With the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately yet to show any signs of slowing down anytime soon, the “next normal” of education seems to rest solely with online learning. Schools all over the Philippines have taken note and the vast majority now have their teachers learning the in-and-outs of Zoom, investing in faster, more stable internet, and accepting the fact that face-to-face lectures are a long way off. This reality is what many now dub the “new normal.”
Still, there is a silver lining to the disruption brought on by the pandemic. Amidst all the confusion, now is a solid chance for education to reinvent itself.
A revolutionary new way to learn
Thus, FEU Tech is proud to announce it has a ready answer for what is the new reality of education that it likes to call the “next normal.” This comes in the form of its new digital learning system called the Mastery-based Individualized Learning Enhancement System, or MILES for short. How the system works is that through the use of user-friendly online learning management platform CANVAS, MILES will give students well-designed content that leans towards personalized, mastery-based learning.
Set to roll out in the FEU Tech, Diliman, and Alabang campuses this 2020, MILES will be the first mastery-based learning system not just in the Philippines, but also in the entire world.
This means there are many things that set MILES apart from its competition. First, the fact that the system is built on mastery learning means students must master prerequisite topics before moving on to learn subsequent topics. This framework is built in every course through the Mastery Path, which builds a solid foundation for both present and future learning. Mastery Paths then connect to form the Mastery Network, where students can access previous lessons at any time to deepen their understanding of a subject.
According to Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at FEU Tech Rolan “Marco” Garcia, the decision to emphasize mastery was an easy one. “Remote learning presented a chance to do something different from the classroom setting,” Garcia explained. “When we made MILES, we didn’t want to just duplicate physical classes online – we challenged ourselves to make it better.”
Garcia then also refers to the presence of individualized learning that’s an integral part of each Mastery Path. For example, a student experiencing difficulty with a particular topic can request additional assistance from their teachers by way of consultations, tutorials, and academic mentoring. Under MILES, learning is also self-paced as students can access the relevant material even outside the usual class hours. There’s no need for them to log on at specific hours.
Seeking quick help isn’t particularly difficult either. Through CANVAS’ Big Blue Button feature, students can instantly connect with a faculty member for any questions. “This is possible because we’ve made it so faculty members are always online during operating hours,” Garcia explains. “What happens is each course will have one faculty member on standby, sort of ‘manning the shop’ in case questions need answering.”
“The presence of this feature lets students know that although we may be apart, none of them are alone,” Garcia emphasizes. “The learning is individualized but the FEU family is with them all the way.”
An all-around experience with MILES
Yet this accessibility isn’t just limited to academics. With MILES, the entire campus will also be brought online: clerical offices, the guidance counselor, the school library and all other departments will also be available. With the click of a simple button on CANVAS, students will be assisted through video call by a representative from these offices.
Indeed, FEU Tech’s MILES presents a new way to look at the entire learning experience. “We wanted to create something that takes into consideration the need for a more personalized, flexible way of learning during the crisis,” said FEU Tech Senior Executive Director Dr. Benson Tan. “We’re glad to say that MILES is exactly that. MILES gives students a comprehensive learning experience that’s arguably head and shoulders above what they’d get in the typical classroom setting.”
“Though there will certainly be challenges in adjusting to an all-new system, the team behind MILES is sure that it will all be worth it in the end,” concluded Dr. Tan.
With the “next normal” upending the world of education like never before, a solution like theirs could be the answer students and teachers are looking for.