The world witnessed different forms of learning in recent times. Educators and learners came across the concepts of virtual learning and personalized learning environments. Moreover, they were also exposed to ideas like project-based learning, passion-based learning, competency-based learning, and inquiry-based learning. A new form of learning has also joined this bandwagon and is referred to as connections-based learning. These learning methodologies are developed to provide more meaningful and personal guidance to students. Today, we will focus on connections-based learning and how it impacts the growth and development of learners.
What is Connections-based Learning?
Connections-based learning is a pedagogical approach that focuses on community learning. In this learning, teachers connect their students to experts, communities, and organizations to encourage knowledge transfer. Many teachers who are leveraging this form of learning say that connections-based learning gives real-world experience to students that cannot be recreated otherwise.
We live in a world where everything and everyone are connected. These connections can make us learn new things every day; therefore, taking advantage of personal connections is recommended in connections-based learning. Educators can use this learning form to motivate students and help them solve real-world problems.
How to Encourage Connections-based Learning?
Connections-based learning can be leveraged by adopting the learning strategies mentioned below.
Community engagement in education is vital as it ensures quality education by removing all obstacles on the learning path. Community involvement in education has shown positive outcomes and has helped students and teachers participate actively in curriculum development.
Reasons for engaging experts, students, and communities in education
- Connections-based learning leads to an in-depth understanding of problems and offers suggestions or corrective measures for the same. Various educational problems can be managed at the school level by developing a different perspective.
- Community engagement enhances learning opportunities. Teachers, students, parents, and experts work together to understand what they can do to provide the best learning solutions to kids.
- Encourages proper utilization of resources and prevents resources from getting obsolete.
- Community engagement in education strengthens the relationship between different stakeholders. It provides an opportunity for teachers to learn from each other. Likewise, students can learn from their fellows and also from expert teachers.
Principles for effective community engagement in education
The principles of community engagement are mentioned below.
- Establish and maintain trust: To build a mutually beneficial relationship, establishing and maintaining trust is mandatory. Community members can build credibility through clear communication, regular consultation, and reliable follow-through. They should have a clear understanding of guidelines, rules, and regulations needed to encourage a supportive and nurturing learning environment.
- Education initiatives are community driven: Educational experts, teachers, students, and parents work together to foster a positive learning environment. Moreover, they frame different educational policies to shape the learning momentum.
- Flexibility in education programs: Community engagement in education can take different forms depending on the circumstances, needs, goals, and the outcomes they need to achieve. They can develop multiple models to know what they can do to provide the best learning resources to kids.
The above-mentioned principles must be followed when developing a community for educational progress. When focusing on connections-based learning, the interest of every stakeholder must be considered. Moreover, there should be room for trial and error, and community members should be given the liberty to experiment during the teaching-learning process.
Expert learning can improve students’ achievement as it exposes them to new perspectives. Moreover, expert guidance is more likely to help them develop their thinking. Building a positive relationship with an expert improves the learning outcome as it exposes students to real-life situations and encourages them to use their knowledge and understanding to solve the stated problem. Students can engage with experts in both online and offline modes. They can leverage video conferencing or meet the experts in person.
Applying the gathered knowledge to support a social cause is also important. Connections-based learning help students develop the necessary skills that are required to support an organization or a social cause. Students and teachers can select any organization that requires external support.
Enhancing the learning outcomes of students is vital for every teacher. Today, teachers are willing to collaborate with other classes to improve the learning pace and experiences of their students. This opportunity also helps them learn different classroom trends.
These four practices can help educators provide the best learning experiences to their students. Teachers, specialized personnel, parents, and other stakeholders can work together to improve the quality of education and provide the best to students.
What Happens When Teachers Connect With Students & Industry Experts?
Teachers are drivers of change. When they connect with students, a lot can happen. As and when the connection grows strong, teachers can understand the views of their students. They are more likely to understand what their students expect from the learning process. Here are some other benefits of connecting with students and experts.
1. They consider new ideas
Interacting with students will help teachers understand if their students are on the right track. They can encourage students to share their ideas and can promote the ideas they like the most. Likewise, interacting with peers will help educators understand different teaching methodologies. They know how their peers are managing their classes and what they can do to ensure a nurturing learning space for students. Moreover, they will understand what other teachers are doing and how they can use the experiences of their peers.
2. They learn the art of understanding others
When teachers interact with experts, they can find common ground. Moreover, they try to understand how their approach is different from those of the experts. This motivates them to perform better and devote more time to teaching students the right way. Similarly, interacting with students helps educators to understand what their students think of classroom teaching. They also learn if their students are satisfied with the teaching style.
3. They learn from experts with specialized knowledge
Teachers may think they are experts in a particular subject or technology; however, interaction with peers will help them understand if their claim is right. They can utilize this situation to learn and grow. An educator can learn from other educators to provide a healthy environment for students.
4. They choose the terms of the connection
When teachers connect, they have the liberty to choose the terms of the connection. They can select how they want to build the connection. Should it be based on an online or offline mode?
Connecting with other teachers helps an educator broaden their horizons. Moreover, establishing a connection with other teachers also helps in personal development.
Why is Developing Meaningful Connections Crucial?
Making connections help the community develop a strong bond with other members. In addition, it provides the advantages mentioned below.
Developing positive relationships with different stakeholders within a community is likely to keep students and teachers motivated. It encourages a healthy teaching-learning environment. Each positive interaction creates a lasting impact on the mind.
Create a safe space for learning
Building psychological safety is critical for students as it helps them expand their boundaries. When students feel safe in the classroom, they are more likely to participate in classroom discussions. Teachers can provide psychological safety by praising the efforts instead of comparing the outcomes.
Improve student behavior
Early interaction with teachers shapes the behavior and social skills of students. Therefore, teachers should focus on developing an active bond with students.
Build new pathways for learning
Having background information on students helps teachers focus on the hobbies and interests of their students. Teachers can use this information to build a personalized learning experience. To foster new pathways for learning, teachers can ask students to share what they know about a particular topic.
Developing a robust and positive teacher-student relationship is vital for students' success. Moreover, it also improves the quality of education. Therefore, educators and learners must believe in developing a positive rapport that makes learning fun and engaging.
Suggested Read: Importance of Digital Collaboration in Classroom
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