Because tomorrow’s learning is already available I want to share a few powerful trends and concepts.
It’s challenging enough to manage a traditional learning environment. The curriculum is handed to you, meetings are set, and you’re simply there to manage. Adding more ingredients to the mix seems like asking for trouble. But the truth is, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to educate children in the face of such radical technological and pedagogical progression.
The good news is, many of the elements of a progressive learning environment e.g., digital literacy, connectivism, and play—conveniently, and not coincidentally, work together. And better yet, collectively they can reduce the burden on those managing the learning because they place the learner at the center. While it’s possible to tack these ideas on to a traditional classroom, and then sit back and wait for the clouds to part and the sun to shine brilliantly, you’ll likely be waiting a while. These aren’t single tools to ‘try’, but new ways to think about how learners access media, how educators define success, and what the roles of immense digital communities should be in popularizing new learning models. None of it is really complicated, it just requires new thinking.
1. Shift From Standards To Habits
What are students learning, why are they learning it, and what are they doing with what they know? I’ve talked about this one recently in The Danger of Standarization. This is one of the biggest and most powerful ideas in ‘future learning’, and should be central to any meaningful discussion. In short, the shift from purely academic standards to critical thinking habits supports personalized, 21st century learning through a preceding shift from institution to learner.
2. Place & Self-Directed Learning
Spaces and places matter. What are they learning, and why? Add to that, where are they taking that knowledge to use? Place-Based Education complements digital platforms that tend towards globalization. Self-Directed Learning is almost certainly at the core of the future of learning. While the world wide web is tempting for learners to constantly connect with exotic ideas in equally exotic locations, authentic learning is (still) key. The authentic learning experiences allow learners to self-direct personal change in pursuit of social change. This starts small, at home and surrounding intimate communities.
3. Connectivism & Transparency
Through connected learning experiences, it is possible to leverage the potential of interdependence and crowds. Social media, mobile learning, blended learning and e-learning supports this idea. This occurs simply through crowdsourced knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia), visually through curation (e.g. Pinterest), and long-term through digital communities (e.g. Facebook, Google+, Twitter). A natural consequence of digital and social media is the attention for transparency. Transparency as the opposite of closed traditional schooling, where the walls of the classroom are tick and the local teachers and policies makers, judge, and process everything.
4. Digital & Gamification
When it comes to reading, writing, communicating, saving, creating, and sharing, digital is everything. The scale and accessibility of digital resources, connections, and spaces are overwhelming. This will develop and grow. Game-Based Learning aggregates the power of learning simulations, social gaming, emotional immersion, and digital literacy to produce a net effect of transparency and participation on the learner.