What you need to know:
- Most college students are very reluctant to participate in knowledge creation.
- A basic level of knowledge creation, instructively, is the mining of information from various sources.
Post-modern pedagogies emphasize the role of the learner in knowledge creation. This is a paradigm shift from the traditional teaching and learning approaches where the teacher was expected to provide everything.
Now, one would expect that such progressive learning approaches, typical of self-directed learning, will be more pronounced at college and university level in comparison to the basic education level. The reality, however, is that most college students are very reluctant to participate in knowledge creation.
A basic level of knowledge creation, instructively, is the mining of information from various sources – mostly the internet – and its synthesis into fit-for-purpose forms.
For instance, students should regard lectures as guidelines and, in line with course descriptions, identify the right sites and select information that speaks to their disciplines. This brings in the aspect of technology.
Whereas most information technologies were not meant for education, post-modern pedagogies have assigned new roles for them and, consequently, students must be reminded of this reality. Here, it is demanded that they (students) use tech solutions to create knowledge.
But a cursory study across institutions of higher learning is painting a worrisome picture; students aren’t ready to fish knowledge on their own, but instead, insist on being furnished with ready-made lesson notes. Just how can such an individuals be innovative or creative if they cannot perform a simple task of making their own notes out of available literature?
Indeed, technology has enabled one crucial ingredient for knowledge creation: Connectivism. Here, learners are able to use virtual connectivity in engaging in collaborative activities.
This equally enhances peer learning. Such joint intellectual efforts are required, more so in the current world where innovation and invention hold much currency. Ironically, peer engagement in matters education is at its lowest. Most students would rather converge on social media to celebrate fruits of other people’s sweat than sweat out for a worthy cause.
Tutors – granted time and tools – can help ramp up joint intellectual efforts among learners by assigning them group projects, originating hypothetical problems and letting learners collaborate to arrive at solutions, and demanding thorough reporting of the same.
The latter will horn yet another vital skill – written communication – which is elusive despite its ever-growing demand. Written communication says a lot about an entity, whether an individual or an organization.
It is therefore imperative that we impress upon students to learn how to identify, retrieve and process valuable information out of the big data that the internet affords. Else, we shouldn’t even be questioning why they can’t utilise the knowledge they are spoon-fed.
Further, they must be kept profitably busy in their virtual groupings, for research evidence shows that most inventions are obtained from joint efforts. Today, multi-disciplinary research is the norm. Inculcating a spirit of collaboration, enquiry, analysis and effective reporting will go a long way in preparing young minds for their current and future worlds.
Mr Osabwa is a lecturer at Alupe University College in Busia. email@example.com