Home System concept From content to context – how concept-based learning brings students closer to the real world

From content to context – how concept-based learning brings students closer to the real world

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By Nachiket Bhatia

The way students perceive the world or what they do in it develops throughout their school career. Schools and other educational institutions lay the groundwork for students’ first perspectives on the world. If these institutions do not provide them with the right atmosphere to develop, they will eventually fail to face the world.

Traditional learning allowed students to learn about a diverse range of subjects. However, it stayed away from the real-world work atmosphere that students might encounter in the future. 21st century job opportunities require continuous and lifelong learning. So, given the traditional learning system “Will students be able to cope in the real world?” Will they land a good job opportunity by simply being “exam smart”?

The answer is no, not at all in this highly competitive world. Today, it is essential for students to think critically – to solve current and future problems with the best solutions and to generate new innovative ideas.

Benefits of Concept-Based Learning

Concept-based learning challenges learners to think critically so they know “when” and “how” to use what they have learned. Isolated facts have no relevance in concept-based learning unless implications and derivations support them. It is aligned to increase real-world understanding of whatever students study.

The rigid or knowledge-based approach to learning makes knowledge relevant only until the examination of a particular subject. Subsequently, this knowledge may become obsolete. While the transferable conceptual understanding of concept-based learning allows students to understand the real world through what they learn. It encourages deep learning through analysis, synthesis and evaluation while simultaneously involving lifelong learning.

It prepares a learning community that participates in global concerns through inquiry, action and reflection. The concept-based curriculum combines three dimensions: what students know, what they do, and what they understand. It helps in devising theories from simple facts and thus, we indulge in deep knowledge and “big ideas” through this kind of learning.

An inventive, concept-based curriculum engages students’ brains and emotions beyond a standard curriculum. It helps learners transfer their information between areas of study. It is one of the most effective methods for honing students’ creativity, leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking skills while strengthening their emotional intelligence. It also introduces students to general ideas such as transition, balance, individuality, and systems.

This motivates students to discuss and actively engage by making them understand rather than swallowing the concepts. With concept-based learning, there is no need to memorize more. Its aim is to help students understand fundamental concepts and retain them rather than just giving them a layer of crucial but superficial knowledge. Thus, it makes them better prepared to enter the job market.

Digital transformation has contributed to the implementation of concept-based learning through the use of audio and visual tools. These tools allow a better explanation of the different concepts to the students. STEM edtech players are taking proactive steps to spread this kind of learning. Its reach has increased in both rural and urban areas, especially due to the rapid adoption of IT during the pandemic.

Conclusion

When rote learning methods persist, students become accustomed to surface learning based on facts. Then we cannot expect them to be aware of the innermost knowledge of the matter while the traditional knowledge itself remains superficial. The essence of the previous sentence is that in today’s competitive world, students need to be equipped with information that they can use in their daily lives.

Children need to be curious to become productive citizens with broad mental and emotional outlook. And implementing concept-based learning can lead students to become critical thinkers today and productive citizens tomorrow.

The author CEO, Dr Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute and E-Gurukul.

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