Piktochart critical assignment - Learning Technology

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Today's Adult Learners
Who are the digital learners of today and how do we help them succeed?
Understanding the changing needs and experiences of digital learners can seem challenging. It may seem like crossing a bridge and traveling into unknown terrain. Yet, in order to enhance our instructional strategies and meet the needs of our learners, we must understand who they are, how they are changing, and how they will succeed in the learning environment.  
Modern online learners want something different than the traditional teaching and learning approaches. They are connected to the world through numerous modes of technology (Blackboard Inc, 2012). As a result, instructors must understand that digital learners have ongoing and multiple points of access to broad sources of information and diverse perspectives (Zucca, 2013). Because of this incredible access to information, today's digital learners want connections with, not only their instructors and peers in the classroom, but also, people, concepts, and activities across the globe. They crave interaction, engagement, and meaningful opportunities to reflect, think critically, and exchange ideas, as well as understand the bigger world.
Digital learners of today want more than correspondence or traditional online courses
Since learners have constant access to information, they want to think about and interact with concepts in innovative ways (Taylor, 2014). As stated by Taylor (2014) when describing today's virtual learners, "Learning for them does not mean acquiring facts, it means acquiring insight" (Taylor, 2014, p. 100). Rather than dominating the learning experience and pouring out facts, virtual instructors must become facilitators while providing guidance and honoring the students' experiences and broad access to information (Taylor, 2014). Hence the instructor becomes a true partner in the learning experience. Instructors inspire curiosity by asking questions, showing a sincere willingness to learn from their students, and using technology creatively to provide opportunities for learners to interact with material in innovative ways.
What is the role of today's online instructors?
Digital instructors must share voices of power and authority with students (Wesch, 2011).
Digital instructors must take risks by trying out new technology to meet students where they are. They might do this through social media, infographics, audio/video, and numerous other ways to make content interesting and bring concepts to real life. Digital instructors must have a real presence in the virtual classroom, including a global presence (Blackboard Inc, 2012).
How do instructors connect with today's digital learners and meet them where they are?
Lecture is used as the most frequent way of sharing ideas. Most assignments are focused on reading and writing. Instructors believe that students lack experience or expertise (Taylor, 2014). Instructors embrace a philosophy that teaching and learning happens through memorizing and reciting (Taylor, 2014). Few connections are made; there is little global and instructional presence.
Multimedia is embraced and new risks with technology are tried. Assessments are unique and consist of many different strategies and approaches. Instructors bring students' voices to the front and center of the learning experience (Wesch, 2011). Instructors believe that students want meaningful interaction with the material (Taylor, 2014). Instructors recognize that students have a deep appreciation of and connection with information across the globe (Blackboard Inc, 2012).
Traditional approaches vs unique and modern teaching and learning approaches for the digital learners.
The only way that we can connect with today's digital learners is to meet them in their unique places of learning, connecting, and understanding the world. If we hold onto the old approaches, we will disconnect with our learners, overlook their needs, and fail to reach them. Yet, if we challenges ourselves to address their authentic experiences and needs, we will create meaningful teaching and learning approaches that provide a powerful and effective education for today's students.
As instructors, we must move away from the old ways of doing things, and move toward the real experiences of our digital learners.
                                                                                          References Blackboard Inc. (2012). Who are the students of today? The voice of the active learner - education           from a digital native. Retrieved from Taylor, T. 2014.  Changing pedagogy for modern learners – lessons from an educator’s journey of     self-reflection. Educational Technology & Society.  17-1, 79-88. Wesch, M. (2011).  “A few ideas” (Visions from students today). Retrieved from Zucca, G. (2013). Classroom course model: A different model needed for adult online students? International Journal of     Technology, Knowledge & Society.  9-4, 99-107.