Developing Learner Autonomy in K-12 Classrooms
As learning is going hybrid, the value attached to ‘Learner Autonomy’ has risen, both for educators and learners. Learner autonomy has never before been more relevant than it is today. Building learner autonomy, will allow Rhea a 10-year-old to assume responsibility of her learning while her teacher acts as an auxiliary facilitator – providing the right experience, motivation and direction to her.
In the new National Education Policy, measures have been introduced to make a shift from instructor led to student led classrooms through experiential approach and use of technology. Undoubtedly learners would benefit from the execution of this approach, but they are more likely to have a ‘buy in’, if they are given a choice to select what and how to learn.
Learner autonomy rests on three key pillars – Access, Ownership and Motivation.
In the best of schools today, the experience is a one size fits all with standard resources and assessments. Stringent syllabus, rigorous assessments and grade structure limit personalization of learning. The first step to building learner autonomy is to provide unrestricted access to a bank of simple and easy to use resources adhering to a basic curriculum. These resources and assessments should allow learners to explore topics of interest and find out their areas of strength and improvement using formative assessments.
Secondly, learner autonomy requires a robust self-directed learning framework where the ownership is with learners, to self-assess their readiness to learn, define their own goals, choose resources as per their learning preferences and monitor their progress against milestones defined by educators. The autonomy to learners is in mode, resources frequency, extent of learning and the environment, which could be collaborative and sometimes competitive.
Lastly, development of learner autonomy depends on motivation which stems from learner engagement in areas of curriculum and assessment. The learning experience must have inbuilt engagement as a “hook” to capture learners’ attention through new age experiences of virtual and augmented reality, gamification and more which will inspire learners to keep learning. How often have we come across learners who have a love for learning? How often have we met learners who would choose reading comprehension or logical reasoning over
browsing social feed?
Now the biggest question is how do you provide this autonomy to learners at the same time ensuring the solution offers a flexibility to teachers also to deliver the curriculum in the hybrid environment. One of the options available for the same is to implement a Learning Management System (LMS) in the institute. An LMS platform being a one stop hub, gives the learners access to a variety of self-directed learning resources, like video lectures, multimedia, interactive assignments and a range of assessments which challenge and scaffold through feedback mechanism. Learners get the freedom to learn without boundaries of time, pace and place.
A recently launched blended solution called Altura – Advancing Learning and Teaching Using Resources and Assessments, by Macmillan Education ignites curiosity in learners through simple content and triggers extension of learning within flexible and reasonable curricular boundaries. Through compatibility to Voice enabled support for learning Grammar, Altura enables learners to pick language skills in context, through conversations which can go on for as long as they want them to! What will appeal most to learners in Altura, is a suite of challenges and quizzes to build independent learning pathways through recommendation and remediation.
School leaders and educators are ruminating on workable schooling models post COVID. In the times to come, K-12 educators will have to redefine teaching learning, in a hybrid mode of learning. We know that learning is both cognitive and emotional – hence solutions which drive interactivity, positive affirmation along with learner autonomy will succeed. With over 4000 tech enabled learning solutions in the making, we shall soon see learners owning and personalizing their learning journey; the party has just begun.
Vandana Rellan Juneja
Director – Marketing & New Initiatives
Macmillan Education India