What theory best supports Future Education and Learning

For the past decade, I have been exploring about the effective use of learning theories in formal, informal and non-formal education and learning.

What is fundamental in learning and teaching, especially in education relates back to

(a) learners – characteristics, autonomy, motivation and determination, learning styles.

(b) educators – design and delivery of instruction, media, teaching style.

(c) content, curriculum.

(d) pedagogy – learning and teaching strategies, paradigms.

(e) technology, tools and resources - Web 2.0, Blogs, Twitter, social media.

(f) environment – platform, networks, communities, schools, universities, internet, webs.

(g) education philosophy – leadership, purpose of education, vision and mission of education.

In this post, I will focus on the theory that best supports future education and learning

The debates between various “isms” had also undergone years of discourse, debates and heated arguments.  There were many excellent posts which captured the essence of the discourse.

In this post by Karlkapp

“What is the best, how do we know what makes sense or what doesn’t?” I suggest that lower level learning (lower cognitive load) requires a behaviorist approach (memorize, recognizing, labeling) as does the expectation of outcomes that must be measured. I then suggest that procedural and rule-based learning requires an emphasis on Cognitivism and finally, problem-solving, collaboration and creativity require a view of Constructivism.

Though all these sort of learning sound pretty reasonable, what I am concerned is whether lower level learning and higher level learning are all mixed up in a behavioral education and learning approach in even the most advanced courses in Universities.

The behavioral/cognitive dimensions in a “learning” when designing and developing courses in traditional higher education is now challenged, as more and more learners found it both difficult to “concentrate” with the hour or two long approach in mass lecture.

The urge for more innovative approach towards education and learning using a diverse approach – combining behavioral, cognitive and constructivist approaches have since evolved, and so this has given rise to “flipping the classroom” where the learners are encouraged and supported to learn with short snippets of educational videos where the instructors would instruct the learners in short  learning sessions at their own time, while coming to online synchronous session or face-to-face class session to work on projects, discussion activities or assignments, with instructors acting as mentors and or facilitators.

To what extent is this effective?   There have been numerous efforts in experimenting the flipping the classroom, and transformation of education was “reported”.  Overall, it seems some of the reported merits with such approach was overwhelmingly positive.

In this post:

Darren Nelson, who teaches Basic Algebra, Algebra II/Trig, and Senior Math, describes some of the benefits he’s seen: “This saves an amazing amount of time. We can demonstrate a math concept in a 10-minute video that normally we’d spend a whole period on in class. Students work at their own pace and, if they finish the problems in class, they move on to the next lesson.”

As I have shared here, flipping the classroom may not be the solution.  What is fundamental to the problem of education goes far beyond how time is spent in learning, but whether learning HOW TO LEARN is achieved through the learning process and journey.  A student who is learning the basics with declarative knowledge and certain procedural knowledge may benefit from such flipping the classroom.

There are many assumptions which need to be addressed when introducing flipping the classroom in the case of higher level of learning, especially when a learner-centred approach is adopted.  This requires a totally different approach where more efforts should be spent in catering for personalised learning, with innovation the focus of education and learning.  To what extent are professors and students ready to adopt innovative approach towards education and learning?

Online Education seems to be the focus in Future Education and Learning.  However online education has teachers conflicted, also reported here.  Why?  Over all, the faculty view of online quality was bleak, with 66 percent of respondents saying learning outcomes are inferior compared to traditional courses, and only 6 percent saying online is superior.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/conflicted-faculty-and-online-education-2012#ixzz1yh5scUPV
Inside Higher Ed

What are the best pedagogies to support such online education and learning?

In this pedagogies of the 21st century:

1. Curriculum – has passed its used-by date.  A frame work – constructed collaboratively and with imagination out of mutual respect for both learners and teachers is needed.  This could be a huge challenge, under the existing education framework, where standard curriculum is the norm rather than the exception.  This implies that knowledge is not only shared, but negotiated, when learning happens with a dynamic curriculum in a community.  This is also where MOOC with community as the curriculum would likely transform education.

2. The skills needed in dynamic present and future:

- interconnectedness

- managing meaning

- living with paradox

- working intelligently towards positive change

- maintaining a global perspective

These all fit well into the skills sets and could be related to the digital literacies educators and learners working with a dynamic workforce.

3. Such skills require transforming pedagogies which will focus on the nurturing of clear thinking, discerning, flexible and creative problem-solvers who will exercise their developed capacity to make the world a better place.

4. The emerging technologies must be used to enrich these transforming pedagogies.

5. To facilitate such learning and teaching, the use of learning spaces both within and beyond the immediate school plant, must be characterised by creativity and adaptability.

Finally, I would reiterate about future of education based on a new paradigm of knowledge:

I conceive new and emerging knowledge would be created through such “Global Community and Networks” which would be based on an environment, education and learning ecology with a network of learning platforms such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), MOOCs (Massive Open Online Communities) and MOOP (Massive Open Online Projects) over different spaces, network chains.

This would eventually lead to a community or community of practice approach towards learning in a MOOC, as a starting point towards education and learning in a global education arena and platform.

It is where the school is the centre of students, where students have complete autonomy, control of what, when, where, how, who they want to learn with, and also why they would like to learn, and learning how to learn, in their own way:

To this end, Connectivism and Constructivism do play a part in the whole learning, though I still think the following applies:

All these are based on metaphors and assumptions.

Postscript: See this 21st century literacies.

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13 thoughts on “What theory best supports Future Education and Learning

  1. Sorry– my prior ms sent itself before I could complete and edit it. One might note that sheer retention of a large body of knowledge stands as a prior task before one can obtain a high quality and large body of knowledge. Our system has failed at the first task, so people move on to the second one. The first, however, depends on the simple principle of practice: you deepen whatever knowledge or skill you practice. No practice means superficial, fleeting knowledge, which typifies what comes out of our system. If you would like more on this, Rowman and Littlefield are publishing my 3-volume series Practice makes Permanent. The first, Teaching Students To Work Harder and Enjoy It, is available with the other two coming out soon. I can email the text of all three to anyone who wants to check out the role of practice and how it fits into instruction at all levels of cognitive attainment.
    John Jensen

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