By Sunish Raghavan
Much of how India lives, works, and learns has been disrupted recently. Parents are working from home, many schools are having to implement new solutions, to enable remote learning from home. Many parents are suddenly finding themselves even more directly involved in their children’s education, and many are doing that while juggling working from home.
Most of the parents are grappling with the best way to balance their children’s daily screen time with non-screen time, and the parent whats app groups are buzzing with discussions about how best to balance a physical and digital learning environment for the children.
HP last year commissioned the New Asian Learning Experience across seven-markets in Asia to provide insights and to help guide parents as they seek to find the optimal learning experience in the new digital world. The study found that while print and digital each have their own strengths, the combination of digital and print was most beneficial in helping children stay focused and engaged while they learn.
Balancing digital and print
As part of the study, the researchers observed how parent and child pairs interacted during learning tasks. And although technology was already second nature for most children, with many playing on tablets before they can even read, the study found that printed materials, such as worksheets, were the most effective format for learning and writing new words.
On the other hand, children who used both PCs and printed worksheets were more engaged. They spent up to 12% longer on their tasks, were more likely to ask questions, and less likely to show signs of distraction or boredom. They were also captured smiling more often and for 15% longer when using a digital device for learning, likely due to the bright colors and interactive nature of screen learning.
Print is also a powerful medium for strengthening the bond between parent and child. Learning from printed materials requires both parent and child to actively participate in a way that purely digital or video-based learning does not. When using printed materials, parents are also more involved with exercises and children are more responsive to their parents’ guidance.
A valued opportunity for parent-child bonding
As we get even busier, time spent with loved ones is extremely precious and, in the current climate, even more challenging. Although teachers are often seen as the primary educator in a child’s learning journey, parents too have an essential role to play. It’s critical for parents to be involved in their children’s learning process. Parents may think education should be left to the experts, but that would be a missed opportunity for parents to equip children with skills while strengthening the parent-child bond. Learning together instils a love of learning in the children, expose them to new ideas and help them develop key life skills.
To support young learners, parents and educators must invest in right devices and experiences that bridge printed materials and digital applications to enable agile, dynamic learning anywhere, anytime.
Embracing change and preparing children for a brave new world
We’re living in a time where accelerated change is the only constant. The future will bring new opportunities that could impact our daily lives, including the way children learn. Parents need to be part of the children’s learning and give them tools to be ahead of the curve. While all parents strive to find the right balance for their child’s learning in the digital age, parent’s own values towards learning and the parent-child bonding experience were key to maximizing the potential of the next generation. This helps ensure children are constantly curious and never stop learning, no matter what life throws at them in the future.
(The author is the Director, Printing Systems, HP Inc. India)