Blended Learning in Universities

Is Blended Learning the Future of the Education System?

Published on : 1/31/22
  • India has the 3rd largest Higher Education System globally, with 92% literacy rate of youth in the age group of 15-24 years.

    In the pre-pandemic era, more than 39 million students leveraged the university campus experience to the best of their abilities – academics, sports, lab learning, socializing over dining for immersive discussions alongside campus camaraderie were an indivisible part of their lives. The advent of the pandemic drove academic learning to an online, away from campus mode. Professors and students had to rely on the virtual medium to fulfill the course requirements.

    After almost 2 years of navigating this era’s greatest pandemic, students have accepted the new normal, and there is an overall keenness to relive the stupendous campus experience once again. Parents are also increasingly supportive on the return to campus mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, the national vaccination drive has ensured that students are given both doses of the Covid vaccine; a substantial number of students are already fully inoculated. Secondly, it is also being noticed that the successive variants are expected to be relatively less virulent.

    The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) are also showing strong support towards a back-to-campus approach; in a recent statement, both bodies have discouraged higher education institutions as well as ed-tech companies against offering degree and diploma programs in a fully online mode under a franchise arrangement.

    The corporate world has already begun the back-to-work routine with a hybrid model that supports both onsite and remote working, to maximize efficiency while optimizing capital expenditure. So, is this also going to be the way forward for educational institutions? The present situation is paving the way for blended learning that includes students imbibing knowledge both on-campus and off it; but will it help the students as well as the universities?

    School Facility Management Company’s Role in Blended Learning

    • For students - Higher education in India has a net enrollment ratio of 27.1 significantly lower than the 75.7 NER of K-12 schools. At the same time, 68% of college students see more value in their education than ever before. Blended learning can effortlessly bridge this gap. While campus learning entails that only a designated number of students can enroll in a particular institution but with the help of online learning, many more students can now take advantage of being tutored in the top universities of India. Blended learning will thus, discourage migration of students and will help retain talent in the country. With more number of students taking admission, fees will become competitive, making higher education more affordable and accessible for all students, especially the first generation students. A blended learning environment could also allow students to take up part-time work and projects along with their studies, helping them support their education expenses. This exposure will ultimately make them future-ready with the practical experience benefitting them when they look for jobs.
    • For educational institutions – These too will benefit from blended learning. With an increased intake, their campus infrastructure and utilities will be put to full use; the teaching faculty will have the pleasure of tutoring many more deserving students, guiding them towards excellence.
    • For service providers - To take care of the demands of the blended learning model, experienced Integrated Facilities Management organisations, like Sodexo, can also rise to the occasion to provide a consistently excellent student experience.

    How Sodexo is supporting blended learning

    Due to its vast experience and global footprint, Sodexo can leverage its learning in other countries and provide a much better and enhanced campus experience here in India.

    eduCare, under the Rise with Sodexo service offer, has been specifically curated to prepare for the new normal. It will help reassure students, parents, faculty and staff about the hygiene and wellness solutions that will take care of the students. Starting with safe commuting to reach the university campus. There will be entry point controls like temperature checks; mask discipline and contact-less hand sanitisers. The classrooms and washrooms will be frequently cleaned and disinfected. Safety and hygiene will also be maintained in the corridors and play areas. Students staying in hostels will be taken care of with great diligence. Fresh, nutritious and healthy food will be provided to them helping boost immunity levels. Care will be taken to ensure social distancing and touch-free services. Refreshments will be available as grab-and-go, vending solutions and tuck shops, where payments can be made digitally.

    To sum up, all fingers now point towards blended learning as being the way forward for educational institutions. But whether blended learning can actually turn out to be the best solution, only time will tell.

    To learn more about our campus reopening solution eduCARE. Connect with our representative Sonia Kaul

    Contributed by: Nitin Trikha, Segment Director-Schools & Universities, Sodexo India


    • World Bank
    • AISHE (All India Survey on Higher Education)
    • UDISE (Department of School Education & Literacy)
    • UGC, AICTE warn against "franchise arrangement" between colleges, Ed-tech companies – Published by Time of India - Link
    • Pearson Global Learner Survey - Published by Forbes - Link
    • Re-envisioning higher education through digital adoption, PWC - Link
    • Reimagining Education: What will campuses of the future look like? – Published by Economic Times - Link
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