Technology enabled learning is a popular term at the moment, with everyone from the public to private schools as well as higher education institutions trying to get in on the action.
The best approaches to technology-enabled learning do recognize that learning, like all development, does involve complex, social beings engaged in complex intellectual, social and psychological processes.
Value of Digital Learning
It is also acknowledged that what and how people learn does influence what they are able to do with what they learn.
Online learning at higher education institutions should indeed be deliberately structured to promote the skills needed in the world of work.
Key to success in the workplace is the ability to consider problems and scenarios and also select the appropriate knowledge that is required to resolve the issue.
The workplace-ready approach does imply that technologically-focused learning needs to be structured in order not to transmit content only, but to allow students to grapple with the content in its real-world application. Students are provided with resources to explore and to formulate answers to questions. They are also given opportunities for further reading and exploration, guided by activities in which they are indeed able to collaborate with peers and also collectively find solutions to the problems that are being tackled.
The process needs to include opportunities to reflect on what was learned, to ensure students draw connections between what they had to consider and what was learned. Formal assessment in the traditional academic sense should conclude all exercises.
Value of Digital Learning
The workplace of today does demand problem-solvers and critical thinkers who are able to deal with ever-shifting challenges and that the workplace-geared learning model is not only effective in terms of the learning itself, but also in rendering workplace skills second nature, so that the mechanics of resolving a task does not take focus away from the actual task that needs resolving.
This approach does also empower students with required skills in order to be able to focus on technical content. In the workplace, there is also no time to fiddle with trying to understand the platforms on which one needs to solve problems. The solving of the problems and execution of tasks do need to be focused upon, and not the tools with which one makes it happen.
It is also necessary to track down and also grade the activities as one needs to be aware to ensure that students and lecturers do build evidence of the learning and development and are also able to intervene where learning does not appear to have been effective. Such tracking indeed helps to build a portfolio which can be made use of during the job search.
This approach does provide opportunities to collaboratively solve problems, participate in discussions and also to reflect on a student’s learning. There is, in fact, no more space for institutions of higher learning to simply ‘tech up’ their respective content, or even t0 create an online repository of PDFs. Technologically enabled learning does ensure that graduates are oriented towards work.