Towards engaged pedagogy: It is important to safeguard linkages between formal and non-formal learning

November 9, 2020 5:25 AM

An educator can easily gather materials that can demonstrate real-world tasks, such as creating models, giving examples and preparing presentations.

Opportunities for self-directed and non-formal online learning are likely to play an important role in learning, especially in the post-Covid-19 economy.Opportunities for self-directed and non-formal online learning are likely to play an important role in learning, especially in the post-Covid-19 economy.

By Bindu Bhadana

“Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” These words, by Benjamin Franklin, are an excellent way in which to understand the value of an engaged pedagogy in inquiry-based learning. It is the dynamic relationship between learning, teaching and culture that underlies meaningful pedagogy.

Pedagogy ranges from teacher-centred pedagogy and learner-centred one. Effective pedagogy involves using the ideal pedagogy in different contexts to support learning outcomes. In a learner-centred pedagogy, the teacher is a facilitator.

Within the principles of pedagogy, a shift from teaching to learning can be discerned that focuses on learner engagement with meaningful class interaction, building on prior learning through an innovative designing of curriculum, alignment of assessment with both the curriculum and learner needs, and alignment of new pedagogical practices that take into account existing cultural contexts.

While the success of any learning environment is determined by the degree of alignment amongst goals, content, pedagogical design, learner tasks, technological needs and assessment, the most misaligned factor is assessment. Simply put, educators may have lofty goals, high-quality content and even advanced instructional designs, but most tend to focus their assessment strategies on what is easy to measure rather than on what is important. Credible evaluation and assessment should test the application of knowledge and encompass all learning domains: cognitive, affective and psychomotor.

Making learning trajectories explicit for students can help promote reflection and potentially enhance the quality of their learning processes. When teaching an academic skill, it is important to facilitate the learning processes of students by stimulating them to recall prior knowledge, and relate it to new knowledge.

An educator can easily gather materials that can demonstrate real-world tasks, such as creating models, giving examples and preparing presentations. However, the greatest learning occurs when the students know that the knowledge is critically important to obtain, and it is for this reason that the most meaningful learning occurs within real-world tasks.

Pedagogy and Covid-19
Opportunities for self-directed and non-formal online learning are likely to play an important role in learning, especially in the post-Covid-19 economy. The crisis has highlighted the need for training educators and employing new methods of education delivery. It is important to ensure that educators work with differentiated learning strategies and suitably adapt pedagogical and assessment skills.

Now there is a much closer integration of classroom and online teaching under blended or hybrid learning as a flexible style, through a mix of pedagogies and approaches where classroom time is reduced but not eliminated, with substantial time being used for online learning.

A successful integrated model of blended teaching and learning entails a rethinking of teaching and learning practice as well as classroom layouts, as more interaction takes place, involving students, educators and outside experts who participate in-person or virtually.

It is important to safeguard linkages between formal and non-formal learning as students access diverse content, free of charge, from multiple sources via the internet and freely choose between alternative interpretations, areas of interest, and even sources of accreditation. Strictly managing a set curriculum in terms of limited content becomes less meaningful as the emphasis shifts to deciding what is important or relevant within a subject domain by the students themselves.

As a result, within the framework of learning objectives, more flexible approaches to content choice, presentation and assessment are emerging.

The author is professor, Anant National University, Ahmedabad

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