ELI 2008 Online Spring Focus Session

Students tell us they learn by doing—not by being told. They say real-world problems are motivating—that they want to make a contribution, not do busywork. And both employers and recent graduates say colleges and universities should help students better develop teamwork, critical thinking, and creativity. When students describe the education they would like, it involves learning through real problems (learning in context) and doing things that prepare them for future work (learning by doing). They want to learn with colleagues from multiple disciplines, supported—in physical and virtual environments—by information and communications technologies.

Such learning might be termed “authentic learning,” incorporating elements of student-centered approaches, active learning, problem-based learning, case-based learning, inquiry-based learning, and reflective learning. Integrating authentic activities with today’s technology-rich information, communication, and simulation environments, students can adopt the role of professionals to think critically, collaborate, and solve problems that have real-world relevance.

At the 2008 ELI Online Spring Focus Session we explored an approach to learning that puts the emphasis on students’ learning by doing and learning in context. This online event will bring together a variety of professionals to examine how today’s technologies can support authentic activities where students engage with the content, with each other, and with experts—in and out of the classroom—exposing them to the reality of professional practice.

We focussed on:

  • What it means for students to “learn by doing” and “learn in context”
  • The value of using authentic activities and information technologies to support student learning
  • Projects that model best practices
  • Assessment strategies tailored to these experiential learning environments

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