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Why Digital Learning Adoption Decisions are not Simultaneous Amongst Educators

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Have you ever wondered why educators don’t all adopt digital teaching and learning at the same time? Why do some seem to jump right in, while others wait to see the results of implementation of an innovation before testing the water? We advise our educational managers to consider these questions.

The answers are the same as the reasons why a one-size-fits-all approach to preparing educators for digital teaching and learning doesn’t work either. That is, each educator will make their individual decision when to adopt an innovation which is based on a number of factors including organisational, past experiences and their propensity to adopt change.

As educational institutions often find themselves floundering to remain abreast of successive changes in digital teaching and learning, they rely on the innovators and early adopters to lead the way, but this is a flawed approach as the complex needs of other groups of educators who require support and mentoring are not being met. This is essentially why digital teaching and learning in Australia is not being adopted efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of our 21st century learners, k-12 and beyond.

In search of some alternative approaches to encourage adoption of innovations, Rogers (1995) diffusion of innovations bell-shaped curve provides some useful hints on how we might handle educator support. It will also confirm why a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work simply because of the dominant characteristics of five distinctly different groups of educators, innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. Recognising the various characteristics of these groups and their position on the adoption curve is a start. The next step is to move individuals to a stage of adoption so that all learners will benefit from digital teaching and learning. Through review and experience, these are the characteristics of each of the groups and approaches to assist with adoption of digital teaching and learning which have proven invaluable to us at CloudEd. Characteristics and Approaches

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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