Guide Fire Up the Learner Within - The Art of Self-Directed Learning

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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Atul Pant is the founder of Timeless Lifeskills Limited, a UK Buy Fire Up the Learner Within - The Art of Self-Directed Learning: Read 3 Kindle Store Reviews -
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However, being a critical thinker is not synonymous with being metacognitive. There is a difference between educators thinking critically about new standards and thinking critically about how their practice will change in order to implement those standards. Why are critical thinking and metacognition important to professional learning? Research and personal experience have shown that when educators are engaged in critical thinking about the process of learning, they are empowered to take ownership of their learning.

Whether in the classroom or in everyday life, this type of thinking creates a sustainable, ongoing process that promotes metacognition. If so, professional developers should focus on the processes of critical thinking and metacognition in conjunction with content as the core of professional learning. While some learners are naturally metacognitive in their thinking, not everyone will take professional learning to metacognition.

Therefore, it is important to plan experiences that engage learners in critical thinking, shifting the focus of professional learning to the process of professional growth.

'Fire Up the Learner Within - The Art of Self-Directed Learning' - eBook

Therefore, when educators begin to plan both short- and long-term professional learning, they must begin by asking the same critical questions that they want teachers to ask their students:. Rather than asking participants to sit through staff development in which they gain familiarity with a new program or new standards, we plan learning experiences that engage participants as critical thinkers about their instructional practice as related to these new programs, standards, or any new learning.

To engage participants in this type of reflection about their practice, effective professional developers act as instructional coaches who plan purposeful questions that focus on what they want participants to learn. We recently worked with teachers designing a differentiated unit of study. We asked them to reflect on these questions:. In another recent experience, we worked with K-6 English and language arts teachers to revise and align curriculum with their Common Core State Standards.

Rather than asking teachers to read the standards and fit them into the current district curriculum, we focused on the six English and language arts shifts inherent in Common Core and how these shifts connect with what they already know about effective instruction see table on p. Both of these examples capture how planning for critical thinking and learning that promotes metacognition creates change in teacher practice. For example, teachers who completed the chart of English language arts Common Core shifts identified shared expectations of instructional practice, such as asking critical thinking questions, which they aligned with their teacher evaluation rubric.

Once teachers embedded high-level focus questions in their curriculum-planning document, we observed increased use of these questions in instruction. Professional developers strive to design a professional learning model that supports staff in becoming independent thinkers and learners. The key is to align professional learning with what we know about how people learn and process information so that educators feel supported. Traditional models of staff development can be ineffective: New information is delivered, and everyone hopes that instructional practice changes.

Knowing this, professional developers have to plan for how to provide this gradual and guided support to promote deeper understanding and successful change to teacher practice. Each stage of this process is essential to professional learning, yet we know that everyone is at a different place in understanding. Therefore, it seems logical for these components to be flexible based on the needs of the learner. At the center of this model is what professional learning is striving for — critical thinking about practice.

Professional learning can promote critical thinking through a variety of processes that are gradually released to the learner based on his or her understanding and sophistication, knowing that some will need more scaffolding and some less. The outer circle represents what drives and shapes the model: formative assessment and metacognition. Through continuous, nonevaluative assessment of professional practice, we identify strengths and opportunities for growth and provide customized support for individuals and systems based on our assessment.

Modeling allows the teacher to experience, in a classroom setting, how to implement high-level questions and the immediate impact it has on student thinking. Whether facilitating collaborative conversations or whole-group sessions, working with a small group or one-on-one, the key to effective professional learning is to remain focused on critical thinking about practice, rather than the lesson, program, or other initiative.

Gradually, the teachers began to take over the conversation, and we were able to step back, allowing the participants to guide the process.

5 ways to encourage self-directed learning in young children

At their request, participants returned to their classrooms and modeled a specific instructional practice for the group, i. Using purposeful and focused questions throughout the process, we kept the focus on thinking and learning and promoted independence through metacognition. The thread that connects all of us is our belief that to be a teacher is to be a learner.

A focus on nurturing unique human skills that artificial intelligence AI and machines seem unable to replicate : Many of these experts discussed in their responses the human talents they believe machines and automation may not be able to duplicate, noting that these should be the skills developed and nurtured by education and training programs to prepare people to work successfully alongside AI.

These respondents suggest that workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments. Still others spoke of more practical needs that could help workers in the medium term — to work with data and algorithms, to implement 3-D modeling and work with 3-D printers, or to implement the newly emerging capabilities in artificial intelligence and augmented and virtual reality.

Anonymous scientific editor. About a third of respondents expressed no confidence in training and education evolving quickly enough to match demands by Some of the bleakest answers came from some of the most respected technology analysts. They are also struggling with basic issues like identification of individuals taking the courses. Several respondents argued that job training is not a primary concern at a time when accelerating change in market economies is creating massive economic divides that seem likely to leave many people behind.

Most participants in this canvassing wrote detailed elaborations explaining their positions, though they were allowed to respond anonymously. Their well-considered comments provide insights about hopeful and concerning trends.

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These findings do not represent all possible points of view, but they do reveal a wide range of striking observations. Respondents collectively articulated five major themes that are introduced and briefly explained in the page section below and then expanded upon in more-detailed sections. Some responses are lightly edited for style or due to length.

The following section presents a brief overview of the most evident themes extracted from the written responses, including a small selection of representative quotes supporting each point. These experts envision that the next decade will bring a more widely diversified world of education and training options in which various entities design and deliver different services to those who seek to learn. They expect that some innovation will be aimed at emphasizing the development of human talents that machines cannot match and at helping humans partner with technology.

They say some parts of the ecosystem will concentrate on delivering real-time learning to workers, often in formats that are self-taught. Commonly occurring ideas among the responses in this category are collected below under headings reflecting subthemes. Educators have always found new ways of training the next generation of students for the jobs of the future, and this generation will be no different. Justin Reich. College education which will still favor multi-year, residential education will need to be more focused on teaching students to be lifelong learners, followed by more online content, in situ training, and other such [elements] to increase skills in a rapidly changing information world.


Is this self-directed learning or complete chaos?

As automation puts increasing numbers of low- and middle-skill workers out of work, these models will also provide for certifications and training needs to function in an increasingly automated service sector. We will also see what might be called on-demand or on-the-job kind of training programs. We kind of have to, as with continued automation, we will need to retrain a large portion of the workforce. I strongly believe employers will subscribe to this idea wholeheartedly; it increases the overall education of their workforce, which benefits their bottom line. Nevertheless, I am a big believer in the college experience, which I see as a way to learn what you are all about, as a person and in your field of study.

The confidence in your own self and your abilities cannot be learned in a short course. It takes life experience, or four years at a tough college. At a good college, you are challenged to be your best — this is very resource-intensive and cannot be scaled at this time. Our established systems of job training, primarily community colleges and state universities, will continue to play a crucial role, though catastrophically declining public support for these institutions will raise serious challenges.

One potential future would be for those universities to abandon the idea that they have faculty teaching their own courses and instead consist entirely of a cadre of less well paid teaching assistants who provide support for the students who are taking courses online. A few respondents said already established institutions cannot be as fully successful as new initiatives.

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They take too long to teach impractical skills and knowledge not connected to the real world, and when they try to tackle critical thinking for a longer time scale, they mostly fail. The sprouts of the next generation of learning tools are already visible.

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  • Within the decade, the new shoots will overtake the wilting vines, and we will see all sorts of new initiatives, mostly outside these schooling, academic and training institutions, which are mostly beyond repair. People will shift to them because they work, because they are far less expensive and because they are always available.

    In the hopefully near future, we will not segregate schooling from work and real-world thinking and development. And, again, the experience of being a student, now confined to grade school, secondary school and university, will expand to include workers, those looking for work, and those who want or need to retrain — as well as what we now think of as conventional education. Via simulation, gaming, digital presentations — combined with hands-on, real-world experience — learning and re-education will move out of books and into the world.

    The more likely enhancement will be to take digital enhancements out into the world — again, breaking down the walls of the classroom and school — to inform and enhance experience. Some respondents expressed confidence in the best of current online education and training options, saying online course options are cost-effective, evolving for the better, and game-changing because they are globally accessible.

    Already, today there are quite effective online training and education systems, but they are not being implemented to their full potential. Edward Friedman. These applications will become more widely used with familiarity that is gained during the next decade. Also, populations will be more tech-savvy and be able to make use of these systems with greater personal ease.

    In addition, the development of virtual reality, AI assistants and other technological advances will add to the effectiveness of these systems. There will be a greater need for such systems as the needs for new expertise in the workforce [increase] and the capacity of traditional education systems proves that it is not capable of meeting the need in a cost-effective manner.

    These career changes will require retooling, training and education. The adult learners will not be able to visit physical campuses to access this learning; they will learn online. I anticipate the further development and distribution of holoportation technologies such as those developed by Microsoft using HoloLens for real-time, three-dimensional augmented reality. These teaching tools will enable highly sophisticated interactions and engagement with students at a distance. They will further fuel the scaling of learning to reach even more massive online classes.

    Thinkering Studio: Supporting Self-Directed Learning

    As these tools evolve over the next decade, the academics we work with expect to see radical change in training and workforce development, which will roll into although probably against a longer timeline more traditional institutions of higher learning. Many respondents said real-world, campus-based higher education will continue to thrive during the next decade.

    They said a residential university education helps build intangible skills that are not replicable online and thus deepens the skills base of those who can afford to pay for such an education, but they expect that job-specific training will be managed by employers on the job and via novel approaches.

    The most important skills to have in life are gained through interpersonal experiences and the liberal arts. Frank Elavsky.