Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Important Skills for Learners beyond 2011: "They're not called students anymore."

Call to action: Teach the process of learning.

Ever since I read Jay Deragon's article that lists the Innovation Indicators for 2011, I've been collecting all related articles and papers that enumerate and describe the skills that today's learners need to have to thrive & flourish in the world after their formal education.

Processing all the data that came from thousands of subjects collated by the world's best thinkers and educators, I've come up with my own short and sweet list. A Europe-based council has a really nice representation of Lifelong Learning that I'd like to share as well.

SKILLS: Finding the essence of action

Awareness (Learning To Be)
Awareness is being mindful of everything that happens in and around you, your thoughts, feelings and behavior. This mindfulness> includes your relationship with or direct effect to those within your sphere of influence. We can think of awareness in terms of chronology: present, past and future. In the present moment, the primary skill needed is Observation. It is the active perception of events that form the context of your experience. Pattern Recognition & Working Memory are the skills needed when using past experiences & knowledge learned and apply it to the current circumstance. Anticipation & Future-proofing relates to foreseeable events where imperative action is focused on preparing for probabilities & fuzzy uncertainties.

Acceptance (Learning to Live Together)
Acceptance starts from within. Resilience comes from accepting failure so that one can continue to work towards improvement, efficacy & eventual success. The world needs better methods of fast-tracking the "moving-on" process beyond K├╝bler-Ross's DABDA Theory. I feel that positive psychology is one way to go. Diversity is a core component of the human condition. Whole-hearted tolerance and celebration of individual and group differences that do not infringe on human rights are necessary skills that foster peaceful global communities. Norms & standardization are paradigms that will require redefinition or replacement.

Association & Application (Learning to Know and Do)
In the Connectivist theory of learning, content or knowledge is no longer the main focus of learning. Connectivity of these bits of information is more important. The main reason is that creativity and problem solving skills come from finding all possible links from one piece of information to another.

A few skills under this category would be:
1. Orthogonal thinking: looking for what has not been done
2. Practical metaphors: looking for similarities from entirely different fields of knowledge
3. Fractal analysis: inter-dimensional pattern recognition, seeing similar trends from the microcosm and the macrocosm, relating something from the bigger picture to the specific details and vice versa
4. Spectral Exploration: comparing similarities as well as differences across different continuum

The following are the sources I have collected and used to formulate the list above. I consider this a treasure trove of knowledge and I'd like to share them with you. The articles are free, the books are from Amazon.

1. Review of Learning 2.0 Practices by Christine Redecker (2009)
2. Work Your Strengths by Chuck Martin, et. al. (2010)
3. Learning in Synch with Life by George Siemens (2006)
4. Lots of shared knowledge from elearnspace!
5. Making Lifelong Learning Tangible! by Dr. Bryony Hoskin, et. al. (2010)
6. Happiness, joy, well-being: What role does learning play? by Bertelsmann Stiftung (2008)
7. 24 Strengths (Virtues In Action) in Positive Psychology
8. My hero, Jane McGonigal's book, Reality Is Broken, is a must-read.

Here's an inspiring talk presenting proof that "children will learn how to do things they want to do."