From my interaction with students from the many colleges we partner with, I realized how societally we have fostered a misguided idea about learning. Learning should be about conceptual clarity and practical training but instead is commonly associated with stress and cramming.
Currently in most colleges, learning is measured solely through the lens of how students perform in semester-end exams. And while it is necessary to assess students at regular intervals, having unilateral focus on test-taking doesn’t allow students with much else to look forward to and provides them with little incentive to think practically or learn beyond their syllabus.
When we started partnering with colleges, our mission right from the beginning was about tackling this ideological crisis in the education system. We wanted to foster curiosity and worked to reinvigorate the spirit of learning right from the first year. Students shouldn’t view learning IT skills solely as a gateway to getting placed during their final year – a reason why our preliminary bCAP program focuses on encouraging first- and second-year students to experiment and test the waters.
Colleges should be a breeding ground for the creative and the curious. But unlike the elites like IITs or the NITs, majority of students in colleges lack the resources to gain technical skillsets. Finding a niche within Computer Science and figuring out an area that interests them takes time and through byteXL, I wanted to provide them with the safe space of our learning platform and the support of our trainers to do so in their own time. Additionally, the practice lab and projects we provide are designed for them to test, get their hands dirty and learn to solve real-life problems.
At present, the learning curve of most engineering students in India peaks as they complete their 12th or higher secondary. It is during this time that their parents and well-wishers push them to extend absolutely everything they can to they gain admission into an engineering college. It is natural that this habit of approaching learning solely through the lens of exams would continue well into college.
One main way to break this cycle is to increase their incentive to learn. Currently students are only evaluated at end of the semester, giving them little reason to stay motivated and learn through the course of the program. To making a learning a habit, we designed our programs in such a way that our students are challenged and rewarded on a regular basis throughout the semester. Additionally, practical training and learning by doing imparts confidence which in turn increases interest to learn. While this is a step in the right direction, we will continue to focus on implementing a continual reward system in the colleges we partner with and encourage students to keep learning.
Written by Sricharan Tadepalli, COO & Co-founder, byteXL