Learning through 'Connecting the Dots'
Welcome to Connective Learning
(formerly ReThinking Education)
'Connective learning' offers a deeper approach to modern education that emphasises and develops critical life skills, while providing greater depth of content by 'learning through doing'. We're now in the midst of shifting from an 'information overload' age to an era of 'pattern recognition', where the focus is on sorting, categorising, and finding patterns to derive meaning from a cacophony of Data.
Since scientists have been developing AI systems to mimic human learning, we've gained a deeper understanding of how humans learn best. Key to development of human intelligence is the ability for recognising patterns and layering information, which creates a framework that roots the individual learner in the center. Western civilisation experienced 'connective learning' during the Renaissance period, when some of the most famous minds were encouraged to embrace multi-disciplinary enquiry and draw parallels between different fields of studies as true polymaths.
Education in the 21st century is in the process of evolving into a fusion of disciplines at the highest level of learning, as hyphenated occupations like 'astro-physicist' and 'behavioural economist' become the norm. Yet our primary and secondary classrooms are still remnants of the Victorian Era, where the mainstream approach to learning still prioritises memorisation of fragmented information to prepare for standardised exams.
So how can we make this modern-day transition to 'connective learning' happen? For a start, we can go back to the drawing board to redefine the desired outcomes of baseline skills and core knowledge that should be a part of the 21st century curriculum. Explore the links below to some teaching resources and articles designed to support this transition, especially useful for project-based learning. These practical tools can help foster 'connective learning' in any educational setting*.
21st CENTURY 'LIFE SKILLS'
Expanding our definition of 'successful learning' should include important life skills that our children will need in order to thrive, and not just survive. These include:
Social & Emotional Intelligence
Any course of study needs to be dynamically updated whenever technology and innovation change the everyday world. We're in the midst of the greatest amount of change since the Industrial Revolution, and perhaps far greater. Many call this the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and our children need to not only be aware of the change happening in the world around them, but have a clear understanding of their place within that landscape. That should be the goal of a complete education. There are many new fields of study (and fusion of existing ones) that need to be included in any well-rounded education.
Download a reuseable assessment spreadsheet to help track these skills:
LEARNING BY DOING
There are more active forms of engaging learners that have been used in various education systems over decades. Project-based learning is one pedagogy that allows greater independent engagement and facilitates the development of life skills. Topic-based learning is another approach that helps to give the 'bigger picture' that connects pieces of knowledge together by joining the dots. See the reference section for more sites that provide educational resources and instruct how to use these pedagogies in any form of education.
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Recent Blog Articles
*Note: the material presented here has evolved from 'trial & error' during the author's journey into ideal learning with her own children. The first phase involved trialling 'radical' ideas within the state education system (like flexi-schooling and topic-based learning). But, the rigidity of the existing system pushed back, so the family gradually migrated to the freedom of home education. The main goal of Connective Learning is to openly contemplate what 'best pedagogy and curriculum' for 21st century learning looks like...and then explore how to scale it for use in larger educational settings. Both larger classroom and individualised settings have their pluses and minuses, just as educational needs vary from family to family (even child to child). Indeed, there is no 'one size fits all' approach to Learning.
(more details about this journey can be found in the Blog articles above)