Learning must transcend the four walls of a classroom and the pages of the prescribed curriculum
Learning in B schools should focus on knowledge creation, not just knowledge transfer. The object of all learning should aim to develop three specific capacities – rational, emotional and moral – which allow one to think critically and creatively, to mature in one’s interactions and to make the appropriate decisions in life. To this end, teaching-learning-assessment (TLA) must change.
The teaching perceives the pupil as a passive agent. But learning is democratic, naturally creative and collaborative. In a school B, the evaluation of learning must measure what we have become, not just what we know. There should be no exam, but only an assessment of the learning that occurs throughout a course. The assessment method should not be uniform for everyone, but should rather focus on their area of expertise and competence.
According to skills
Do the students know how to construct arguments on their own, regardless of authority? Can they critically examine themselves and their lives? Do they have the capacity to see themselves not as citizens of a local group / caste / nation but as human beings linked to others by bonds of concern? Can they sympathize with those who are suffering, and create solutions to their problems? This type of learning is difficult to achieve with our current program.
The new TLA, inspired by the principles of liberal education, creates a unique and valued position for a B school involving different sets of transformative activities in which teachers become facilitators. More than brain knowledge, it emphasizes experiential and immersive, relevant and innovative learning. Learning must become application oriented. If a course is about selling, the student must be taught to put their knowledge into practice, and if they do not meet the goal, they must be helped to acquire the required skills.
Each course should begin by mapping the skills of the students to assess what they have now and what they aspire to build, so that they become employable. Each course should be guided by learning assurances / learning outcomes which are to be achieved by the end of that course. The assessment aims to measure students’ familiarity with theories, models, concepts and their application in the real world. They should also be judged on extracurricular activities as they learn more outside of the classroom than inside.
We need a liberal education system that encourages free-spirited citizens who take ownership of their own thoughts, words and actions. This, in turn, produces not only employees, but responsible citizens who not only earn for themselves, but also make a difference in people’s lives.
The author is Director, Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai