The digital revolution is making education in highly technical fields like engineering and design more accessible, engaging, and flexible. This evolution has helped educators rethink how they deliver their content and look to a classroom model that seamlessly integrates technology, mobile devices, and independent learning with face-to-face interaction and collaboration. Below are four techniques an increasing amount of educators are implementing to complement learning in the digital age.
- Hands-on learning: Include hands-on learning opportunities that teach students how topics are relevant to their lives. Before the digital revolution, hands-on learning experiences were relegated to field trips. Now, students can interact through digital resources without ever leaving the classroom.
- Flipped classrooms:In a traditional classroom, many instructors do not have time to answer questions during their lectures because of the extensive content they have to cover in a short amount of class time. In a flipped classroom, students have the opportunity to go over digital lectures as many times as they need and bring questions to class for discussion. This increases student engagement and opens the door for more opportunities for hands-on learning and active discussions in the classroom.
- Microlearning: Studies show that students learn better and remember more information through small “bite sized” chunks, rather than lengthy lessons. Attention spans are dropping and shorter, targeted lessons helps students focus on key concepts. Digital learning resources are moving towards concise lessons interspersed with complimentary visuals and activities that keep students more engaged than lengthy, monotonous lessons.
- Diversify learning: There are many types of learners. Some learn through seeing, some through hearing, some through touching, and some through the combination of the three. There are many tools to help diversify the learning experience, including podcasts, online videos, mind maps, and diagrams for students now available as digital resources.
The digital age has revolutionized the way instructors teach and the way students learn. Student habits have changed and educators should be aware. It is imperative for instructors to understand and integrate these techniques into their everyday curriculum to best maximize student learning.
Tony Glockler is the co-founder of SolidProfessor, an online learning company that specializes in software applications used in engineering and design. His passion is combining the best of instructional design and technology to help students, engineers and designers become more effective. Through SolidProfessor, Tony has helped schools and design teams keep up with their rapidly evolving software tools with an on-going guided learning experience. To learn more, visit www.SolidProfessor.com