What are the most effective educational reform strategies?
Very often, school education has targets and assessment criteria that are rather abstract instead of based on promoting lifelong learning, the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation reports. While memorization of facts rather than critical thinking is still the norm, it rarely produces the desired results.
This is the main reason why numerous entities have started working on reforming educational strategies and promoting innovative learning approaches. Some of the educational reforms have failed miserably. Others are based on practical expectations and the development of complex concepts resulting in continuous educational success. Here are some of these strategies that can be expected to transform learning in the future for the better.
The Importance of Crossover Learning
Crossover learning is becoming increasingly popular. The term refers to learning in informal settings and the inclusion of experiences in the classroom activities. Students can be taken to museums and hobby clubs to gain some hands-on experience of important subjects. Internships and after-school activities are also considered an important part of acquiring a sound education.
Learning in school is essential because it gives students the theoretical background required to understand practical applications. The classroom experience is then enriched through real-life examples and informal use of the knowledge.
The acquisition of skills out of the school environment helps enhance the academic performance of students. A visit to a museum, for example, can teach students how to look for evidence and assess information. It also allows students to pursue themes of individual interest, providing some room for personalization in the educational process.
Field trips are just one opportunity but teachers can also encourage students to pursue knowledge on their own. Important subject matters can be discussed in the classroom, after which students will be given the opportunity to look for answers in informal settings.
Drawing conclusions across multiple settings and in different environments help students learn early on in life how to acquire knowledge over their lifetime. This is one of the most valuable aspects of crossover learning.
We’ve already touched upon briefly on the importance of personalization. This is one of the most important transformations that will bring the learning process to the future.
The concept stems from the fact that many educators are already aware of the fact that a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work. Students have individual preferences, learning capacities and subject matters of interest. This is one of the main reasons why some students will excel under a standard curriculum while others will have a hard time grasping common concepts.
Personalization can refer to many different approaches. Customized course offerings, differentiated learning and setting specific goals for every single student are a few of the common possibilities that can be developed under the standard curriculum.
In essence, students are empowered and given some agency. Curiosity is also encouraged, enabling students to identify the subject matters that they could potentially excel in. Learning personalization also puts a lot of emphasis on self-assessment, project-based/practical activities, a higher level of parental involvement and an overall holistic approach to helping students succeed.
While personalized learning gives students agency, it also puts a high level of burden on the learner. For the strategy to be effective, teachers should also be prepared to address the personal needs of their students. This strategy is called adaptive teaching,
Adaptive teaching refers to the creation of learning materials, presentations and projects that take into consideration the specific strengths and weaknesses of individual students. If this doesn’t happen, many students find themselves incapable of engaging effectively with generic content.
Adaptive teaching is based on data and analytical feedback about the experience of every individual learner. The fact that it’s a data-driven approach allows for the selection of effective personalization. Previous and current learning outcomes are used to adjust the curriculum and cater it to the academic strengths of every single student.
The benefit of this reform is that it gives educators the tools required to assess data and draw conclusions. Tools for progress monitoring are available, making it easy to figure out when the time for an adjustment has come.
Naturally, we can’t ignore the important role that technology is starting to play in the learning process.
Entire generations are growing up with access to high-tech devices and tons of information from an early age. These generations are in need of an interactive learning experience because old-school educational methods are doing very little to keep learners interested.
The intelligent use of technology can be used to integrate nearly every reform mentioned in this article in the learning process. A virtual museum visit would be the ideal solution at a time when a field trip simply can’t take place. It can also be used to give students a glimpse at museums, companies and entities in other countries. Sky is the limit when it comes to showing students different projects and facilities across the globe.
Virtual reality, 3D printing, immersive gaming, remote courses and even robotics can find their place in the classroom. What seemed like science fiction a couple of years ago is actually finding real applications in the educational world right now.
The successful integration of new technologies should once again be evidence-based. The digital revolution has given content users a lot of power over its nature and specifics. Students will once again be an active participant in the process rather than a passive recipient. A hybrid approach that brings together hi-tech engagement and face-to-face interactions with a teacher is currently the one that produces the best outcomes. Simply adding technology to the classroom doesn’t necessarily improve learning. It should be done with a purpose to result in the lifetime learning skills mentioned in the introduction.