I’ve had the pleasure last week of keynoting Charles Sturt University’s annual Education conference. They’re in the process of rethinking what their learning experience should be, and I talked about the changes we’re trying to make at the Wadhwani Foundation.
I was reminded of previous conversations about learning experience design and the transformative experience. And I have argued in the past that what would make an optimal value proposition (yes, I used that phrase) in a learning market would be to offer a transformative learning experience. Note that this is not just about the formal learning experience, but has two additional components.
Now, it does start with a killer learning experience. That is, activity-based, competency-driven, model-guided, with lean and compelling content. Learners need role-plays and simulations to be immersed in practice, and scaffolded with reflection to develop their flexible ability to apply these abilities going forward. But wait, there’s more!
As a complement, there needs to be a focus on developing the learner as well as their skills. That is, layering on the 21st Century skills: the ability to communicate, lead, problem-solve, analyze, learn, and more. These need to be included and developed across the learning experience. So learners not only get the skills they need to succeed now, but to adapt as things change.
The third element is to be a partner in their success. That is, don’t give them a chance to sink or swim on the basis of the content, but to look for ways in which learners might be struggling with other issues, and work hard to ensure they succeed.
I reckon that anyone capable of developing and delivering on this model provides a model that others can only emulate, not improve upon. We’re working on the first two initially at the Foundation, and hopefully we’ll get to the latter soon. But I reckon it’d be great if this were the model all were aspiring to. Here’s hoping!
I think having a focus on the development of their skills is a great idea. Problem solving and analyzing their own solutions is something most people are not taught anymore. The whys of how things are done should be a focus as well. Too often people are taught how things are done and not why they are done. If the whys are taught people would understand better and they could come to their own conclusions. Change is inevitable and more people need to understand and adapt to the change.