Monthly Archives: September 2015

There is a case for 21st Century Learning

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Andreas Schleicher

Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Directorate

Schleicher talks about the need to break free of our single-discipline silos and make the paradigm shifts required to ready learners for 21st century work. It’s a 360 degree shift from teaching disparate parts to encouraging learners to connect the parts.  He laments that previously we chunked our problems into manageable bits but that we need to synthesise them once again, even to the point of connecting what was thought to be previously unrelated. Competency-based learning immediately comes to mind when I think about this comment. Universities are looking to adopt CBT but this appears to be in the opposite direction to that suggested here.  Aren’t disparate parts the basis of CBT?

Schleicher makes the important point that curation skills are paramount and there is also reference to horizontal rather than vertical knowledge acquisition, eloquently described. Vertical refers to push-style consumption of knowledge from teacher to learner, where horizontal knowledge acquisition results from the learner being connected to a range of different networks from which they pull information. The idea being that learners will be more engaged in knowledge building and be more likely to retain it if they work with others rather than being instructor-fed.

A good summary article but I believe that one last paragraph could be added that relates to the benefits to learning content creation skills both individually and in groups. Unpacking newly acquired knowledge, perhaps applying that learned through horizontal knowledge acquisition and then feeding forward to the networks once again in any number of different formats, would add to the description of the place of the learner in this new paradigm.

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