All The Information You Need About The Authentic Learning Model
Many educational models emphasize the importance of real-world knowledge application, and the authentic learning model is no exception. The model’s central belief is that students who focus on the learning process are more likely to succeed. Thus, educators need to engage them by providing practical examples, allowing them to develop their problem-solving skills and put everything into context. So, let’s dive into the authentic learning model, including how to implement it and how it optimizes your students’ educational experience.
The Model’s Principles
Everything that students learn should be relevant, meaning it should be applicable in the real world and allow them to test their knowledge in their everyday lives. This aims to help students make connections between what they learn and what they experience.
Students should actively participate in the learning process as much as possible. This can include initiating class conversations, expressing their ideas, problem-solving, and asking questions.
It’s not enough for students to know how to apply what they’ve learned. They also need to be able to identify where they can do that without assistance. So, reflection is an integral part of authentic learning, as it indicates the success of the entire educational experience.
Authentic learning is based on collaboration, whether between students or teachers. This encourages sharing ideas and different opinions so that learners can see things from different perspectives and pool their knowledge to explore possible solutions.
As an educator or eLearning professional, don’t hesitate to be creative with assessing the model’s effectiveness in various ways. This is needed to test the student’s knowledge in various aspects so that you know the information sticks.
What Are The Benefits Of The Authentic Learning Model?
Increase Motivation And Retention
Authentic learning provides students with meaningful learning content that piques their interest. This, in turn, makes them more engaged and motivates them to participate in lessons and get the most from the activities so that they can move from theory to practice. They also retain more of what they’ve learned since they have the chance to apply it in familiar settings.
Build Critical-Thinking And Problem-Solving Skills
According to the model, students are required to think critically when they’re presented with complex problems that they need to analyze and evaluate. To solve those problems, they ask questions and draw from their existing knowledge, which helps them to connect new ideas to preexisting concepts.
Improve Communication Skills
Students collaborate with each other throughout the learning process in order to solve problems. This encourages the development of communication skills, as they must work together to achieve shared goals. Students must also develop conflict resolution skills since everyone has different personality traits and opinions.
Challenges And Limitations
Lessons designed using the authentic model may be time-consuming because educators have to conduct thorough research to find case studies and create complex problems. This can be a challenge, especially if they already have other teaching responsibilities. For example, students may be asked to volunteer at a place in need. In such cases, educators must research the facility where students will offer their help, and the students themselves will have to create a plan of action. Specifically, students will have to decide how each one can contribute and how they’ll distribute their work.
To create the educational content required for this model, educators may need to obtain resources they don’t currently have, like funding for excursions and equipment. For instance, students may need to conduct an investigation into a local problem, like their town’s air pollution. Then, they will need to collect and analyze data from air quality monitors and analyze them, but they may not have access to labs and equipment. To navigate this challenge, educators may need to repurpose their available resources, ask for help from experts, or organize fundraising events.
Authentic learning requires developing several skills, which can make assessment difficult. After all, there isn’t always a right or wrong way to solve a problem, making it tricky for professionals to test. Therefore, educators can encourage self-assessments, where students will identify their strengths and gaps during the learning process, or peer assessments, where they will comment on each other’s work and overall collaboration.
Since the model relies on real-world problems and scenarios, this can limit some subjects and learning topics. Educators must develop content that aligns with the learning goals and objectives and can be applied across many areas to ensure that their students will develop a broad range of skills. Also, educators should deliver content that addresses specific skills. For example, it should be designed according to each learner’s job duties or area of study to ensure they’ll receive relevant content.
How To Implement The Model Effectively
First, educators and eLearning pros should decide on what skills they want their students to develop. Those must be associated with real-world cases to help students identify what is expected of them and which goals they’ll achieve. For instance, if an educator is creating content about environmental issues, students must research, analyze the information and focus on solving the core problems. In that case, learners will know that the course focuses on specific skills or competencies and that they’ll be asked to perform certain tasks.
Give learners additional resources to work on their problem-solving, and if needed, participate in additional mini-lessons that address their questions and offer them tips. You can also monitor their efforts and intervene if they’re not heading in the right direction.
Use Multiple Assessments
You need to implement various assessment strategies to assess students’ skills accurately. These can be in the form of feedback, informing them on how they’re doing during the process, and assessments at the end of the project, which will give them an overall evaluation of their performance.
Lastly, evaluate the process itself. Ask students for feedback on the holistic experience and reflect on your strategy. Use their comments and learning data, if possible, to continually fine-tune your approach and enrich your curriculum.
The authentic learning model can be instrumental in preparing students for their future careers and academic pursuits, as it creates a meaningful and contextual learning experience. It allows you to tap into your knowledge as an educator, collaborate with your colleagues, and create compelling lessons that put knowledge and skills into practice. If you’re interested in learning more, follow along with our Instructional Design Models and Theories list to find the theory or model that’s ideal for your objectives and target audience.