We are in the realm of 21st century learning, where most students are digital natives and expect their teachers to be the same and deliver all class content online, through an interactive e-learning platform. It’s always been a challenge for teachers, who are digital immigrants, to blend with these students because they have more know-how in the new advances of technology and perhaps, maximizing these technology advances in the classroom. Students are supposed to be the change, right?
But let’s flip the script. Suppose teachers are the digital natives, and students are the digital immigrants? I’ve seen students like this. They are not in the dark totally when it comes to technology, for example they use different devices for social media, but they seem to have trouble keeping up with digital learning. They seem to question the use and existence of a learning management system, because they prefer seeing lessons in ink rather than on screens. Their teachers are the ones bugging these students to make the switch to e-learning.
I’ve personally known such types of “digitally-resistant” learners. These students always seem to ask the same kind of question: why do we have to change learning? To put it in perspective, they want all sort of change – technological change, climate change (for the good, of course), and yet they seem so resistant to the way learning has changed. They don’t see the benefits that these things called e-learning and educational technology have. They see digital learning as a threat to the traditional learning with books here, notebooks there, papers everywhere. The mere mention that their class has a blended/online learning component could make them hate their teacher for being so modern and digital.
It’s hard to understand why they don’t want a more modern way of learning. I mean, come on, it’s not just about the perks of being flexible because you can access lessons everywhere, no. It’s about the virtues of digital learning – students becoming more independent and self-willed as opposed to traditional students who are totally depended on their teachers. Remember my post on self-directed students. They’re the emergent ones. They’re over-reliant on their teacher to do the job of delivering the lesson, while in contrast 21st century learning is about collaboration where both student and teacher do their part in delivering classroom content.
To put things more in perspective, these are the learners that rely on heavy books and printing countless sheets of paper due for submission. They think they’re more comfortable that way, while in fact they’re only making learning even harder for them.
But of course, we can re-flip the script and turn these emergent learners into the beginning stage of self-directed learning. How? First – show them a radical way of digital learning. Show them the core benefits of using a learning management system, how digital learning makes their study life easier, and just basically introduce them into the world of e-learning. Show these emergent learners that the workplace is also changing and that companies are investing in resources so their employees are also digital ready. Encourage those who can easily adapt to the perks of e-learning, and gamify their learning experience so they won’t find e-learning boring.
So, do you have any other ways to change these students and turn them into digital learners? If so, post them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you have on your mind!
Enzo is a marketing consultant by profession and a passionate e-learning blogger. He’s also a Microsoft Education Ambassador and an advocate for education, so his articles discuss e-learning not just from the insights of a student but also a from a teacher’s perspective, by leveraging his experience to deliver helpful posts.