From content to context- how concept-based learnings get students closer to the real world

Concept-based learning embarks critical thinking among learners such that they know ‘when’ and ‘how’ to use whatever they have learned.

Traditional learning allowed students to learn about an assorted range of subjects.
Traditional learning allowed students to learn about an assorted range of subjects.

By Nachiket Bhatia

The way students view the world or what they do in it is all developed during their course of education. The schools and other educational institutions lay the groundwork for students’ earliest perspectives on the world. If these institutions do not provide them with the right ambiance to develop, they will eventually fail to cope with the world.

Traditional learning allowed students to learn about an assorted range of subjects. However, it has remained far from the real-world job atmosphere that students may encounter in the future. 21st-century employment opportunities demand continuous and lifelong learning. Thus given the traditional learning system ‘Will students be able to cope in the real world? Will they bag a good employment opportunity by just being ‘exam smart’?

The answer is no, not in the least in this highly competitive world. Today it is essential for students to think critically – to meet the present and forthcoming problems with the best solutions and to generate innovative new ideas.

Benefits of concepts based learning

Concept-based learning embarks critical thinking among learners such that they know ‘when’ and ‘how’ to use whatever they have learned. Standalone facts have no relevance in concept-based learning unless implications and derivations support them. It is in alignment to increase real-world understanding of whatever the students study.

The rigid, or knowledge-based, approach to learning makes the knowledge only relevant up till the exam of any particular subject. Thereafter, that knowledge is likely to become obsolete. While the transferable, conceptual understanding of concept-based learning allows the students to understand the real world through what they learn. It encourages deep learning through analysis, synthesis and evaluation while simultaneously implying lifelong learning.

It prepares a learning community that participates in global concerns through inquiry, action, and reflection. The concept-based curriculum blends three dimensions: what students know, what they do with it and what they understand from it. This helps in designing theories from mere facts and thus, we indulge in an in-depth knowledge and ‘big ideas’ through this type of learning.

An inventive, concept-based curriculum stimulates the students’ brains and emotions beyond a standard curriculum. It assists’ learners in transferring their information across study domains. It is one of the most effective methods for honing students’ creativity, leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking skills while also boosting their emotional intelligence. It also introduces the students to broad ideas such as transition, balance, individuality, and systems.

It motivates students to discuss and engage actively by making them understand rather than making them mug up the concepts. With concept-based learning, there is very little need to remember more. Its goal is to help students comprehend the fundamental concepts and retain them rather than just giving them a layer of crucial but superficial knowledge. Thus, it makes them better prepared to enter the workforce.

Digital transformation has helped in the implementation of concept based learning through the use of audio and visual tools. These tools allow for a better explanation of different concepts to the students. STEM edtech players are proactively taking actions to disseminate this type of learning. Its reach has increased in rural as well as urban areas particularly because of the fast adoption of IT during the pandemic.

Conclusion

When rote-learning methods persist, students become accustomed to shallow factual-based learning. Then, we cannot expect them to be aware of the inmost subject knowledge when traditional knowledge itself remains surficial. The essence of the preceding sentence is that, in today’s competitive world, students must be equipped with information that they can utilise in their everyday lives.

Children must be inquisitive to become productive citizens who possess broad mental and emotional perspectives. And implementing concept-based learning can lead the students to become critical thinkers of today and productive citizens of tomorrow.

The author CEO, Dr Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute and E-Gurukul.

Read also: DU’S NCWEB invites application for appointment of guest faculties

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