As most of the world is in quarantine due to doctors and health officials recommending social distancing or, even better, to self isolate if possible, nature is finding ways to claim back cities all over the world. We’ve already witnessed a lot of marvelous examples of nature getting back what’s rightfully hers.
21 days to Cultivate Life Transforming Habits
Well, my post is not about the 21 days lockdown. Enough of content is being made available on the social media regarding Corona virus, and I shall refrain from adding more matter to it on this blog. However, the theme of this write-up is ‘21 days’ from the perspective of habit formation. As per neurological studies, it has been identified that it takes at least 21 days of repeated performance to form any habit. Further, if you maintain the act consistently for another 90 days, it can become a permanent habit for you.
HABITS are initially a bit challenging to form. However, once it has become a part of your DNA, it is really tough to change it. When you remove “H” from the word HABIT, ‘a bit’ from it remains! Going further if you remove the “a”, ‘bit’ of it still remains intact. Finally, when you remove the “b” – IT still registers its presence!
Human behaviour is a function of learned habits. The insistent attraction of a smoker towards the cigar is nothing but a habit. Many smokers tell that if they do not smoke, it creates constipation or headache for them. Medically these are irrelevant and insignificant symptoms. It’s all about habit. As we grow up, we acquire a unique set of habits. It all starts from the brushing of our teeth, going for a shower, taking breakfast till arranging the bed before going to sleep. Our habits ultimately drive our behaviour; define our personality!
In the classical conditioning theory, discovered by Ivan Pavlov, it was identified that there is a stimulus for every response. Pavlov’s dog responded to the bell (in the presence/absence of food) with saliva. In his experiment, every time a bell rang, the dog was given pudding by the researcher who wore a lab coat. Pavlov noticed that the dog began to salivate every time it heard the ring of the bell. It was also seen that the dog would drool whenever it saw people wearing lab coats! Point to be noted is that, once the conditioned response became a habit, the actual presence of food was not required for the dog to trigger saliva! That’s the power of habit.
The most efficient way to work on habits is to identify the trigger. If you are fed up of some of your habits, start identifying the source of instigation. You may be an angry and cribbing person, which does not get appreciated by your society. If you intend to change this habit, do the ‘five why’ analysis. If required, go deeper into “ten why” study of the cause. As a resolution technique, focus on the habit trigger and start correction out there. It will work.
Friends, we all can change habits. It’s possible. And this can happen in just ‘21 days’. These days of corona lockdown have given us all an opportunity to form new habits and/or give away with old and bothering ones. I suggest we all make the best use of this opportunity. You may develop the habit of getting up early in the morning or that of doing a regular cardio workout if you have been longing for it. You may also establish the habit of reading books, writing blogs or doing meditation.
Everything is possible if you have the will to pursue it relentlessly. As I mentioned above, it takes 21 days for new neural networks to form the shape. Why not resolve to work on at least one new habit from today?
Upskilling in the face of COVID-19 outbreak; Technology enhanced teaching-learning at MIIM
While we had talked about embracing technology-enhanced learning at Marian International Institute of Management, it was a different story when all classes of nearly 240 students had to be converted to e-learning before we could finish the semester. At the back of our minds, we were also ready for full e-learning to take place if the situation worsened, but the reality was different. The panic occurred three weeks ago and thankfully the online learning experience has generally been positive.
While some faculty members already had competencies in online or remote teaching such as live streaming, pre-recorded teaching sessions, facilitating discussions in a digital platform and providing assessment and receiving feedback – much background preparation still had to be done to get academic staff, students and infrastructure ready for lessons to transition seamlessly into online learning.
Let me share what helped.
A consistent approach
While flexibility was needed to ensure different learning outcomes could be achieved in different programs, consistency was important in this time of crisis. All classes with more than 50 students switched to online learning. Any classes that needed to remain face-to-face, such as mentoring or project sessions, were broken into smaller groups. Licences or access to technology such as Zoom, Moodle etc. was made available to all teaching staff and students. It allowed lecturers to choose what worked best for them and their students. It also allowed training and guides to be provided based on the key tools that were available. The key tools provided some consistency so that students were neither confused nor rushed into learning different tools.
Ensuring learning outcomes were uncompromised
Flexibility while ensuring accountability was important. As certain assessments could no longer take place as planned, alternative methods were needed to assess the same learning outcomes. As we ride out the crisis, all learning outcomes must still be achieved and demonstrated despite contingency measures that were in place. This ensured that all assessment changes were reasonable and fair. It was emphasised that online platforms were to be viewed as learning environments, like classrooms and lecture theatres that enabled effective learning to take place. Despite the rush, it remained important to engage learners.
Having technology on hand to allow them to participate in discussions whenever possible helped. While the assumption is that most students have a laptop to do e-learning, there is always a small number who don’t. Those students were also intimated to make arrangements to borrow laptops or a smartphone. This ensured that no one was left behind in the transition from face-to-face to e-learning.
Having clear, frequent communication
It was key to understand concerns at different points in time. Common concerns included effectiveness of online lectures, changes in assessment, and self-discipline when learning online. More communication channels were important, ensuring that despite not physically seeing each other, concerns and experiences were shared. The feeling that “we are in this together”, or “if I make a mistake in the online learning platform, I am not the only one”, helped to support everyone in the journey.
It was also important to check in with students with special needs, as well as those who were academically weak, to see if they were transitioning smoothly into a different mode of learning.
Online Courses at MIIM
In the current scenario when the nation is under lockdown and everyone is advised to stay at home to avoid the attack of novice COVID-19, life has come to a sudden standstill. Nonetheless, the leisure time that we have in hand should not go in vain and therefore, we recommend you to apply for free online courses before you hit rock bottom and die of boredom. It is time to engage in a constructive task and give new direction to monotonous life.
There are several platforms that offer free online courses to users. If you are interested in grooming your skills, then grab this opportunity. Whether you hail from science, commerce, art background to any multidisciplinary fields, there are online courses to help you gain expertise while sitting at home. All you need is good internet connectivity and access to mobile, desktop or laptop.
Some of the online courses offered are:
- The art of selling
- Unleash your creativity
- UGC NET coaching
- Digital Marketing
- Mutual Fund
- Placement Training
- Strategic Leadership and Management
The best way to enhance your hard and soft skills sitting at the comfort of your home is by enrolling yourself in an online certification course of your interest. Taking up these online courses during quarantine are the best way to up-skill.
The Earth has officially called for a break with the COVID-19 outbreak, which started in December 2019 in Wuhan China creating havoc around the world. The world is going through a tough time now, but let’s remember to stay positive and hope for better days.