How & Why: Empowered Learning Spaces
10 Thinking Patterns of Empowered Learners
The world needs empowered minds. Technology and mankind's increasing interconnectedness are increasingly placing the burden of responsibility in the hands of children and young adults.
Empowered minds see problems and have the ability to create solutions. Their solutions create real change in their world. We are seeing evidence of this youth power in political and cultural movements around the globe at this very moment.
The bar we use to measure achievement is rising. Universities and companies are looking for people with developed, empowered mindsets because those individuals are more likely to thrive.
At the Lab...
How do we empower?
There are many ways to empower children, but for this post, we will focus on pedagogy (theories of teaching practice), specifically experiential learning. The phrase "empowered learning" is often used interchangeably with "experiential learning", and experiential learning is a big deal in education.
Effective experiential learning is multidisciplinary and holistic. Learners gain new knowledge and skills through active learning activities while developing their ability to connect those experiences to abstract concepts. Learning is not limited according to subject or skill focus because authentic learning requires flexing many skills and applying many areas of knowledge.
Mini Lesson: Experiential Learning Cycle
One of the most well-known theories defining experiential learning was published (1984) by David A. Kolb, an American educational theorist. He believed that new knowledge was gained in the processing of new experiences.
Kolb outlined a universal, four step process for experiential learning. Each step was necessary, though he claimed that most learners preferred focusing attention on certain steps over others.
1. DO: Concrete Experience
How do you make an empowered space?
It is absolutely not enough to place a kid in the active role of their own learning. Though the environment may look chaotic, empowered learning spaces are deeply structured. Kids need a safe, clearly defined classroom environment if they are going to take risks and really engage with complex learning processes.
Here is Learning Lab Kobe's Checklist of Essentials for an Empowered Learning Space.
Learning Lab Kobe's Essentials for an Empowered Learning Space
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