So often, we worry about what could go wrong when trying new methods at reaching our students. Problem is, our students have changed. No longer can we stand in front of the classroom and lecture for 50 minutes. No longer can we simply upload a slide deck and expect our students to simply ingest the information. They want to be engaged and part of the learning process.
In the past ten years, technology has changed so much in our everyday lives, and education is no exception. Yet for centuries, a core concept of education has remained the same: group learning stimulates greater learning.
In other words, we boost our knowledge by connecting with others.
Recently, four common myths associated with social learning were debunked. A fifth myth could be that social learning is just for students. Yes, social learning is revolutionizing the student experience, but it’s a powerful tool for educators as well.
Just because something is getting a sudden burst of attention, does not mean it’s a passing fad. And that’s what we’ve tried to prove about social learning over the past few weeks. (Ex: Myth 1 – Social learning isn’t new!)
So, what gives social learning this broad appeal and staying power? Multiple studies and stories confirm students’ increased immersion in technology gives them the experiences, relationships, and stimulation that helps them stay better engaged in their learning experience, plus these technologies are something they are increasingly unable to live without.
Social learning is not going away, and in fact, it will continue to be bolstered by technology and students’ adoption of it.
Our fourth and final myth busted here: Social Learning Doesn’t Have Broad Appeal
For years, students have been classified according to their learning style: visual, tactile, linguistic, and so on. Educators can then focus on those strengths so that the educational experience is optimized for that learning style. And we often talk about how to best accommodate the learning styles of today’s Active Learner.
But truthfully, the characteristics of active learners are still more idealistic than realistic for many educators. Access to devices is still an issue in some areas, comfort-ability and familiarity with tools and technologies are lacking, and responsible use policies are not in place to enable learners to take charge of their education. Ultimately, these skills and opportunities will benefit active learner’s always-on always-connected mindset now and as they prepare for their careers, but why and how?
Playgrounds and roller coasters are just for fun. Social Learning is fun too, but it serves multiple educational purposes and has tangible benefits for both the students and the institutions involved. In today’s classrooms, the idea of social learning is taking hold in a variety of ways. Educators are seeing that social learning may include external elements that could be regarded as ‘just for fun,’ like Facebook, Twitter and blogging, but that really these are beneficial to the learning experience. Experiencing it firsthand demonstrates how the interconnected, interactive nature of social learning amplifies the rate at which content can be shared and digested.
Take a look and see how social learning plays a significant role in the serious endeavor of educating today’s students for Duke University professor, Cathy Davidson. Are her techniques just ‘fun’ or important enhancements to the educational experience?
We’re myth-busting. Click here to read on: Social Learning Is Just for Fun