Learning online: Application of Idealized Design for the generation of adaptation strategies of traditional education towards virtual and remote models in the university environment
The numerous technological advances and conjuncture situations have led traditional education to reinvent, transfer and support to virtual learning models. During the past year and because of the pandemic, both professors and students began the search for new methods and tools that would allow them to achieve their educational objectives. However, this task has not been easy, since important barriers have arisen that affect the development of virtuality (connectivity, family problems, health troubles). In this sense, the university community of Universidad de los Andes has not been unaware to the presence of these difficulties. Additionally, a strong change has happened as we are embracing new ways of learning.
Consequently, a variety of studies were carried out for study this situation in Colombia. Despite that, many of them did not contemplate a holistic view, including the omission of crucial actors as students or professors. At this point, each of the specific situations of the members of the community, their own opinion on the subject and the pluralism of educational environments involves a diversity of perspectives that become a wealth of the utmost importance. Thus, being able to know each point of view closely is a task that should not go unnoticed and that comprises a fundamental field of action of Systems Thinking in Engineering.
Therefore, using Ackoff's Idealized Design, various adaptation strategies to remote environments were formulated from the inclusion of multiple views. These perspectives were studied by using a systemic methodology that allowed us to work with students, professors and experts in a collaborative way. In this sense, the problematic situation was studied in detail (both statistically and qualitatively) by applying massive surveys to students and interviews with professors. These were carried out with the purpose of understanding their perspectives, what they have done in their classes and how they have found ways to embrace virtuality.
In a second moment, selected students form different semesters and careers were called to create the ideal designs. Thus, a creativity strategy was formulated that sought expression through collaborative blackboards guided by questions, where students wrote, draw and represented their vision of virtuality. This process allowed them to identify strengths, difficulties, critical points and lights of change. At this moment, it is essential to highlight how the expert opinion has been taken into consideration for the study, but it is not the unique and true way to understand the mess. Only with the group work of the students was possible to formulate an ideal scenario and from there, find the feasible and viable changes, and pursue an improved scenario.
Finally, the synthesis of this last state was achieved, and it was expressed through commendations for the student and for the professors. These final suggestions were published on a public website.
About the ongoing work, the study carried out was rated by those who participated in it and a considerably good rating was obtained. Despite this, there is a long way to go for future facilitators. It is important to contemplate in this study new perspectives after a considerable time of virtuality introduction and to examine how they have changed, what has remained constant and what points have improved. Likewise, it is important to increase these recommendations in order to formulate a clear and detailed action plan, reviewing other limitations that may arise along the way.