How does Authentic Learning help in today’s education? – Part 1
Posted on: August 2, 2019.

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“Authentic Learning (AL, for our convenience) is a term used to describe instructional strategies that are designed to connect the subjects students are taught in school and universities to the real world”, says Marianne Stenger.

Authentic learning experiences helps students understand the relevance of what they are learning and how they can apply their skills in the professional world. Rather than discussing hypothetical situations or memorizing information, students are given opportunities to put their skills and knowledge to practical use in the development of solutions or products that will be of immediate benefit to their communities and the world at large.

A growing number of institutions are now looking to provide students with more AL experience by partnering up with local organizations. This includes exposing students to job shadowing initiatives, “Study Abroad” programs, and virtual internships or onsite apprenticeships.

Marianne Stenger shares ways of how this approach to teaching and learning can and is already benefitting students: AL prepares students for the real world more effectively than traditional classroom based learning and teaching.

For example, students might learn about advocating for a cause by actively participating in a local campaign. They might learn to express their ideas and opinions effectively through a variety of media by actually using social media platforms and blogs to start conversations and share ideas. They might even work on developing a product or service that will be used by real people, whether it is a website, app or an innovating solution to a problem like global warning.

AL helps students make informed career choices. Most of us had no idea what we wanted to be, in our twenties, let alone when we were seventeen/eighteen years old and this is why AL experiences are important. Research says one in three graduates end up being mismatched to the jobs they find after leaving college. It’s not because students are taking up the wrong courses; it’s because they lack a clear understanding of how their skills and aptitudes match different career options and which skills they need to break into certain industries/fields.

With AL they’ll be able to make informed decisions about the career they want to pursue or at least the direction they want to take their studies in. The skill gap can be fixed through AL approach. Small to medium sized businesses, according to researches, say that they can’t find the right staff to grow their company. Students should understand what employers in their  chosen field are looking for, and try to develop the right knowledge and skills before they leave college. AL helps them understand and develop…

…continued in the next part

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