Even before the current pandemic, the world was already changing rapidly. Now, as the global health crisis increases the speed of change, education must continue evolving to remain relevant.

At IE University, our Liquid Learning model is designed to meet the latest educational challenges head on, bridging the gap between the physical and virtual and adding a humanistic, holistic approach for a transformational educational experience.

Rafif Srour Daher, Academic Director of Data Science and Visualization for Business and Director of the Bachelor in Data & Business Analytics, explained how Liquid Learning works in practice.

Rafif Srour
Rafif Srour Daher – Academic Director of the Bachelor in Data and Business Analytics

What is Liquid Learning and what does the concept mean in practice?

I like to think of it like the liquid state of matter. It doesn’t have a shape, but takes on the form of whatever container it’s put in, without losing any of its properties. For me, Liquid Learning is a new way of learning that adapts to a constantly changing, uncertain world, without losing the important attributes of teaching like quality, interaction, hands-on methods and so on.

It has two principal components:

  1. A hybrid format, where classes can be attended in person on campus, or online. Every classroom on the IE University campuses is equipped with smart screens to facilitate this process.
  2. The incorporation of asynchronous sessions based on self-study. Students are given various activities such as blogs, recorded and interactive videos, forums, labs etc., and have to deliver output on which their continuous evaluation is based. In my case, I use interactive mini-videos to explain new statistical concepts, accompanying them with PDFs in case the students prefer something in writing. To encourage each others’ learning, students can also interact and ask questions.
Liquid Learning

What are the benefits of the Liquid Learning methodology for students?

The benefits of Liquis Learning methodology are: Firstly, flexibility. The students don’t have to worry about mobility issues, for whatever reason, affecting and hindering their education. They can connect from anywhere and join their classes on time. Secondly, the self-enquiry element of asynchronous learning means students are asked to play a role in their own learning. This teaches them time management and responsibility, and encourages them to push their own boundaries, testing their capacity to synthesize and consolidate their own learning.

Do you enjoy teaching this methodology?

I do enjoy it. It allows you to test whether the students have truly mastered the concepts and techniques discussed in class. The activities designed into this approach are all built on consolidating and reinforcing the concepts that are developed in the classroom, and it’s a good way to push students’ boundaries. All the professors have worked hard to create innovative classes that go beyond the traditional lecture from the front of the classroom. The students are active, and are indeed teaching others new concepts. It has revolutionized how we teach, and it’s here to stay.

liquid learning professor

How do you see the future of learning?

The situation we’re living in has made us stop and think about new ways of teaching. It has pushed us to be innovative and creative, and this is something that will impact education for years to come. Irrespective of whether we go back to face-to-face teaching full-time, many of the approaches developed in Liquid Learning will become major features of future learning. Reinforcing student self-study will definitely take education to the next level, where educators and students work hand in hand toward learning excellence.

Any recommendations for students or professors?

To students: be responsible. Liquid Learning requires a joint effort from students and professors, and won’t work if students don’t complete tasks on time and push their own limits. If they do, they’ll improve their capacity to learn under harsh conditions. To professors: be flexible. Think about this experience as an opportunity to improve your teaching methods. Students will need guidance, so be available to provide them with feedback constantly.