An online tool is imparting IT education engineering students across the country. Kannan Moudgalya, project head and faculty member, Chemical Engineering tells Gauri Rane how this tool has been helpful.
What role does information and communication technology (ICT) plays in teaching and learning?
ICT has a great potential in improving the quality (and quantity) of good education. It is possible to train tens of thousands of people in one go. There need be no fear that ICT based education will displace teachers. It is more correct to say that ICT is a very powerful weapon in the hands of well trained people.
What is a spoken tutorial? How did the concept come into being?
Spoken tutorial is a 10 minute audio-video tutorial created for self learning, using the methods created at IIT Bombay. It can be used to teach skills-based topics. We have been using it mainly for imparting IT skills. One doesn’t need a teacher to impart instructions. We have been conducting a many workshops using spoken tutorials.
I created a spoken tutorial in 2009, and got it funded by the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) of MHRD. We registered the website http://spoken-tutorial.org in 2010. In 2011, I thought of putting it to use through organised workshops called SELF workshops. SELF stands for Spoken Tutorial based Education and Learning through free FOSS study workshops.
Exactly how many students are using this tool?
According to http://www.spoken-tutorial.org/testimonials, close to four lakh students have been trained through "organized SELF workshops". There could be an equal number of people watching directly through our website.
Does it encourage practical learning?
Yes. It promotes "active learning", a technical term used in education technology. This is achieved through the side-by-side method, in which, one opens the video on one side of the screen and the software on the other side of the screen. This is possible as we work only with open source software.
In the side-by-side method, one should listen to an instruction in the video, pause the video and then try it out on the software. If it works, go to the next command. If it does not work, rewind, listen to it and try again. This should work, as the spoken tutorials are created for self learning. Continue this process until the video is completed. Learn a series of tutorials to understand a particular topic. There could be 5 to 30 tutorials, depending on the complexity of a subject.
How can the methodology used in spoken tutorials be used for imparting training in areas other than computer education?
It should be applicable to all skills based training. We have just started working with NIMI, National Instructional Media Institute, the institution that creates study material for the ITI students. We believe that the spoken tutorial based method will work in this field also, but we have to wait and see.