New online platform will let students learn at own pace

Ng Chee Meng joins Admiralty Secondary students to learn how to use portal.ST VIDEO: JONATHAN CHOO

Move helps level playing field as it gives all students same access to quality resources

Schools are taking e-learning to the next level with the launch of a resource-rich online platform on which students can learn at their own pace anywhere, any time.

The Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS), first announced by then Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in 2013, will be progressively rolled out to primary and secondary schools as well as junior colleges and Millennia Institute from next year.

The portal will also let teachers share best practices and work together on materials with their colleagues across schools.

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said the "rewards for students will be tremendous", adding that the SLS "will open up many opportunities for their learning". Speaking during a visit yesterday to Admiralty Secondary, one of 62 schools piloting the platform, he described how students who want to review a lesson will be able to do it on their own time, even at home.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) stressed that the platform will help level the playing field as it gives all students, regardless of school, the same access to quality learning resources. The move builds on ongoing efforts by the ministry to leverage IT to aid learning.

"By spurring our students to take greater ownership of their learning and work collaboratively with their peers, the SLS aims to support them towards being responsible future-ready learners," MOE said.

 
 

The platform, which will feature videos, simulations, games, animations and quizzes, will reinforce learning of subjects, including English and the mother tongue languages, mathematics, history and even physical education.

Interactive timelines on World War II, for instance, can help students visualise how history unfolded through the years.

Many of the resources have been developed with industry and external partners to offer real-world context to concepts taught in class, said the ministry.

Real-time monitoring of online quizzes, for example, will let teachers gauge their students' progress. They can then adapt their lessons to bridge learning gaps on the spot.

Through the platform, teachers will also find it easier to co-develop, adapt and share new pedagogies within and across schools. With the exchange of lesson ideas and strategies, "students in turn will benefit from the wider range of learning resources", MOE said.

Since last month, the portal's basic functions have been on trial at pilot schools such as North Vista Primary and Anglican High.

The ministry, together with the Government Technology Agency, which leads the country's charge in digital transformation, will work with schools to gather feedback and further develop the platform before its national rollout.

Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua, who heads the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, hopes the move will not just level the playing field, but also reduce the need for tuition.

She told The Straits Times: "Good learning and teaching resources can now be shared instead of kept within the confines of particular schools. It may well reduce the excessive dependence on tuition, as students can access the portal for revision or self-driven learning."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2017, with the headline 'New online platform will let students learn at own pace'. Print Edition | Subscribe