If you were not living under a rock, you would’ve noticed how dramatically the education system has changed in the past few decades. Traditional fact-based learning has been replaced by higher-order thinking. And future skills such as problem-solving and the books have been replaced by tablets or mobiles.
However, one thing that hasn’t changed as dramatically as the education system is the learning environment. While some schools feature modern classrooms equipped with modern amenities such as smart boards, tablets, computers, etc, most lack them. Also, at most schools, the teachers follow the same pattern for delivering education i.e standing in the front and lecturing the students all at once.
And this type of learning environment is impacting the students negatively. Because with a traditional environment in place students can’t develop in-demand skills such as problem-solving, innovation, collaboration, logical thinking, etc.
So, what’s the solution? Well, this is where a modern learning environment comes into the picture. But what’s a modern learning environment, and why is it required? What benefits does it bring along? Is it even effective?
If these questions are popping into your mind, read along. This blog has everything you need to know about a modern learning environment.
What is a Modern Learning Environment?
A modern learning environment, unlike the traditional one, is a learning space (a classroom) that is more interactive, innovative, and connected. The primary purpose of a modern learning environment is to help students learn better and follow the modern ways of learning to meet future challenges.
A modern learning environment basically comprises of but isn’t limited to:
- Audiovisual Aids: Such as touch screen displays and projectors.
- Connected Devices: Such as tablets, notebooks, or smartphones.
Why is a Modern Learning Environment Required?
This section briefly talks about the shortcomings of a traditional learning system and how a modern learning system caters to them:
The Skills Students Need These Days Have Changed
The skills students need today are way different from what they required decades ago. For instance, instead of fact-based learning or memorization, organizations today ask for creative and more sophisticated skills such as collaborative working, logical thinking, management, problem-solving, etc.
Even a survey of hiring managers conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers revealed that 83% of the employers desire skills such as problem-solving and the ability to work collaboratively with the new hires.
Unfortunately, students cannot learn these skills in the traditional learning environment. It’s because such skills require learning in collaboration with the other students, analysis, active discussion, trial and error, research, etc., which is only possible in a modern learning environment.
Teachers are Unable to Meet the Unique Needs of Students
If you’ve been in the teaching industry for long, you would know that no two students are alike. And as the traditional learning environment forces teachers to instruct all the students in the same way, it instantly becomes ineffective.
However, a modern learning environment allows teachers to interact with the students and impart learning in multiple ways, such as group instruction or 1-to-1 instruction. And this way, the unique needs of each student are met.
The Expectations of Students Have Changed
The pandemic has significantly changed how students function, think, and expect when it comes to learning. During the lockdowns, when kids were at home, they had a chance to extensively use smartphones in case of doubts or to learn better.
Even an annual survey conducted on K-12 students by Project Tomorrow (a non-profit organization) revealed that around half of the students in classes 6-12 say that they use YouTube for self-directed learning. The same survey also revealed that half of the elementary students say that using technology to collaborate with others is their favorite way of learning.
What’s more, the students have become accustomed to using the internet from an early age, interacting with their friends online, working on projects, and developing their skills. And they expect a similar environment at their school which is only possible with the help of a modern learning environment.
Now that you know why a modern learning environment is required, let’s jump to the benefits it brings along.
What Are the Benefits of Modern Learning Environments?
As compared to the traditional learning environment, a modern one offers numerous benefits. Let’s learn more about them below:
1. Educators Teach Different and Better When the Learning Environment Changes
Research done by the Center of Educational Innovation at the University of Minnesota revealed that a change in the learning environment design could impact how educators instruct the students (unintentionally).
In another study, a teacher was asked to use the same method for teaching kids in a traditional and modern learning environment (equipped with internet, tablets, better furnished). Surprisingly enough, the teacher lectured more in the traditional setting and promoted active discussion in the modern setting.
What does it imply?
This implies that even some basic changes in the classroom design can lead to student-centered learning. It also proves the fact that teachers are able to deliver better in a modern learning environment.
2. Modern Learning Impacts the Learning Outcome
A study led by the Center for Educational innovation found that students with lower overall ACT grades performed just as well as their peers with higher ACT scores when they (former) were provided an active/modern learning environment. This shows how impactful a modern environment can be.
3. Modern Learning Environments Suit All Learning Styles
A traditional learning environment is suited for the students who prefer auditory and visual learning. But what about the students with unique learning needs?
In a modern learning environment, teachers can use experimentation, kinesthetics, collaboration, active discussion, and even flexible classrooms to make sure that their teaching style suits the learning style of every student.
4. Modern Learning Styles Promote Natural Learning and Curiosity
In a traditional learning environment, students are supposed to listen to the teacher and save questions for later which kind of confuses the students. After all, how will a student continue to understand topic “B” if he isn’t clear about topic “A,” both of which are directly related?
Well, modern learning environments function differently. Students get more opportunities to ask questions (which keeps them curious), and the teachers can explain the concepts in an engaging manner with access to modern technology (interactive whiteboards, audiovisual aids, etc.).
How Can Teachers Create Effective Modern Learning Environments?
Here’s how you can make creating modern learning environments sound like a piece of cake:
1. Encourage Curiosity
Instead of delivering just lectures during your class, encourage curiosity among the students. You can add a question box in the class where they can drop their questions. And you can answer those questions at the beginning or at the end of the class.
What’s more, you can encourage the learners to ask questions more frequently. However, make sure to tell them that “no question is stupid” This will help build confidence, reduce hesitation and make them more curious.
2. Integrate Technology
Technology plays a crucial/essential role in modern learning. So, make sure to include some type of technology in your classroom. For instance, you can ask the school authorities for smart boards, a projector, interactive whiteboards, and tablets for each student in your class. Or you can also get access to the computer lab if possible.
Doing the above will help the youngsters enjoy learning. Also, as the children have become accustomed to using technology at home, the availability of technology at school will make them feel as if they belong there.
3. Encourage Adaptive Learning
As stated earlier, no two individuals are alike. And this calls for unique learning methods such as adaptive learning. With adaptive learning, you can cater to the unique needs of every student and allow them to learn at their own pace.
4. Manage Redundant Tasks With the Help of Modern Tools
One of the most redundant tasks educators perform is preparing assignments or exam papers. Although important, the process is both time-consuming and boring, right? Well, we got you covered.
- Feed the tool with data in any format such as custom text, PDF, YouTube URL, video file, etc.
- Click on “Generate Questions.”
- Choose the difficulty level and the type of questions (MCQs, fill-ups, or descriptive) as you like.
- Preview the question paper and download the same.
Using this tool, you can create question papers more frequently in any format you desire within seconds. This will help you save time which you can use to discuss and interact more with your students.
Although several schools and teachers have started understanding the importance of a modern learning environment, the pace at which they’re implementing it is quite slow. However, you can consider this an opportunity to stand out in the crowd by upgrading your traditional learning environment to a modern one. All you need to do is promote collaboration, encourage adaptive learning & curiosity, and include technologies such as PrepAI for preparing interactive exam papers and you’re done.