Recently we have seen a big change in learners – they rely heavily on technology and most of it happens to be on a cloud. While many educators are still debating the uncertain influence of social media on learning and going back to basics, others think that there is no normal to return to – things are changing and that’s the new normal. What’s evident and cannot be denied is that we are dealing with a brand new kind of learning. It’s a brand new learning style adding to the ones we already know: tactile, visual, auditory. The new learning style is defined by the massive amount of information and never-ending flow of updates and events. This is how the new learner is engaged.
What is the new learning style?
- the information is delivered in small bits and pieces
- reading for too long is too boring because while you read there are 1000 things happening that you are missing
- Is Twitter going to be the new book format?
- Information is not static any more – it changes frequently and learners are participants in that change
- Creating information is part of the learning and it happens fast
- Technology is core but it is just a tool
- Learners are not focused on technology as it may seem – they are just using it efficiently when and if needed
- Learning is global as is information
- Learning tends to become more visual and tactile – even text is not read if it’s not visually appealing (measure)
- The teacher is mediator – not a source of information
- Learning facts happens through Google – lectures do not work any more
- Interactivity and Q&A learning is more efficient in combination with practical experience
What does this change mean for the teaching process? It means a new teaching style is due to emerge as well:
- The teacher is a mediator — not a source of information
- Lectures don’t work
- Infuse interaction into the lesson
- Make it very clear that learning is everywhere and happens all the time – not just in class
- Encourage learners to explore and relate new material to real life
- Do not restrict learners’ use of technology during a lesson – instead tell them that they should use it to their benefit and learn through it
- Open learning to new possibilities – encourage learners to justify the use of technology and media – why am I doing this? Why do I prefer this medium to that?
- Do not try to catch up with new and upcoming media – it’s counterproductive. Instead, consider only tools which help you teach and start using them only. You don’t have to be up to date with what your learners use – if you don’t try to be “cool”, they won’t try to be “cool”.