We need dig­i­tal tools to pre­pare youth to meet the needs of a tech­nol­ogy-driven fu­ture

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

ALL par­ents want to pro­vide the best ed­u­ca­tion for their chil­dren. By def­i­ni­tion, that means the school or learn­ing in­sti­tu­tion they wish to send their chil­dren to should have the best teach­ers, with the best fa­cil­i­ties and the best teach­ing meth­ods that will en­hance learn­ing per­for­mance.

We of­ten ex­pect our chil­dren to per­form very well in ex­ams and we for­get that to sur­vive in the real world, the knowl­edge and skills that our chil­dren need are not nec­es­sar­ily in­cluded in the school cur­ricu­lum.

We of­ten be­lieve, too, based on our de­ceived per­cep­tion, that knowl­edge is re­lated to the mas­tery of the con­tent of sub­ject mat­ter. How­ever, the truth is that the most valu­able skill stu­dents will learn is ac­tu­ally ac­quired through the process of their ed­u­ca­tion. Lest we for­get, in learn­ing to ob­tain knowl­edge, we need spe­cific skills that are more use­ful com­pared with the con­tent of the sub­ject mat­ter.

In self-reg­u­lated learn­ing, learn­ers are ex­pected to be more ac­count­able for their learn­ing through de­sign­ing, shar­ing, pi­lot­ing, eval­u­at­ing and mod­i­fy­ing their work, and re­flect­ing on the process.

Through this ex­pe­ri­ence, learn­ers con­struct mean­ing and in­ter­nalise the learn­ing process. This con­scious process is known as trans­for­ma­tive learn­ing — un­der­stand­ing the mean­ing of our ex­pe­ri­ence.

Trans­for­ma­tive learn­ing de­vel­ops au­tonomous think­ing, which means we are re­spon­si­ble for our knowl­edge man­age­ment.

With the ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy in our lives, many changes in the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms are in line with fast-evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy, specif­i­cally the in­no­va­tion of dig­i­tal de­vices and so­cial net­work ap­pli­ca­tions. The tech­nol­ogy al­lows si­mul­ta­ne­ous use of space, where users can spend hours on the ap­pli­ca­tion as a tool — where information is up­loaded or down­loaded, posted, stored and shared — for teach­ing and learn­ing.

Many ed­u­ca­tors and learn­ers have jumped on the band­wagon of us­ing web-based apps, such as on­line labs, so­cial me­dia and mo­bile de­vices, to en­hance teach­ing and learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. Dig­i­tal tools have rev­o­lu­tionised teach­ing and learn­ing through evolv­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies and ap­proaches, which are slowly re­plac­ing tra­di­tional teach­ing and learn­ing.

In­deed, e-learn­ing or mo­bile learn­ing has trans­formed the way we learn, thus en­abling us to cu­rate our con­tent and how we process learn­ing through vir­tual learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments (VLEs), like the ones we have in some Malaysian schools. Many schools have al­ready started to use What­sApp, Tele­gram, Face­book Live and Skype, among oth­ers, to en­gage stu­dents in a par­tic­u­lar les­son be­sides Frog VLE ap­pli­ca­tions.

With the rise of mo­bile learn­ing apps, many ex­perts fore­see emerg­ing trends for this vast learn­ing land­scape. In or­der to sup­port ca­pac­ity-build­ing of young adults for their big data an­a­lyt­i­cal skills and key 21st cen­tury com­pe­ten­cies, like lead­er­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion, cre­ativ­ity,and crit­i­cal think­ing, stu­dents’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in cross-cul­tural com­puter-sup­ported col­labora­tive learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties are needed.

Such tech­no­log­i­cally- and ped­a­gog­i­cally-sound on­line learn­ing plat­forms are al­ready tak­ing place in many uni­ver­si­ties to en­cour­age in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tions.

One of the emerg­ing trends is

WED­NES­DAY, MAY 3, 2017 cloud com­put­ing. Cloud ap­pli­ca­tions and in­cor­po­ra­tion of aug­mented and vir­tual re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy en­able teach­ing and learn­ing tools to be made re­lat­able, por­ta­ble, hand­held, lighter, fuss free and highly ac­ces­si­ble.

There are many other learn­ing apps that are free and read­ily ac­ces­si­ble to help the teach­ing and learn­ing process in class­rooms. Many sub­jects or cour­ses can also be de­liv­ered on­line, thus ben­e­fit­ing schools, uni­ver­si­ties, even cor­po­rate sec­tors in up­skilling and hu­man cap­i­tal devel­op­ment.

Teach­ers or in­struc­tors may also use ge­olo­ca­tions, aug­mented and vir­tual re­al­ity learn­ing apps to teach rel­e­vant sub­jects and make it more en­gag­ing, im­mer­sive, in­ter­ac­tive and mean­ing­ful.

Gam­i­fied learn­ing and as­sess­ment, too, are get­ting more pop­u­lar with ed­u­ca­tors and train­ing providers in the West.

Learn­ing can now be tai­lored into “bite-sized” por­tions to make it more in­ter­ac­tive for a new gen­er­a­tion of learn­ers. In fact, there are es­ca­lat­ing trends for mo­bile com­pe­tency-based learn­ing for pro­fes­sional com­pe­tency build­ing, such as busi­ness man­age­ment, fi­nances, man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries, ser­vices and re­tail, even health­care. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.

Stu­dents will also gain prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ences in in­ter­act­ing through dig­i­tal and mo­bile learn­ing plat­forms in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal and re­mote peers and in con­sul­ta­tion with knowl­edge ex­perts or ex­perts from the rel­e­vant work in­dus­tries.

This will equip the stu­dents with trans­fer­able com­pe­ten­cies that can help them se­cure high­skilled jobs later on.

The 2017 World­wide Mo­bile Learn­ing Mar­ket Ex­ec­u­tive Re­port reck­ons that 49 per cent of

E-learn­ing or mo­bile learn­ing en­ables us to cu­rate our con­tent and process learn­ing through vir­tual learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

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