5 STAR LEARNING HELPS TO BUILD BETTER COMMUNITIES
Our definition of 5 Star learning is ‘E-learning integrated with the best of other teaching/learning methodologies.’ Active learning is hot and understandably so, combining the best features of online learning (e.g., 24/7 accessibility) with the best features of classroom instruction (e.g., live, face-to-face interaction).
Students, their families and their mentors should be able to access, exchange and use information/knowledge more economically, efficiently and effectively. Through an integrated mix of electronic and face-to-face deliveries students of all ages and backgrounds should be able to access what they really want, and not what the traditional providers wanted them to want.
Research has shown that students and their families will willingly commit and pay for the things they value most:
- All year-round, culturally-appropriate learning;
- High-quality personal learning resources;
- Being serviced at a location and to a timetable which is personally convenient;
- Small group sizes with high levels of interactivity, guided by a local and suitably-skilled mentor; and
- Access to computing facilities and electronic networks with a minimum of queuing.
Our 5 Star learning packages are built utilising understandings of the ways people learn. We have also considered the various factors involving costs, audiences, quality controls and their ability to deliver. They address three important aspects of knowledge acquisition:
- Skill-driven learning, which combines self-paced learning with instructor or facilitator support to develop specific knowledge and skills;
- Attitude-driven learning, which mixes various events and delivery media to develop specific behaviours; and
- Competency-driven learning, which blends performance support tools with knowledge management resources and mentoring to develop workplace competencies.
Skill-driven Learning can involve online discussion forums, and face-to-face meetings with self-paced learning activities.
This is analogous to a chemical reaction, in which interaction with the instructor or facilitator acts as a catalyst to achieve the desired reaction. According to a 2000 survey by the Masie Center, 88% of learners and 91% of managers recommend that the trainer or facilitator be an active part of the online training program. Survey respondents placed a high value on having the trainer monitor progress and contact the learner, evaluate online project work, build and facilitate an online community for the course participants, and are available via email or threaded discussion to respond to content questions. It’s clear that combining self-paced learning with facilitator support keeps the learner from feeling isolated, which assists in the successful completion of the self-paced modules.
Behaviour-driven learning blends traditional classroom-based learning with online collaborative learning events. Our active learning resources use this approach to teach content that requires learners to try out new behaviours in a risk-free environment.
Competency-driven learning although parts of the decision-making processes are guided by common facts and working principles, students also need tacit knowledge. Students absorb tacit knowledge through observation and interaction with experienced practitioners and others.
Active Learning provides choice, and also requires unremitting multi-stakeholder effort. We must all commit ourselves to remain fully engaged – nationally, regionally and internationally – and continue to source, introduce, encourage and evaluate creative, innovative, healthy and sustainable activities and programs
Those commitments include:
- Building ICT capacity for all – including youth, older persons, women, indigenous peoples, those with disabilities, and remote and rural communities – through the improvement and delivery of relevant education and training programmes and systems;
- Implementing effective training and education that motivates and promotes participation and active involvement of girls and women;
- Enhancing the capacity of communities wherever they may be to develop content in local and/or indigenous languages;
- Strengthening the creation of quality e-content, at local, national, regional and international levels;
- Promoting the use of traditional and new media in order to foster universal access to information, culture and knowledge for all people, and using, inter alia, radio and television as educational and learning tools;
- Promoting voluntary service, especially at the community level; and
- Encouraging the use of ICTs to enhance flexible ways of working, including teleworking, leading to greater productivity and job creation.
The starting point for any initiative must be the creation of an objective domain in which the specific learning objectives of learning resources are defined.
Based on these understandings the suggested activity must take advantage of how students learn, in order to best choose the specific delivery mechanisms to create the final learning outcome.
We should longer be content with ‘Just in Case’ curriculum (you need to know this just in case you will need it sometime in the future) but on ‘Just in Time’ knowledge that can be accessed when required, and also ME-Learning.
We must provide opportunities for learner choice, but also be SMART.
This stresses the need for a specific goal or goals. The goals must be clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. They must tell exactly what is expected, why is it important, who could be involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.
This stresses the need for ways to measure progress toward the attainment of the goals. When a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether progress is being made. Measuring progress helps learners to stay on track, reach target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs on the continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.
This stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. The goals should be neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When learners identify goals that are the most important to them, they begin to figure out ways they can make them come true. They develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them.
This stresses the importance of making goals relevant. A relevant goal must represent an objective that the goal-setter is willing and able to work towards.
This stresses the importance of setting goals within a time frame; providing a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps focus efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization. 5 Star learning resources extend the traditional ‘3 R’s’ of reading, ‘riting amd ‘rithmatic by promoting respect (for self and others), relationships (within our families and our communities) and rights and responsibilities (because one cannot exist without the other).