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Personalising Remote Learning and Building Community Through Tech in Singapore

When it comes to remote learning, students often feel they are struggling alone. Studying in a community can address this, but it is not easy to create a sense of togetherness in a remote learning environment. Hence, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) has introduced an innovative approach to help students find belonging amidst the pandemic.

Every individual has their own approach to learning. A surface learner, for example, mainly cares about achieving a grade or impressing someone, not about educational growth. The university can then provide personalised materials based on their learning profile to help them develop learning approaches suitable for higher education. For example, these could help a surface learner look past material achievements and learn for their personal growth.

Students at SIT have to complete the Freshmen Survey when joining the university to find out what kind of learner they are through a gamified platform named AdventureLEARN. Personalising the recommendation of educational content to a student’s profile and needs helps them to learn more effectively. Students have a limited attention span, so this window of time should be spent focusing on key areas.

– Associate Professor May Lim, Director, Centre for Learning Environment and Assessment Development, SIT

A learning community can be built while personalising online learning. A good example is QUEST – a platform featuring adaptive online courses. The platform helps SIT students get up to speed in core competencies such as Math, Physics, and Chemistry in preparation for university courses.

QUEST helps students through hints and advice indicated in pop-ups while they are answering questions. Learning with real-time feedback is a new method of education, complementing traditional methods such as watching short video lectures. Students are also provided with an online collaborative space to learn from one another. Working together can help reduce procrastination, which is a common challenge in remote learning.

Technology offers a range of other benefits on top of collaborative work and personalised information. Through AdventureLEARN, students earn virtual coins by completing assignments. Students can take part in team challenges as well, in which four to five students work as a group. Together, they can watch videos, collaborate to create learning resources or provide useful tips for well-being to earn more virtual coins.

applying ‘high tech’ alone is insufficient to transform education in this current climate. ‘High touch’ is needed for students to feel connected and supported. SIT believes in building a culture and an ecosystem where academic staff are equipped with skills to coach students effectively. While the e-learning platforms can help students personalise their learning and learn new concepts, the ‘high touch’ from academic staff is vital for supporting students who may be at-risk or struggling.

Analytics from e-learning platforms can help spot students who are struggling. By identifying coachable moments, SIT educators can reach out to such students to coach them on goals such as effective time management, improving group dynamics or better learning approaches. With high tech and high touch, a learning community can be built to facilitate effective learning for the future.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, students enrolling in the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) can now sign up for two new courses in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital supply chain. The Bachelor of Science in Applied Artificial Intelligence (AAI) and Digital Supply Chain (DSC) being launched in the new academic year are three-year direct honours programmes. AAI emphasises implementing artificial intelligence (AI) within software systems, while DSC focuses on emerging technologies in the digital transformation of the logistics and supply chain sector.

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