One of the challenges of online learning is creating the sense of a community of learners. Unlike in a classroom, students have to actively seek this community and the level of engagement they wish to have with it. My experiences, few students engage beyond the core assignment requirements in online classes. This is a true shame, I think. Sharing ideas and perspectives is one of the joys of learning.
For this week’s assignment, we were asked to do just that—engage and learn about industry and adult education trends with our learning partner.
My learning partner already works in a University, so she has quite a bit of exposure to the trends in education and adult learning. What was really interesting was to learn that her experiences with education were much different than mine. Her university focuses on Blended format, as opposed to the traditional lecture only in class format. I was not aware that there were schools actively practising these different methodologies on such a organizational level, especially locally.
Some of the big trends she mentioned were gamification, simulation, and other technology based supplements to the classroom. I found this very interesting as these are also trends I’ve seen recently in management. Gamification is being used to engage employees and enhance performance in the workplace, so it is interesting to find out that educators are also finding way to apply this to the classroom.
Even though we are in quite different industries, we found quite a bit of overlap. Similar to gamification, we also both have an interest in soft skills development. She is working on development a program to specifically teach soft skills—perhaps in schools or workplaces. We discussed the link between certain non cognitive skills and employment variables—such as empowerment, performance, and engagement. As these skills seem to be on the low focus in recent generations, we both agreed that this should be a growing area of research and interest.