I just read a very interesting article by Ruth Reynard on the Campus Technology website. It talks about how the new generation of learners is no longer satisfied with the linear approach to learning that many of us grew up with, and still practice to a large degree when teaching our students. Today’s young students are highly connected and interconnected by technology. They manage multiple connections with “relevant others” in their life and their space, both their physical space and their virtual space.
Today’s learners are continually looking to increase their connectedness, and to maximize their perceived value of those connections. Education is part of this managed space to them. As the article states, teachers are no longer the “sage on the stage,” nor even a leaning coach and facilitator. Rather, the best instructors are now viewed as part of a learner’s many connections, in what the author calls a collection of multipoint mobile connections, or MMCs.
Quoting the article: “…when students receive course content in meaningful ways, they are also more likely to understand it. When students are finding information “bites” and hyperlinked information everywhere, it is hard to understand why some faculty still try to “control” the information flow to students in pre-set blocks of lock-stepped content. Rather, while the faculty expert must know how the information is relevant and how it should be worked and used, the students should be able to access the content in whatever form they find best for them – customization. This is an essential characteristic of an MMC. Mobile technology users do not take well to hyper control of their usage and likewise, this generation of learners should not be subjected to control of input in a course of study. Rather than see this as an unnecessary accommodation of the part of the faculty teacher, it is more to the point to realize how much further this takes the learning potential towards the realm of learner autonomy which has always been the goal of higher education.”
Interesting reading! You can read the whole article at http://campustechnology.com/articles/61149_1