Monday, October 6, 2008

Authentic Learning

I learn best by doing. As a seque to the article about digital learning, students/learners are able via the Ineternet and technology to learn how to solve real world problems. ANother common theme is that in an authentic learning environment, "learning becomes as much social as cognitive, as much concrete as abstract, and becomescintertwined with judgment and exploration". The interpersonal connection between mentor and apprentice (protege) is key to achieving the social aspect of authentic learning.

The discipline of being able to judge the reilability of information; to be patient to follow longer arguments; to synthesize patterns; and the flexibility to work across subject and cultural boundaries allows authentic learning. What I valued most in this article was how by using technology, a researcher can perform experiments with multiple resources, collaborate with others, sustain their investigation and integrate assessment in their constructivist approach to learning. Using simulations, student created media, inquiry based learning, peer-evaluation, working with remote instruments, working with research data, and reflecting and documenting achievements further shows the importance of authentic learning.

The list of universities using authentic learning is impressive but I know for a fact that the number of university professors comfortable using this technique is a miniscul minority. Universities need to inservice their repective professorial faculty on the benefits of authentic learning and break from the tradition of lecture ad nausiam. Professors also need to develop mentor - apprentice relationships with students to "seal the deal" in developing life-long learning colleagues.

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