STEM Foundation

Design for Learning: Breaking the Learning Monotony

Maintaining conventional teaching is no longer tenable in preparing our future workforce. NEF’s “Inventing the Future: Transforming STEM Economies” research report has introduced the concept of Deign for Learning™. Design for Learning is a methodology that intertwines technology, pedagogy and collaboration. It enables educational providers to create an interactive educational habitat that provides a true environment for thinking that stretches and supports the innovation abilities of students and optimises their participation in learning.

We have identified twelve components that provide the building blocks of the Design For Learning environment. These are:

  1. Multi-platform access: as a knowledge exchange hub that embraces open innovation, the polytechnic will need adopt a “collaboratory” approach that enables courses to be co-created and co-assessed with industry, using different collaborative methods and technology platforms

  2. Flexible delivery: accredited programmes are highly unitised and available to students in different delivery modes and formats to enable students to access the desired learning when and where they need it

  3. Adaptive learning: there should be significant emphasis on creating an adaptive learning environment – this is an interactive type of environment that utilises a wide variety of resources, including augmented reality that create real-life scenarios for learning.  It should enable students to follow different paths and pace their learning to reflect their individual intellectual capability and needs

  4. Interactivity: there should be an element of fun and purpose to the learning

  5. Cross curricular: courses are no longer separated into narrow silos, but combine several disciplines, creating a workforce that is more interoperable (employees can move more easily between sectors)

  6. Narrative: STEM learning should be placed into context so that students understand why they are carrying out certain tasks and how their learning can be applied in the real world

  7. Discovery: students are encouraged to make their own discoveries and connections as they learn

  8. Relevancy: genuine data or real life scenarios should be used in the classroom and workshop. For example: Nova Labs in the USA is providing high school students with the same data that NASA that professional researchers use, to, say, build robots or track tropical storms. They are mixing fascinating narratives with big data to create a new kind of educational tool. In this way, high school students are able to compete and collaborate with professional researchers, scientists and engineers.

  9. Context: students develop awareness of how their learning can be applied across different sectors, applications and situations

  10. Assessment: students receive continual feedback - as if they were playing a computer game – gaining confidence as their competencies develop. The use of gamification will enhance the validation of learning. For example, international education company Kaplan has developed a gamification platform which, it says, can boost student grades by 9%

  11. Creative ownership: creativity is a practical skill. It encourages students to think differently. It makes them become more interested in discovering things for themselves. Students become more effective learners open to new ideas and challenges and are more able to solve problems and work collaboratively, thus developing a greater ownership over their learning. This improves the self-esteem and motivation

  12. Self realisation: self-awareness and realisation forms the foundation of personal growth and success. It is a skill that can be developed in students, leading to a greater sense of achievement and giving them confidence that they are ready to move on to the next level of study, or embark upon their chosen career path.



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STEM > Innovation Driven Education