What is the Future of Learning in a Digital Age ?
This is undeniably a hot topic of discussion and many educators assert that traditional approaches to learning and teaching are changing.
Tim Berners Lee is credited as being the “Inventor of the World Wide Web" an innovation that has provided pervasive access to knowledge through technology. This universal access to information is reconceptualising what learning is about, ‘It’s not what you know’ –‘it’s how you can learn’ and find out where this information is available, and having the ability to apply new knowledge.
Sir Ken Robinson Speaks about the skills of learning how to learn; and how we need to develop a creative adaptability for learning and problem solving Web 2 commonly describes the participatory nature of the internet; this also influences models of learning, changing from an individual approach to learning to a model of many learners working together, thus impacting the process of learning where learning is becoming a more social and virtual process.
Traditional education has been strongly associated with the lecture-based didactic model, but increased access to information and ability to participate with others across networks is the beginning of a new paradigm of education. This perhaps has the potential to transform traditional models of university education
The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) initiative leverages both of these factors (the accessible nature of knowledge, and participatory nature of the web) to provide online courses, providing ‘free’ higher education to the general public. Some examples of MOOCs are https://www.futurelearn.com/, https://www.coursera.org/, https://www.edx.org/
Other initiatives such as the sharing of open educational resources are provided by many educational institutions. Licencing models such as creative commons are becoming more popular where discipline experts advocate an approach to sharing materials and knowledge for free, while protecting the intellectual property.
This opens up new futures for learning and indeed new cohorts of learners as we move from formal modes of learning delivery to provision of learning for those who wish to partake in informal and personal learning.