“All of us are potential teachers as well as learners.”Jaswinder Singh is a part-time blogger, a previous committee member of the prestigious Moodle User’s Association, an integral part of an exciting team called the “Rolling Stock” at L&T and a full-time father to two kids.
We got him to talk about his experience of authoring a book- ‘How to use Moodle 2.7‘ and his views on the extent of Moodle in affecting the future of eLearning in India.
Let’s find out how we unearthed secrets to his successful career by happily juggling between multiple roles.
Blogging isn’t your full-time gig. Could you tell us more about your work at L&T?
Yeah, absolutely. I started my career with Delhi Metro in 2005 and since then I had been involved in the procurement, testing and commissioning and maintenance of the trains which are technically known as Rolling Stock.
Here, in my current organization, I am involved in the design review, testing of trains to meet stipulated requirements and standards, preparation for introduction to passenger service and planning for a long term maintenance strategy of trains.
What got you interested in Elearning and Moodle?During my part time degree from Delhi College of Engineering, I was introduced to Moodle through one of my friend and thereafter it became my passion. I started using Moodle on my personal computer to get a feel of how we can use it for elearning.
The potential of Moodle made me crazy as it can be one of the best tool to improve the education system in India. I can see the enormous opportunity for Moodle to grow in India and other developing countries.
What do you do with your time when you are not working or blogging?
Most of my time goes in playing with my kids. My son is 5 years old and daughter is about 2 years. Apart from them I spare some time to maintain fitness through sports like Table Tennis, Badminton etc.
What do you think are the drawbacks and challenges of the traditional learning methods and how does eLearning resolve those?
Traditional learning in India has many points which can be improved by opting for elearning.
Major concerns are:
- The first and foremost advantage of eLearning is the access to learning at any place at any time. You can learn any new concept right from your bedroom, or you can ask your peers about anything which is not clear to you. It gives a lot of freedom to learn.
- Secondly, elearning is learner focused whereas traditional learning is instructor focused. You can reflect and improve upon the learning of each and every individual. But at the same time you need to design your courses properly to make that happen.
- eLearning helps in gaining an “always learning” attitude. I had seen many students who look for the instructor for help in case they are not able to understand anything. But, through eLearning, in fact as per Moodle’s pedagogy – All of us are potential teachers as well as learners.
It helps the students in learning on their own and help others, which really helps them in future and gives them self confidence to compete in such a competitive world.
- The other major point is the access to worldwide resources for learning. As a student you can access the courses from MIT, or many other major universities around the world which someone may not even think of few years ago.
Do you think Moodle has an important role to play in the future of eLearning in India?
Moodle is going to play a major role in improving the overall education in India provided, it is used to its true potential. If it has been implemented only to showcase a online learning system, then its of no use. A proper training for teachers is required to fully utilize the power of Moodle.
Do you think User Interface is crucial for the adoption of Moodle by a larger audience?User Interface is the first thing which the students or any user will interact. If you have a clunky look then the modern generation of students is not going to read anything without getting bothered by how much good your course is. Since first impression is the last impression, you need to look deeply upon improving the user experience.
Describe your typical working day.My day starts as early as 5 AM. After doing my daily routine, I will go through all the recent Moodle updates and write an article before taking my breakfast. After that usual office work starts and If I get some free time during breaks I will use it for writing another article but generally in the evening, I will write one more article before taking my dinner. After dinner, I write my daily journal to keep my focus and plan for the next day.
Also in this time only, I work on making additional Moodle resources like “The Ultimate Moodle Guide”. I had revised that guide recently to include the information which any first time user will need. I am planning to release it by 1st September – on my daughter’s second birthday.
What suggestions will you give to someone who wishes to be an active blogger along with a full-time job?
You can easily start a blog but you should think before starting. Choose the topic which is your passion, as it may take sometime for the blog to become popular. Let’ say you know deeply about bikes or cars or finance, you should probably start a blog as soon as possible. You should keep the patience and continue the hard work.
There may be times when you will feel disappointed but don’t worry, success takes its own time.