8 Ways to Embrace
Technology-Based Learning Approaches
Learning can happen anywhere and at any time. In addition, and largely due to the learning curves introduced by technological advancements and industries including entrepreneurship, learning isn’t limited to educational settings.
Within the educational realm, teachers are embracing new technological tools and using them within their teaching practice. These tools help contribute to new learning approaches and learning preferences.
While the increasing number of new tools and technologies may seem overwhelming at first, educators understand the benefits of instruction led by this new technology. Older teaching traditions are being left behind or supplemented with new teaching practices, allowing students and teachers to become better equipped for the emerging, interconnected, and technologically-influenced world around us.
Some learning approaches are now designed specifically for this new technology, but most are older approaches simply supported by it, allowing schools and classrooms across the world to reach new heights.
Here are eight ways in which we can embrace technology-based learning approaches:
1. Problem-based learning
Instead of teaching mostly facts and using assessment-based learning, teaching practices have begun to move towards competency development.
This includes problem-solving, conceptual understanding, and communication. Whether addressed as problem, project, or inquiry-based approaches, the idea is to move towards student-centered designs that aim for a critical examination of problems.
This style of learning prepares students to think creatively and find solutions to complex issues that will arise in the future. Technology allows us to set issues in a global context, and also facilitates communication and collaboration on a worldwide scale.
2. Student-created content
Many technology-based approaches increasingly offer opportunities for students to create content that may be shared within the classroom, throughout schools, and on online learning platforms and LMS (Learning Management Systems).
Luckily, the number of web-based tools that support the idea of self-creation and learning from one another is steadily increasing. The best way to ensure that the content created using online tech tools is understood by learners is to have the content reinforced by teachers as well as have students recap what they learned by teaching to each other in group settings. Not only will they recycle the acquired material, but the students may provide different viewpoints on what they learned, sharing different strategies and learned knowledge.
3. Collaborative learning
Thanks to technology we can take learning everywhere. Now, online learning platforms can be accessed anywhere and anytime and, thanks to innovations such as Skype and FaceTime, simple international communication is possible.
Collaborative learning is enabled through these technological communication systems, as well as through LMS systems and multi modal learning environments. Learning approaches that are collaborative go beyond the classroom walls, which aids in catering to different learner preferences and strengthening areas such as intercultural understanding. If this is what’s possible now, just imagine what the near future can likely provide: the class itself can be taken into virtual realities! This could facilitate collaboration with people across the globe which would broaden views, raise awareness, and motivate students to explore and explain new cultures, different habits and global themes.
4. Competency-based education
Another learning approach that will develop through technology is competency-based education. This alternative approach aims to focus on effective learning, rather than time-based learning.
Specifically, this means that students can use either e-learning platforms, digital lecturing, or in-person teaching to learn effectively. This approach moves away from an education system designed around the credit-hour and teaching time limitations towards a more individual and content bound approach.
The quality of the work is maintained while the time factor is taken out of the equation and replaced by open learning outcomes. Basically, it is a move towards meeting the way new generations work. It is often pointless spending hours on a subject when the receiver is not ready to take in the information. By loosening the ties between time and location, the stress factor is reduced and more efficient learning can occur. Now the focus is the mastery of subject knowledge.
5. Active learning
Active learning or hands-on learning means that students learn from experience as well as each other by trying out different learning methods, supporting each other’s ideas and, most importantly, allowing space to think and act for themselves.
A teacher’s role is to be a guide rather than an active player, to assist when needed, to support when required, and to be open for adaptations and students’ input. Letting students suggest tech learning tools that support learning, and are fun, is also an important part of the active learning process.
6. Blended learning
We mostly refer to blended learning as a combination of online digital media and traditional classroom methods.
Teachers and students must be physically present, but the content and student work is divided into parts to be completed digitally on computers, tablets, etc. This multi-modal learning approach can also include learning at home using digital tools and platforms, with assignments like watching a video or completing an online activity. When combined, these learning experiences complement and supplement each other.
7. Flipped learning
Flipped learning is a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional teaching approach. It is about applying learning and increasing the student/teacher interaction in the classroom.
How does it work? Instead of learning about a topic in class, students use digital information and occasional micro-learning techniques, for example, watching short videos on a specific topic at home. The content of this homework is then explored and discussed in more detail in the classroom.
In short, the information is retrieved at home instead of being taught in the classroom, and the application of the information learned becomes the task in school the next day.
8. Integrated subjects
Having students create their own materials to use in their learning also moves learning away from targeted and subject-oriented approaches, and towards integrated, cross-curricular study that better resembles the interconnected world we live in.
Aspects from different learning areas are combined in different tech tools. For example, the multiple steps involved in explainer video creation tools are related to multiple areas of teaching and learning, and suit various learning preferences.
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The benefits that technology provides are plentiful: innovation in learning, ease of creation, embracing international social context, providing new resources and understanding, and increased access to information.
As technology advances and becomes more and more prominent in schools around the world, information and communications technology has become nearly as essential as oxygen when we consider how younger generations learn and the types of jobs they will have in the future. It is a part of their personal identities, and supports current learning because they can relate to it.
Technology does not replace traditional learning approaches, it simply supports different learning approaches and is a part of modern teaching.
About the Author
Finja Kruse is a teacher in SPE, who has worked with children of different ages and has a study job involving writing blogs and creating videos on business, marketing, and education topics. She has experience with different tools and is engaged in creative writing activities in school.