By definition, a teacher’s primary goal is to teach. But when it comes to effectively helping students attain knowledge and understanding, a facilitated learning approach may be more effective. So how is facilitated learning different from teaching? And how can we implement it?
In this blog, we discuss facilitated learning and the tools needed to deliver it in the K-12 classroom.
What is Facilitating Learning?
One main difference between teaching and facilitating learning is the structure of the classroom. In a traditional teaching environment, the classroom is usually organized around the teacher who shares knowledge with students. The learners are then supposed to retain and apply this information in future assignments and assessments.
When teachers act as facilitators, they share the responsibility of building knowledge with their students. You may have heard of the student-centered classroom, or learner-centered classroom. In this model, educators provide the tools and guidance for students to learn for themselves, prompting the development of soft skills like problem solving and critical thinking.
Research on student-centered learning as a whole is limited, but in 2018, Education Evolving, a Minnesota-based nonprofit focused on improving public education, did a comprehensive study of the published research and case studies that exist. In its report, the organization found that “results from the few student-centered learning studies that have been done are promising,” with evidence to support many of the components of student-centered learning. These components include positive relationships, student ownership, competency progression and asynchronous learning.
What Tools Can Help Teachers Facilitate Learning?
Creating an environment for facilitated learning is easiest when employing technology. The benefits of the right learning management system (LMS) create the perfect environment for students to take control of their learning. These include:
- Built-in content: Teachers have a long list of responsibilities. Using an LMS that has built-in, standards-aligned content creates more opportunities to create student-centered classrooms.
- Personalized learning: An LMS makes it easy to set up personalized learning paths, enabling students to pursue content that they’re interested in and learn at a pace that suits each individual. This approach doesn’t create a free-for-all; instead, it sets broad guidelines for students to work within and allows them to be creative. Students often come up with a wide variety of results, encouraging discussion and the sharing of unique viewpoints.
- Asynchronous learning: When students can easily access course materials outside of class, they can pursue their learning whenever they feel inspired or have an idea. This also helps them build their time management skills and helps them prioritize different projects.
These tools, when used intentionally, can enable students to grow important soft skills during their educational journey. Those include critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.
How Can Parents Help Facilitate a Child’s Learning?
When we talk about facilitated learning, the responsibility doesn’t fall completely on the teacher. A strong learning community is crucial to unlocking a child’s learning potential. This means that students and teachers take equal ownership of the learning experience: when parents are also fully engaged, you get a strong learning community.
Learning communities are an important part of the growth and success of a child’s school experience. By committing to involvement in their child’s learning, parents and guardians can help facilitate it. When parents know what their children are learning about, they can ask more thought-provoking questions about school and encourage assignment completion. This level of support and involvement can help students stay motivated to learn.
Get Personal to Facilitate Learning
Transform your classroom into a facilitated learning environment. Read The Complete Guide to Personalized Learning for free.
Chase Banger is a Content Marketing Specialist at D2L. An award-winning journalist and former communications specialist, he has a passion for helping people through education.
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