Transcending Education

Transcending Education

Transcending Education

4 Ingredients to Create Meaningful Learning Experiences

Education is meant to prepare people for success in a rapidly changing world. But as the future of work fundamentally shifts and as a new generation of learners joins the ranks, instructional tools and methods need to adapt.

To transcend education, instructors must incorporate four ingredients to create meaningful learning experiences that prepare learners for future success:

    1.  Assess Knowing and Doing
    2.  Foster Accurate Self- Awareness
    3.  Deliver an Engaging and  Relevant Experience
    4.  Provide Actionable Feedback

Ingredient #1:

Assess Knowing and Doing

The challenge of turning knowledge into action, also known as the “knowing-doing gap,” is nota new barrier. Learners who are unable to apply relevant ideas and knowledge into everyday responsibilities and tasks find their performance and capabilities hindered.

Other challenges the “knowing-doing gap” causes include prioritizing memory over thinking, cultivating self-serving biases, and developing a fear of failure. Instruction should give learners the chance to implement knowledge through actions and think with a real-world perspective in decision-making.


How can I close the gap?

Here are some tips to help you assess the knowing- doing gap within your learners:

  • Create environments where mistakes are redefined as learning opportunities, rather than consequences.
  • Challenge learners to do more than retain information.
  • Use simple and straightforward language and concepts to reduce confusion and increase efficiency.
  • Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) to guide developmental efforts.
  • Use experiential learning tools, such as simulations, that challenge learners to apply learning concepts in real-world scenarios.

Ingredient #2:

Foster Accurate Self-Awareness

“Self-awareness” is a term associated with personal and professional growth and advancement, yet only 10-15% of people are truly self-aware.4 This leaves us with 90% of individuals struggling to accurately evaluate and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Without accurate self-awareness, learners often struggle to advance professionally, achieve goals, or build healthy relationships.

Having accurate self-awareness is valuable in all aspects of life, yet it is not a skill that is measured against standards. As a result, individuals are left to validate their self-perception. Fostering accurate self-awareness requires instructional methods that provide learners with resources to improve self- knowledge, identify strengths and weaknesses, and understand how they are perceived by others.


How Do I Help Learners Increase Their Self-Awareness?

 Here are some tips to help improve self-awareness in your learners:

  • Measure performance against a standardized set of metrics to avoid self-deception and inaccurate self- awareness.
  • Use performance-linked self-awareness tools such as self-assessments to determine areas of improvement.
  • Express the value behind their feedback and its relevance to achieving success in their future goals and aspirations.
  • Encourage collaboration that enables learners to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses compared to others.
  • Teach personal developmental skills, such as time management, work-life balance, and emotional intelligence.

Ingredient #3:

Deliver an Engaging and Relevant Experience

A universal challenge faced by instructors is keeping learners engaged, which continues to be a growing trend fuelled by technological advancements, lower attention spans and lack of real-world connections. This should serve as a signal for instructors to adapt their instructional methods to accommodate the changing needs of today’s learners and encourage continuous motivation to learn.

Creating an engaging environment significantly improves the educational experience because it communicates to the learner the connection and value between knowledge and relevance. When learners are more engaged and attentive, instructors see higher rates of participation, productivity, and overall enjoyment.

Learners need to be engaged with resources, traditional or digital, that introduce them to situations that draw them beyond their comfort zone, encourage real-world perspective, and foster learning from mistakes in a controlled environment.


How Can I Increase Learners’ Engagement?

Here are some tips to create a more engaging learning environment:

  • Combine both traditional and technological teaching methods.
  • Answer the two most common questions asked by learners: “What am I going to use this for?” and “What does this have to do with me?”
  • Use interactive platforms, such as simulations, to create a multisensory and immersive experience.
  • Encourage open communication that allows learners to feel comfortable engaging in discussions and asking questions.
  • Make the connection to the real-world by incorporating current events that relate to personal goals and interests.

Ingredient #4:

Provide Actionable Feedback

Actionable feedback, also known as feedback that promotes meaningful learner development, is essential in personal and professional development. This feedback is objective, tailored towards each individual, and focuses on the actions that led to a successful or unsuccessful performance.

Unfortunately, providing actionable feedback for each person is often an obstacle for instructors due to the level of individualization required, group sizes, and lack of time. Traditional instructional methods only focus on the results, ignoring actionable guidance needed to promote meaningful development and expecting learners to figure it out on their own.

Instructional methods must provide objective feedback that reflects on learners’ performance, guides them through their shortcomings, and offers recommendations for improvements. Although it may be time-consuming, providing actionable feedback is critical for learners to grow, identify areas of improvement, and ensure long-term success.


How Should I Give Actionable Feedback?

Here are some tips to provide learners with valuable and actionable feedback:

  • Use online software or programs that provide objective and individualized assessments, as well as next steps in development.
  • Avoid ambiguous feedback such as “good job” since it doesn’t provide actionable direction for improvement.
  • Provide feedback in a timely manner, so it’s still relevant and applicable for individuals to make improvements.
  • Provide feedback that focuses on the action and what changes you would like to see in the future, rather than the person’s character.
  • Frame receiving feedback as an ongoing process.

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