Students' shift towards skill, career-centric learning evident: Pearson's Siddharth Banerjee

Siddharth Banerjee - Pearson

Learners' behaviour across the world is undergoing rapid changes with the ever-increasing internet penetration, according to a global survey conducted by multi-national education major Pearson. 

Nearly nine out of 10 people in the world over believe internet access is a basic human right, according to the survey. The intriguing results of the survey were revealed by Siddharth Banerjee, Managing Director – India & Asia, Pearson as he addressed Techspectations Educate 2021, the fourth edition of Manoramaonline's digital summit.

Banerjee's talk on 'Creative education in new normal with the transformative impact' turned out to be a case study in how a leading education company is exploring the opportunities triggered by the paradigm shift in the educational sector.

Banerjee used the findings of the survey as the basis for his analysis, which he said was like “looking at higher education in this rather chaotic world”. The 'chaos' was a clear reference to the churning caused by the pandemic in the past two years.

Banerjee said Pearson has been designing its programmes based on the findings of the survey, which indicates a clear shift towards skill and career-based learning.

As many as 56 per cent of students in the world are reconsidering career paths while 53 per cent reported interest in starting their businesses. Another key finding is that 88 per cent students want the higher education sector to teach career-oriented skills.

Detailing the findings in a presentation, Banerjee said online education is here to stay but learners want a better experience. He said higher education is seen as an engine for economic recovery in the changing world. There is pressure on learners to continuously upskill themselves even as virtual learning has become the new normal.

Banerjee said the pandemic has led to a shift in consumer behaviour and it is forging a stronger generation of young people. To them, the quality of content is a major driving force for choosing digital study materials. He said both the faculty and learners across the higher education ecosystem have to augment and adapt to the new circumstances.

Explaining how Pearson has been transforming the education landscape, Banerjee said they have been promoting virtual learning, higher education, English language learning, and workforce skills.

He said Pearson has been supporting the learners in the higher education landscape by developing new exciting tools like e-text options, AI-based English tests, and quality and credible content by world-leading authors. For institutions, the company offers support with services such as e-text, visual labs, and mastering tutorials.

He also gave a brief account of Pearson digital library project wherein the company partners with higher education institutions to digitise their libraries. The company has launched the project in the US and hopes to bring it to India at the earliest.

Answering a question about how Pearson would address the concerns over the falling attention span of students in India, Banerjee said, “attention span can be held if you are relevant and if you speak the language of the learners. Understanding the context of the learners is also important.”

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