom itself. The most popular engineering entrance exam, JEE Main, has almost 12 lakh aspirants fighting to claim 20,000 coveted seats in IITs across the nation. The competition to be the best has never been this intense, they have only one chance to crack the exam, or else they have to repeat a year, a concept that’s considered taboo in India. This examination system has crossed the threshold of healthy and entered a stress inducing territory.

A lot of children are forced into career choices that are heralded by their parents and mimicked by their friends, even though they may not be cut out for them. Not all students belong to the urban areas of India, the ones who live in Tier III cities don’t have the resources that are available in Tier I cities. Families want to send their children to the best of classes, even if that means bearing financial pressure of not only the coaching class, but also living expenditure. After all this effort and money spent, students end up feeling guilty for not getting the result they or their parents expected.

How can ed-tech change this?
For years we have seen technology as a portal to fun. Whether it’s scrolling on social media, giggling at memes, joining groups to know you’re not alone in a stressful situation or just taking a break from everything real and playing a quick game! Technology has played a huge part in stress relief. However, we have come to see technology as a distraction, especially while studying. Today, Ed-tech proves that presumption is wrong.

Stress is the root problem and technology led learning can help evade it, here’s how:
1. Learn at your own pace
Every child learns differently. Some children are able to grasp concepts within one reading, whereas some children may need elaborate explanation. In a classroom, teachers need to rush to complete the portion, making it difficult to cater to every student’s learning needs. Lagging behind is inevitable, but personalisation is possible with learning apps. AI and Machine Learning have changed the game of personal attention. Now predicting a student’s strengths and weaknesses, giving them questions to improve their speed and accuracy is not a dream, but a reality in ed-tech.

2. All the resources in one place
The problem of finding the right resources is universal. Students are often confused about what to study and where to start from. The enormity of the task causes anxiety and propels them to delay their preparation, so they can avoid feeling overwhelmed. Picking the wrong reference book, which is too tough, can demotivate students and ingrain a false sense of belief that the subject is difficult. With learning apps, students can get access to all the learning material they need for not only their board exams, but also any competitive exams they are preparing for. They can practice lakhs of questions with varying difficulty level, instead of looking for multiple reference books.

3. Experts who can help 24/7
School or coaching class teachers aren’t available all the time. During self study, many doubts crop up, but alas, they have to wait a whole day to get their doubts cleared. If the students are shy, it is likely that they might feel too scared to ask their doubts in a class of 60 or more! This leaves them clueless and lost, a feeling that could lead to monumental stress. Ed-tech has found a simple solution to this problem. Students can now ask their doubts to teachers sitting in any corner of the country, at any time, over chat. These experts can pick their doubts within minutes and help them reach the solution.

4. Learning made interesting with visuals
Another important aspect is establishing basic concepts. Lectures in school might not match their grasping power and even one misunderstood or skipped lecture could be a bump in the road. Not all of these students have the privilege of a going to a tuition, that’s where technology can help. Students can find lectures for every concept and chapter, taught by teachers who excel in those subjects, making access to quality teachers a reality, even from remote corners of the country. Moreover, these lectures are designed to be visually appealing and easy to understand. Even if they don’t understand a particular concept, they have the freedom to revisit it as many times as they’d like.

5. Cost effective with minimum effort
Coaching classes offer the same experience as going to school, where you find yourself lost in a class of 100, with a lot more monetary investment. Some cities don’t even have coaching classes specifically skilled at preparing students for a particular exam. In such a situation, students usually migrate to places like Kota. This puts a strain on not only financial resources, but makes the child vulnerable, with no emotional support. In the Lokniti-CSDS Youth Survey 2016, 30 per cent students reported loneliness as a reason for depression. During such a stressful time, it’s important to have your family around for emotional support, learning apps allow you to do that. They cost half as much as a coaching class and give you the flexibility to access expert preparation resources from the comfort of your own home.

Tech led learning has made student the centre of their universe. The idea isn’t to rush through the portion or to identify toppers for publicity, the idea is simple; to help students learn. Ed-tech can help achieve what classrooms are missing and give every student a platform that saves them from unnecessary stress. Ed-tech has the potential to be the academic support which children can rely on to reduce their stress and streamline preparation.

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