Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Blended Learning Method

How edtech is transforming the future of Indonesia’s workforce



By Zaneti Sugiharti | Education technology (edtech) presents opportunities for individuals from all walks of life. Emerging markets such as Indonesia shows great potential on the human capital side with its population of 265 million. The youth demographic, in particular, must equip themselves with the right skills to be able to take advantage of the country’s rapid development and rising digitization.


Indonesia maintained positive economic growth in 2018 and McKinsey predicts the country is on its way to becoming the world’s seventh largest economy by 2030. However, many developmental challenges still lie ahead.


The 2017 Global Human Capital Report by the World Economic Forum found that university graduates currently only make up 7% of the workforce and ranked the country 65th out of 130 surveyed regarding human capital development, which is far below its geographical neighbors.


To address such issues, Indonesian President Joko Widodo issued a statement saying that the government is committing to “massive development of human resources” in the coming years. One of the best long-term solutions is to cultivate a culture and habit of learning, which is not only beneficial to workers themselves but is an economic imperative for the country.


There are three main points to address in developing the education system: (1) curriculum reorientation, (2) implementing a blended learning method, and (3) providing a lifelong learning ecosystem. Such initiatives are meant to prepare young Indonesians for higher education and allow them to compete when faced with the impact of digitization and automation.


Within the scope of the aforementioned developmental goals, the application of technology is most relevant for enabling a blended learning method, which seeks to combine the best of traditional learning methods, namely face-to-face classroom instruction and online learning. With its ability to assimilate targeted learning through online channels and the sociable element of in-person teaching, the blended learning method presents itself as an ideal approach for the education system to achieve its objectives.


Blended learning allows students to have control over the place, path, and pace of their education. It benefits from the reconfiguration of the physical learning space to provide a variety of tech-enabled learning zones optimized for collaboration, informal learning, and individual-focused study. Some examples of this online learning space include videos and live streams of lectures, discussion forums, one-on-one chats, and digital libraries.


Another issue the method addresses, which is hugely relevant within the context of Indonesia, is tuition fees. Online curriculums online open doors to students who didn’t previously have access to education due to financial limitations. Ten private Indonesian universities in Jakarta and Bandung were able to lower their tuition fees by up to 50% by adopting this method (HarukaEDU).


While the blended learning method is considered a win for both students and the developmental goals of the country, there are still obstacles around awareness that are limiting its widespread adoption.


First, it’s important for students to understand and be aware that pursuing higher education is worthwhile financially and for personal development. Second, universities must understand the efficacy of the blended learning method in helping, rather than hurting, the quality of education they’re trying to provide. Lastly, educators must be incentivized to bring their curriculums online and adapt them to the digital realm.


The overall quality of the Indonesian workforce is in urgent need of improvement and large-scale investment on the edtech side has already become a high priority in the private and public sectors. Today, the real challenge is making people aware of the importance of education and the need to adopt modern methods of learning.



About the Author

Zaneti is the Head of Marketing and Communications at HarukaEDU, an Indonesian edtech startup focusing on developing online degree platforms. She graduated from University of Indonesia. Zaneti is passionate about education and is currently working closely with public universities in Jakarta and Bandung to introduce blended learning degree programs for young Indonesians.

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