4.4a | Active Learning

As a learning designer, the coach is expected to collaborate with educators to develop authentic, active learning experiences that foster student agency, deepen content mastery and allow students to demonstrate their competency.

Active Learning & AI in Education

Active learning has formed a big part of my learning on the DEL Program. I have been fascinated with exploring the opportunities for designing active learning experiences not just for today but also for the not so distant future. In my post on “AI in Education: Building Skills for the Future of Work“, I discovered the artificial intelligence (AI) technology opens up new possibilities for personalized and autonomous learning. For instance, science experiments can be conducted in simulated virtual labs, offering a simulated “hands-on” experience without the risks of dangerous explosions.

Apart from conceptual and technical skills, the development of life skills in learners is equally as important to prepare them for success in a future where humans and robots will coexist. As educators, having an understanding of the emerging skills in AI will help us rethink how we shape learning for our students.

Computational Thinking in Education

In another post on computational thinking, I shared about using augmented reality (AR) to teach computational thinking to students. MIT Media Lab developed an Augmented Reality (AR) authoring platform called HyperCubes which uses the simple idea of handmade paper cubes and AR technology to teach computational thinking.

In the Hypercubes project which uses Augmented Reality to teach Computational Thinking, students created paper cubes from printed paper templates using just paper, scissors, and glue. These printed templates contains scannable markers. Students then use an Augmented Reality (AR) application on a mobile phone to scan and track the cubes. Once tracked, the student can use the graphical user interface in the application to tweak the parameters of the cube to generate AR objects that can then be programmed to move.

Through the use of these technologies, students get to exercise their creativity by becoming creators while learning logical thinking through programming.

Autonomous Learner Model

I also researched the Autonomous Learner Model (ALM) with the aim of producing learners who are independent and self-directed. The ALM is effective in fostering student agency and developing lifelong learners who are equipped with the skills, concepts, and positive attitude to find success in life.

In another example of developing authentic, active learning experiences, I designed a Creative Writing Workshop as an integrative strategy for advocating digital citizenship. I made use of the backward design process to first identify the desired results, then determine acceptable evidence, followed by planning the learning experiences and instruction. In the final workshop design, students get to learn and discuss before embarking on practical application of what they have learned.

In the second workshop design, I used an art and design workshop to teach creative problem solving. The inspiration for this workshop came from seeing how effective design and design thinking played a pivotal role in the genius design of the London tube map. I designed the Wonder Art Workshop with the aim of helping students understand the importance of studying design and building a broader view of the nature and definition of art besides equipping them with 21st-century skills while molding their character into becoming empathetic and kind citizens who understand gratitude.

For a third workshop design, I incorporated the use of digital tools and blended/flipped learning methods to increase audience engagement. I even recorded a captioned screencast tutorial on Thinglink to demonstrate to coaches how easy it is to turn a static image into an interactive piece of content to increase student engagement.

Cultivating Digital Agency and 21st-Century Skills

I also compiled a list of resources for developing a 21st century skills curriculum to close the skills gap and prepare students for the future workforce. The 2 main sets of skills covered are vocational and life skills. I advocated the importance of equipping and upskilling educators so they can design learning experiences that increase student engagements and digital agency.

Students and educators alike need to continuously upskill themselves in order to stay relevant in an increasingly digitalized world. I am an advocator that educators should not just focus on teaching more relevant digital skills but to instead focus on promoting digital agency.

In my post titled “Social Robots – The Next Frontier in Social Learning“, I dissected the science of learning to discover how people learn. There has been attempts to develop a repeatable and scalable method of augmenting student learning and teaching social skills to children using robots. This was what sparked off the rise of social robots. My school procured the social robot called Jibo as an experimentation tool for active learning and student agency. We unleased Jibo and watched how students interacted with the robot and had actual conversations with the robot with minimal instructions given to them. The experience was surprisingly intuitive and the students had so much fun learning with Jibo the robot.


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