6 Channels of 21st Century Learning
- Apr 09, 2017
The phrase “21st-century learning” is an often-used, popular term used to describe the all-encompassing, yet rapidly diversifying field of “learning channels” or approaches. Today’s fast-changing and evolving technological advances have provided different and varied tools both to the teachers and students. Incorporating these different resources into both teaching and learning methodologies have given rise to distinct learning channels which are also interlinked. In the sections below, we discuss six such learning channels that influence the learning scenario in general.
In this context, in won't be out of place to discuss the term "learning channels". These are basically pathways employed by the learning aspirants to understand concepts or theories. The natural approaches of the students for understanding purposes tend to follow these paths on a large scale. This does not necessarily imply that these approaches are the only ones employed by the student or teacher. These are the popular ones, may or may not incorporate digital medium, based on data from the educational diaspora of the past and present.
The process of learning is experienced in a better way through discussion. This is irrespective of the medium or the platform; for example, two classmates discussing a lecture usually share insights, interpretations and knowledge on the subject, enriching each other in the process. In today’s scenario, the dialogue medium is much more diverse with technology bringing students closer, disregarding geography. There are groups with similar study interests, expert help and suggestions or general communities with similar inclinations, along with the conventional “study circles” and groups.
The word community evokes a sense of belonging; it differs from generic groups in terms of the extent of support and longevity of association. Individuals may become part of communities or leave it; the association generally endures. These are focused on concepts or subjects and are built upon relationships between learners based on similar interests. Again, communities can be physical or digital, general or specialized; the interaction is mainly based upon its formation theme and subject matters of discussion. You receive support and understanding from a community along with shared knowledge based on transparency and open-ended discussions.
Creativity and Abstraction
The creative faculties of the student play an important part in the understanding process. For new concepts, new angles of understanding come from a creative and fresh approach. For solving problems and designing solutions, creativity of a student often brings out new insights unknown to the study group. Creativity is also an important part of the teacher’srepertoire; novel and unique ways of imparting knowledge based on the same subject make classrooms interesting and students attentive. They encourage queries and abstract thinking from the students, instead of rote learning and completion of assignments.
In the 21st century, information and the means of accessing it have permeated into our lives in a big way. The learning mediums have also metamorphosed into a more interactive, hands-on, connected, informative process, where different technological tools are used on a regular basis for enriching or facilitating the process of knowledge and understanding. The teacher and the student are aware of these different technological mediums, which have changed the education process in a lot of ways. The idea is to understand and use the different media as a support to the quest for understanding, finding information, holding discussions or query-resolving sessions, notwithstanding physical presence.
The traditional method of teacher-centric approach to learning in rapidly changing in today’s classrooms. Now, the professors play a more supporting role and the student is encouraged to use his inherent learning skills in a casual and free environment to understand, implement, create or design his knowledge-based practical applications and evolve in the process. This is the opposite of controlled teaching; playful environments give students freedom to express and connect with others which are difficult in conventional classrooms.
The freedom provided by technological advances give every chance to students to be a self-driven individual. The tools at his or her disposal make it possible to learn subjects or lessons on his own. They are encouraged towards more practical or project-based lessons wherein self-assessment is possible upon completion.
Thus, 21st-century learning for students is a practical, hands-on approach with focus on self-learning and self-development. Technological mediums are an integral support tool in the process, used to gain or share knowledge and connect disregarding physical presence. The teaching faculties play more of a supportive role; they are facilitators and assessors of knowledge gained and work as a mentor of the individual or group of students.
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