For years, we have been following educational paradigms that promote formal, structured, unidirectional interventions to help learners acquire and retain miscellaneous knowledge. We hoped they would retain it until the moment they might need it.
Now, we are witnessing how these long-standing patterns in teaching and learning processes are in tension with more dynamic, connected, and collaborative ways of finding and exchanging context-relevant information. As learning designers, we cannot ignore these new channels of communication and knowledge transfer. We need to start thinking beyond the traditional training courses, beyond the constraints of LMSs, and outside of static educational environments.
It is time to seize innovation by leveraging social interactions and designing uniquely mobile experiences in order to help learners make meaning of the world around them. Here are some ideas about how to accomplish this.
Leveraging social interactions
One of the main premises of social learning is that meaningful interactions among individuals can lead to increased understanding. Social networking as an educational tool naturally promotes collaboration and participation and therefore, it could profoundly transform traditional educational settings and practices. By using social media and participating in virtual communities, educators can become facilitators of interactions and content curators while students can model and produce—as opposed to passively consume—the learning content.
The Twitter Experiment carried out by Dr. Monica Rankin, professor of history at the University of Texas at Dallas, is a clear example of how we can make the transition from teacher-centered approaches to student-centered tasks and student-generated content. Four years ago, Dr. Rankin decided to integrate Twitter into an actual classroom setting in order to foster higher participation in class discussions. She left behind the traditional model of unidirectional lectures.
Students reported that this experience made them more willing to participate and allowed them to express themselves more freely. They also highlighted how the immediate access to relevant resources and information helped them advance their understanding on the su…
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