Ensure free access to high quality and well organized open teaching and content resources
Content can be found in abundance on the internet in today’s digital world but it’s still largely a case of “water everywhere but not a drop to drink”. The abundance creates a clutter and therefore a frustrating discovery experience consumer.
Content by itself does not benefit learners and instructors. Useful content should be relevant to a user’s’ current learning requirement and should be of high quality. Intellectual property and plagiarism are other issues plaguing free content on the internet where a user does not easily come to know if a piece of content being used is pirated.
Content created or uploaded on a Sunbird instance is published under a Creative Commons License and therefore is truly free to consume. In addition, each organization on Sunbird can define their own curation and review workflows to ensure that published content is of high quality. In addition, a rich set of metadata tags allow for easy discovery of content via categories, search and filters. The metadata also allows intelligent and relevant recommendations.
The term “content” used in the context of Sunbird is wide and includes frameworks, teaching / learning / reference content and professional development content.
Leverage custom or shared curriculum and proficiency frameworks to guide content discovery, learning journeys and assess progress
Courses are already being delivered online today via MOOCs. Users can consume these courses and attain proficiency within that course. However, users still find it difficult to craft and follow goal-oriented learning journeys basis overall career and educational goals. This can happen only when curriculum and proficiency frameworks exist to enable such an orientation.
A Competency or Proficiency Framework is a well-defined set of competencies and skills for learners at different levels of proficiency in a subject or area. For example― knowledge of effective teaching and learning methods, planning and delivery of instruction, content and pedagogical knowledge, classroom management techniques etc. are indicators of teacher proficiency.
Curricular Frameworks are an articulation of the learning objectives of a course or subject in terms of concepts or skills that are expected to be attained at the end of a course. This provides a sequenced structure of all the learning activities expected to be completed as part of a subject or course. For example, the 10th grade CBSE curriculum describes the subjects and concepts that will be learnt.
Every Sunbird instance can host multiple curriculum and proficiency frameworks. Vocabulary from curriculum frameworks are be used for ‘tagging’ or ‘indexing’ to organise content on the platform for easy discovery. The frameworks allow users to create and follow learning paths for themselves to achieve the end state as defined by the curriculum. Proficiency frameworks can be used in evaluating assessments in order to generate a proficiency score or level which can be used to further refine a learning journey.
Organizations can choose to use existing frameworks or create their own versions to suit their respective implementation purposes.
Enable delivery of online and blended courses and trainings
Online and blended courses hosted on digital platforms allow for multiple benefits for instructors and learners. For instructors, online training allow for distribution of expert teaching talent and resources. It also allows for automation of routine course activities while allowing instructors to focus on problem areas and students with challenges.
Sunbird provides features that allow for hosting of open and closed courses. Courses can be setup with one or more batches that can be hosted on different dates/times. In addition, learners can engage with other learners via discussions and also engage with instructors and mentors to clarify doubts. Course modules can be created and delivered in multiple languages including offline storage capability.
Enable cross-organizational learning journeys and workflows
Lifelong learning by definition assumes that learning does not stop once students step out of an educational institution or course. Another emerging reality is that a single institution cannot provide all round education to a student. Gaining proficiency in an area requires students to combine theory learnt in classrooms with lab experience and real world work experience. In typical MOOCs, such cross-organizational learning journeys are not possible due to the monolithic architecture of such solutions.
The Sunbird architecture provides the ability for organizations to craft such cross organizational journeys within a single curriculum or course. This recognizes the fact that expertise is distributed beyond the walls of a single institution.
Assess progress and recalibrate learning journey basis performance and competency
An extremely important part of the learning experience are assessments. These give the learner feedback on progress, strengths and weaknesses. Sunbird has capabilities for creating and using assessment tools. Administrative personnel can use these tools to enable timely interventions as well as course corrections. Teachers can also use the same tools to self-assess and create their learning journeys. The system can also suggest remedial paths for learners basis overall and question-level performance.
Enable rewards and recognition for learners, instructors and other users
Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Most students and employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued. When work and effort are valued, user satisfaction and productivity rises, and users are motivated to improve their good work and engage more with their learning journeys and activities.
This feature will help organizations to create recognition programs for their users and link these to activities performed such as course completions, assessment proficiency, and other contributions and activities. In addition, every user gets a profile page where the various forms of recognition can be published and shared.
Enable people and organization registry services
A user registry allows organizations to maintain a verifiable repository of users. This typically allows organizations to retrieve verifiable information about users and groups to perform user-related actions and functions, including authentication and authorization.
User registries store user profile information, that can be accessed after authentication. Sunbird allows organizations to store verified information about users and organizations and use this repository as a verified registry to enable other user actions and functions.
Significantly shorten learning lead times by enabling course discussions, peer-to-peer and mentoring interactions
Most MOOCs today are focused on individual self-learning scenarios where a single user enrolls in a course and goes ahead to complete the course without much interaction with other students. Even interactions with instructors is rare. This approach may work fine for technical subjects and areas where significant social interaction may not be required. However, for most areas, just theoretical or technical knowledge is insufficient. This leads to situations where students considered to be proficient in an area may yet to be unemployable. The benefits of discussions and collaboration in learning are well known now and include:
- Development of critical thought
- Increase in student attention and engagement
- Promotion of positive attitudes toward the subject matter
- Development of sophisticated communication and social interaction skills
- Creation of an environment of active, involved, and exploratory learning
Given these benefits, Sunbird offers collaboration and messaging features such as course discussions, configurable communities of practice as well as activity feeds for users generated from communities and courses that users are engaged with.