Monthly Archives: August 2014

Learning by Actually Doing

I Learn By Doing vs Reading Man Choosing Education StyleThose of you who have read my previous blogs know that I am a huge proponent of 70:20:10 learning across the educational continuum. We’ve seen this tested in the corporate world through the great work that Charles Jennings, Jay Cross and many others have done and written about. Recently, as I’ve toured the country with a rising high-school senior looking at different college options, we’ve paid close attention to the work study, internship and other experiential opportunities offered on and off the college campus. Depending on the type of program you are enrolling in, many schools offer great options for field-based or on-campus jobs or internships that help college students build skills and networks while still in school. So, should we and how can we apply 70:20:10 in K-12? Yes, now more than ever, and here’s a few ways how.

  1. Make more time for project-based learning where the project involves actually building something. K-12 curricula must include long-term projects that allow students to work through problem-solving activities over a period of time. The ideation and project planning processes, working toward interim goals (aka project milestones) and the concept of final deliverables all provide real-world practice and can incorporate many of the standards required in today’s public school paradigm.
  2. Collaborate with outside experts, mentors, and business partners. Just as in the workplace, we look to those with more experience to support our individual work efforts, so should project-based learning be supported by partners in the business world willing to put in the time to bring these projects to fruition.
  3. Incorporate technology to provide the performance support to build on the interdisciplinary skills required to work on and complete the project. Today, many teachers are using blended learning programs to strengthen individual learning within a classroom setting. DIfferent students working through a team project will need different levels of support. Whether it’s access to Khan Academy videos or support by groups such as Digital Promise or others, there are systems in place to help support the type of activity that can ensure individual success within a team-based project.

This week’s pick for cool K-12 experiential learning is Tools at Schools. They are doing some fantastic work in the schools through fantastic learning design and thoughtful collaborations. Stay tuned for more on making learning more meaningful and accessible across the continuum.

Launch Day for Designs2Learn

Social communication
Planning for the launch of Designs2Learn, I spent a great deal of time recalling the people I have learned from and developed learning for, and the types of learning experiences I’ve been part of creating. Looking toward the future, I’m closely considering how to parlay all of that into making learning as accessible and effective as it can be.

How Learning is Evolving

Each of the communities of learners I’ve been fortunate enough to work with continues to evolve.  As a result, learning is becoming more accessible in each of these areas.

  • In K-12, the recognition of technology-enhanced and blended learning environments is helping to greatly extend the value of dedicated teaching professionals and focus more directly on the needs of individual students in the classrooms.
  • In higher education, MOOCs (for all their strengths and weaknesses) have blasted open the doors of the ivory tower and brought online learning out into the open.
  • In the corporate workplace, 70:20:10 learning is being embraced by broader audiences and the acceptance of experiential learning means that learning experiences are more focused on the tasks at hand for more discrete audiences.

Optimizing Learning Experiences

If there is any ideal learning experience, it is one that clearly understands the needs of the target audience, offers multiple forms of engagement, and encourages learners along the way. We recognize that learners in all environments have the potential to suffer from the disenfranchisement that comes from a one-size-fits-all learning experience. The purpose of Designs2Learn is to work with our clients to identify needs, design, and develop the most accessible learning experiences for your audience.

I personally tend to look at learning from a rather broad perspective, meaning across the continuum of educational experiences. I like to “back into” K-12 by starting at the workplace and understanding how today’s workers need to be prepared for success. This means that we must make learning relevant, project-based, and interdisciplinary as early as possible. One great way to make this happen is to promote collaboration within the teaching process (team teaching, for example) and also through establishing networks of external mentors to support these more experiential curricula.

Partnerships and Technology are Key

To make all this happen, we need to nurture and manage effective partnerships between the public and private sector.

Technology is the common means by which we can drive success across the spectrum and help today’s learners successfully transition into tomorrow’s workplace. In K-12, we are breaking boundaries and bringing down walls with new collaborative experiences, and improving learning outcomes through individualized instruction. Universities can expand their footprint and contribute to the democratization of learning through the development of online learning programs, creating both free programs and revenue-generating offerings. In the workplace, technology is helping companies to not only offer a greater volume of learning opportunities but also to curate them and create more targeted learning programs to help drive workplace performance.

Welcome to Designs2Learn. We understand that not everyone learns the same way, but believe strongly that everyone deserves equal opportunity to learn. And that’s where design comes in. We’re looking forward to learning with you!