Creating Opportunity: Empowering Learners Through Action

Student raising hand in lecture hall

Creating Opportunity: Empowering Learners Through Action

As the school year gets under way, teachers and parents are asking the age old question: what is the best way to help our students succeed? While 2012 may have been the Year of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), 2013 presents an expanding educational toolbox with personalized education becoming the way of the future. This is the year of empowered learners.

An empowered learner is someone who drives their own learning. They see the connections between their studies and their life – and the blurring line between the two – as access to information is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Empowered learners are entrepreneurial learners, able to see learning opportunities around every corner and willing to risk being wrong for the sake of gaining new insight or experience.

“What we are seeing is student-centered learning taken to the next level, and while technology has enabled this change, learners need to drive it.” Prepr Co-founder, Salar Chagpar explains further, “The focus is shifting to be more about the learning process, and the relevancy of the experience.” Prepr Foundation for Open Education and Innovation is a leader in the EdTech community; using experiential learning, Prepr helps spark students’ passion while preparing them for jobs that do not exist yet.

For parents and educators looking to inspire and empower young people, here are three powerful strategies that can be adapted for learners at any age:
Choice – Giving students choice in the projects they work on implies trust and respect. Also, giving them a forum to voice their praise and suggestions for the class is both advantageous to the teacher and empowering to the student.
Reflection – Learners need time to process their experiences and connect new ideas to old. It is also an opportunity for them to assess their progress and set learning goals.

Relevancy – Providing opportunities to engage with real world issues excites students. They see a purpose and will work much harder if they think their project will be viewed by a larger audience, and is of interest to others.
Empowering learners is about having conversations and creating an environment that supports learning. Whether at home, in the classroom, or online, personalized and learning is the way of the future.

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