Monday, 31 August 2015

Key shifts in 21st Century learning (2015 Term 3 Week 8)

What is an education worth having? This is a question that has been exercising the Inaburra staff in recent years. In light of the pace and scope of change in our world, what sort of an education do our young people need. What are the skills, capabilities and character traits that will stand them in good stead in the years to come? In our context, we have developed the Inaburra Learner Profile as our articulation of the outcomes for which we are aiming; it is greatly encouraging to see that educators around the world are asking similar questions and heading in similar directions.

The OECD report from 2012 called The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice describes the key shifts in 21st century learning. Under the far-reaching impact of information and communication technology, all levels and aspects of society are changing.These disruptions have transformed our industrial economies to ones in which "knowledge is the central driving force for economic activity, with innovation critical." A correlation of the importance of knowledge is the importance of learning.

According to the OECD, "the capacity to continuously learn and apply/integrate new knowledge and skills has never been more essential." The kinds of skills that need to be acquired include the capacities to:

  • generate, process and sort complex information
  • think systematically and critically
  • make decisions weighing different forms of evidence
  • ask meaningful questions about different subjects
  • be adaptable and flexible to new information
  • be creative
  • be able to justify and solve real-world problems
  • acquire a deep understanding of complex concepts
  • media literacy
  • teamwork, social and communication skills
With all this in mind, there is a good case to be made for the reinvention of education. The pedagogic model underlying our schools is predicated on preparing young people for life in an industrial economy and that world is passing. The curriculum, built environment and the learning experiences that constitute daily activity need to rethought if our children are to have an education worth having.

Three key points emerge:
  • First, the Inaburra Learner Profile represents our response to challenges that are being faced by educators around the world, and our response resonates with theirs. We are not out on our own!
  • Second, education must continue to change, if it is to prepare our children for the world into which they will graduate. If their education looks like ours did, we will have failed them.
  • Third, there is no more valuable capability than that of being a life-long learner. We do well to focus on that.

1 comment:

  1. Higher education institutions have been changing the way they deliver learning, increasingly incorporating employability skills in their courses and internships. Industry wants graduates with much more than just an academic qualification. The diploma or degree alone will be no guarantee of employment.