Monday, 6 February 2012

8 contemporary #learning needs for the #knowledge age and K12 reform book

While writing a chapter for a book, I was wondering about the contemporary needs of a course to fit the demands of this knowledge age.

The beginning of the new millennium has been described as a Knowledge and this shift from the industrial age affects all of us (global audience). The societal changes brought along with the Internet, social media development and the rise to ubiquity by a number of technologies (wifi, mobiles…) has changed human society as a whole. Within only a decade people from all continents started to use the same tools to connect with others and most of all, to improve their lives or livelihood’s. I belief this global change also has a profound effect on the leading educational model that was used in the Industrial Age and which has served as the balanced educational framework for the past century. Where the educational model of the Industrial Age focused on the linear transmission of information and knowledge; this era searches for a new system dynamic to complement the new educational realities of the Knowledge Age.

Barry Wansbrough wrote a great 24 page paper on this, focusing on k12 (reform) for the knowledge age, nice read and he also invites others to give feedback on it. He strongly beliefs (and I concur) that the emphasis of future education should not be on instruction, but on engagement.

I tried to find the challenges that current educational designs need to meet, and I came up with a list of 8 (some references, first I wanted to delete them, but maybe they are useful in some way even if it is in a post): ·
  1. Networked Learning, Connecting to People: networking amongst peers, is essential for learning to appear. A mMOOC can be thought of as a "short-term" community of practice. All the participants are brought together to share community, domain knowledge, and practice for a short period of time, hence strengthening their knowledge through a network of specialized peers. A MOOC is all about connecting to others to strengthen learning and knowledge creation/exchange as indicated by Siemens (2004). Mobile devices on the other hand have always been used to connect with others. ·
  2. Becoming Active, Critical Content Producers: in a world where information is exploding exponentially, it is increasingly important that any learner finds their way to the most relevant information as the basis for their knowledge construction. McElvaney and Zane (2010) came to the conclusion that “when learners adopt personal web technologies, it enables and requires them to discard their roles as passive consumers of information, learners must become editors who critically question content and sources. ·
  3. Emerging Collaborative Peer Learning: networking in itself is not enough, in this increasingly connected world collaboration becomes ever more important, not only to obtain relevant knowledge, but also to constructively scaffold on each other’s expertise. Garrison (2000) mentioned that “this adaptability in designing the educational transaction based upon sustained communication and collaborative experiences reflects the essence of the postindustrial era of distance education” (p. 13).·
  4. Setting Up Communicative Dialogues: conversations between people in learning communities are at the center of those online communities. This exchange of ideas that goes back and forth between members of a community is essential, because “more than any other way, people learn not from courses or Web sites but from each other … through dialogue” (Rosenberg, 2006, p. 158). ·
  5. Optimizing Informal Learning: informal learning happens depending on the context the learner is in and the learning needs s/he consciously or unconsciously perceives. As we move through life, we transfer our insights and beliefs from one experience to another abiding by the flux of life and knowledge itself. By providing and disseminating information in a way that a mobile device can log on to it whenever the need arises, informal learning is optimized. ·
  6. Strengthening Lifelong Learning: by allowing learners to acquisition information and as such construct knowledge by using their personal learning device(s) will increase their lifelong learning capacity as the learning facility is kept close to the learner her/himself. This acquired learning skill will also last a lifetime. ·
  7. Supporting Authentic Learning: as professions and subsequent education towards these professions diversify, authentic learning that fits the learner’s needs is getting crucial to allow tailored and relevant knowledge to be constructed. Naismith et al (2004) mentioned that “mobile devices can provide more direct ways for learners to interact with materials in an authentic learning context” (p. 13). ·
  8. Enable self-regulated learning: Pintrich (2000) indicated that most models on self-regulated learning include strategies to shape, control or structure the learning environment as important strategies for self-regulation. A MOOC is built on a learner-centered approach. This means that each of the participants is responsible for their own learning.
Would like to know what your thoughts are on these?

And here are the references for those interested:
  • Garrison, D. (2000). Theoretical challenges for distance education in the 21st century: A shift from structural to transactional issues. Retrieved 8 December, 2010 from
  • McElvaney, J., & Berge, Z. (2010). Weaving a Personal Web: Using online technologies to create customized, connected, and dynamic learning environments. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology/La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie, 35(2).
  • Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., & Sharples, M. (2004). Literature review in mobile technologies and learning. FutureLab Report, 11.
  • Pintrich, , P.R. (2000). The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning. In M. Boekaerts & P.R. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (Eds), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 452,-502). New York: Academic Press.Rosenberg, M., J. (2006). Beyond E-Learning. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
  • Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January 2005, Volume 2 Number 1. Retrieved from web (accessed 18 May 2011).