Thoughts About the Future of Workplace Learning

After hearing what many eLearning experts have to say…various thoughts came to mind about the future of workplace learning.
First, I am not sure why students are continuously going to classrooms to listen to didactic lectures…why not start self-directed and informal learning from day 1 in high school, university, and graduate school? This method will allow students to train for real world problems and experiences.
In the real world, we have workplaces with a collaborating environment – “ideally” – where people learn by continuously performing a skill, learn via self-directed and informal learning via the internet, books, with their peers, twitter, Facebook, etc. Can we replicate this picture early on in education (e.g. could really start as early as middle school up to graduate school)?

As a student over the years, I sat through various lectures, but in some courses I really didn’t feel I had a grasp of what I had learned. After graduation, I had to learn on the job, learn by facing reality, learn by fear, learn with others (e.g. peers, mentors, personal learning network), learn by pressure, learn to save lives, and learn to teach or facilitate learning of other pupils. Finally, learning because I love to learn!
I pursued a residency and currently on a fellowship to gain more experience in my skills before transitioning into the real world in which learning is more informal and self-directed.

So, why are we not instigating active learning early on in education in our students? By skipping active learning altogether, we are really jeopardizing their learning and future professional lives by teaching them “everything they need to know for the test”, but in reality, not the truth they need to know to make it in the real world”.
So what are your thoughts on what the future of learning will look like?

You should be aware that courses from top universities such as Harvard and John Hopkins are now being offered for FREE online such as:
Udacity: https://www.udacity.com/
edXOnline: https://www.edx.org/
Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/

So what does this all mean to the world of education? I think the future of education will be students learning on their own via self-directed and informal learning because the information will be available and easily accessible everywhere.

Now, the important component will be to replicate the “real world”. I think it will be a lot more valuable if students come to school to meet as group for active learning or flipped classroom, where they will participate in TOSCEs, OSCEs, laboratory activities, team-based learning activities, problem-based learning activities, etc. Right now, most students tend to not show up to lectures, face-to-face anyways, if attendance is not required. However, these same students do show up for laboratory and group collaboration activities in order to get the hands-on-experience needed to function in the real world.

How will we “educators” assess students’ knowledge? I believe quizzes, exercises, examinations, TOSCEs, OSCEs, etc. should be a continuous process to access their knowledge on every step of the curriculum in order to prepare them to go into practice and assess if they have really learned the material or mastered a skill.

Let’s take higher education to the next level and show our students the truth about what the real world is all about early on in their education! I think building this habit and behavior of functioning independently, but yet collaborating with others along the way, early on in education, prepares one further to what’s about to come in the next phase of their lives.

Will you join me in this journey? What are your thoughts?

~Livia Macedo

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