Are your online learners struggling to put their knowledge into practice? Do you need to add more real-world context to your eLearning course? In this article, I’ll explore everything eLearning pros need to know about the Authentic Learning Model.
The Authentic Learning Model centers on self-guided exploration, group discussions, and real-world challenges. Online learners are able to apply their knowledge in a realistic and relatable context. For example, they utilize their newfound skills to complete a task during a virtual eLearning simulation, which reduces the workplace learning curve. This Instructional Design approach also combines online group collaboration with self-guided instruction to provide meaningful eLearning experiences. Here are 7 tips to use the Authentic Learning Model in your eLearning course design.
Authentic Learning centers on real-world challenges and situations. Online learners are able to apply what they’ve learned in a realistic context, which allows them to use the ideas and concepts in their daily lives, instead of merely memorizing theories. Thus, it’s essential to incorporate real-world activities that mimic these obstacles and environments, such as eLearning simulations and branching scenarios that encourage online learners to apply their skills and pre-existing knowledge base. For example, a team-building activity wherein online learners must resolve conflicts and communicate with their collaborators to hone their Project Management skills.
A core component of the Authentic Learning Model is higher-order thinking. Online learners must be able to actually evaluate, organize, and then apply the information to solve practical problems. They should also have the opportunity to form their own assumptions based on the data, as well as assign meaning to the eLearning content. In the real world, the information that we’ve stored in our mental schema can be used in a variety of ways, not simply in contextual settings. Thus, eLearning experiences must encourage online learners to manipulate and summarize the information. For example, develop learner-generated content that puts the subject matter into their own words. This may be in the form of a presentation, infographic, video, or other learning materials that gauge their level of understanding.
Online group collaboration projects allow online learners to explore different perspectives and benefit from the experience of their peers. The Authentic Learning Model involves a high degree of social interaction, as online learners must be able to engage in meaningful online discussions and play an active role in your online learning community. Create social media groups and forums to facilitate peer-to-peer interactions. You can also invite online learners to break into teams to solve problems collectively and build interpersonal skills, which are essential in day-to-day life. Online group collaboration projects also encourage peer-based feedback. Online learners have the ability to identify personal areas for improvement, then rely on the skills and expertise of their peers to help them bridge the gaps.
Sometimes all it takes is a carefully crafted question to ignite an online discussion and enhance the relevancy of your eLearning course. Authentic Learning encourages online learners to think for themselves and explore the problem from every angle. For example, a question prompts them to research the subject matter and explore different perspectives. They must seek out the answers on their own and evaluate the information, then determine the best course of action based on the data and pre-existing knowledge.
Personalization is an essential part of the Authentic Learning Model. Every member of your audience deals with different challenges in their daily lives. Likewise, they each have unique learning objectives and outcomes that drive them. As such, it’s wise to incorporate personalized learning paths that allow individuals to pursue relevant learning goals at their own pace. Provide them with a clickable eLearning course map or a microlearning online training library that they can access asynchronously. In addition, assess and survey your online learners beforehand to learn as much as possible about their backgrounds, preferences, and needs. This enables you to develop custom eLearning content that resonates with them and centers on their real-world problems and challenges.
Real-world examples, stories, and case studies shed a more realistic light on the subject matter. Online learners can relate to the eLearning characters and see how the information is used in a real-world context. For instance, the real-world example explores how a sales employee uses their communication and active listening skills to address a customer’s concerns. Thus, online learners are able to determine how they would apply those same skills to improve their work performance. Even if they aren’t in the sales department, they can still assimilate the fundamentals and use them in a different context.
At the heart of the Authentic Learning Model is a real-world problem or obstacle. Challenges that we encounter in our daily lives become our primary focal point. We strive to seek answers and figure out how to remedy the issue. Therefore, a problem-centered Instructional Design approach adds relevancy and meaning to the subject matter. Online learners are more likely to participate when the ideas or concepts presented are familiar. This increases their motivation and engagement, because they know that the information will be of use to them. It’s not just a theoretical exploration of the topic, but facts and stats that will benefit their everyday lives. Build your learning materials around a pragmatic problem, even if it’s a fictional account. Just make sure it allows online learners to connect the dots between the key takeaways and real-world dilemmas.
The Authentic Learning Model improves knowledge retention and real-world application. Online learners have the power to hone their skills and abilities at their own pace. However, they can also make the most of social learning opportunities. Authentic Learning also helps online learners assimilate and retain the subject matter more effectively, as they are able to personalize the learning process and tackle challenges from multiple angles.
Imparting knowledge is one thing, but showing online learners how they can use it in their real lives makes the eLearning experience memorable. Read the article 7 Tips For Using Real World Examples In eLearning to discover 7 tips that you can use to write winning real world examples in eLearning.