Over the last twenty years technology is guiding our lifestyle, i. e. how we should live, how should we communicate and also how one shall learn. Discoll (2000) defines learning as “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential which must come about as a result of the learner’s experience and interaction with the world. ” In other words learning is defined as lasting changed state (emotional, mental physiological- skills) brought about as a result of experiences and interactions with the content or people.
This definition holds the notion that gaining knowledge is an objective of learning (or a style) that is attainable if not already innate through either reasoning or experiences. It is known that learners create knowledge as they make attempts to understand their experience, as they are not empty vessels to be filled in with knowledge Instead learners are actively attempting to create meaning, they often select and pursue their own learning styles. Although it is believed that real life learning is messy and complex, but methods which emulate the fuzziness of this kind of learning is more effective for lifelong learning.
Earlier the life of knowledge is measured in decades but today as knowledge is growing exponentially, and there we may have such fields where the life of knowledge is measured in months and weeks. Today what is known may become obsolete after few weeks. According to (ASTD) American Society of Training & Documentation the amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 10 months as a result this is responsible for the shrinking half life of knowledge.
It is believed that because of these trends in the development of knowledge formal education remains no more the ultimate source of learning, rather learners are switching on to a variety of sources like personal networks, communities of practice and personal experiences. As we can no longer personally experience and acquire learning that we need to act in this digital age making connections has become necessary to keep moving the learning theories.
We may derive our learning, competence and expertise by forming connections with the experiences of others, as experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge, so here the quote “I store my knowledge in my friends mind” becomes an axiom for collecting knowledge by collecting people of varied experiences. Chaos is the new reality for the learners to attain knowledge, as with Chaos learners foster their understanding by deriving out the meaning of their task which has hidden patterns and their chaos unveil that meaning. Chaos as a science connects specialized communities and further it connects everything to anything.
It recognises the adjacent patterns for new knowledge which is a key to learning. Since technology is getting advanced day by day thereby altering one brain, it further defines and shapes our thinking. In today knowledge economy it is necessary to form connection between the sources of information in order to develop useful informational patterns or a network, it can be computer or social networking which works on the simple principle that people groups systems nodes, entities all can be connected to create an integrated whole. This way sharing and exchanging of ideas may greatly lead to the notion of serendipity, innovation and creativity.
In their new learning styles if students are connected to their teachers, their peers, and with other social groups through various networks. It may be possible that they come up with new ideologies and experiences which will result in the enhancement of their learning, researches in the past have indicated that cognitive (interactive and experimental) learning is the result of “Mental Construction” in a collaborative learning environment. It is believed that
1. Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions. 2. Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes (experts) or information sources. 3. Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known. 4. Nurturing and maintaining connective bonds is needed to facilitate continual learning. 5. An ability to seek connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a skilful learning. 6. Updated knowledge is the index of all learning activities. Learners change as the knowledge keeps on changing from time to time, learning styles acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal individualistic activity and learners no more permissive sponges.
It requires us to rethink and redesign our learning styles for the digital age. This paper is an attempt to provide an insight into new form of learning style and tasks needed for learners to compete and flourish in this age. Connections based on small efforts of many with the large efforts of few, where flow of knowledge starts when the individual enters into his social network, add something from the global nodes comes back to him. Radio and television, print media are just a one way preposition, they push their contents to us, but the web is a two way push and pull.
It connects the learners directly to the sources it can be live as on line and offline too. Web has the ability of two ways reciprocity, another important aspect of learning through web is that it is the medium that honours the notion of multiple intelligences as experts from all over the world are at an ease to contribute their knowledge at a single platform. Web has become a great tool for writers as they provide the learners learning with entertainment, it has multiple forms of intelligence abstract, textual, visual, musical social and kinaesthetic.
Learning through web has a chance to construct a medium that enables all young people to become engaged in their ideal way of learning. The Web affords the match we need between a medium and how a particular person learns. One of the goal of Learner is to have course curricular to be offered in multiple formats – teach Led, CD- Rom, DVD, Video and internet , Mobile Phones, Spoken and written Information, Conferencing, Virtual Classrooms etc.
The right technology used appropriately can greatly enhance the learning experience. The key to choosing the right technology to support learning is to match the technology to the learner and the learning context. E-learning has a two way benefit for learners, one to have professional lessons from the experts and to have the lessons available at anytime as online subject matter of different courses is being delivered over the internet, and is available for all learners.
The most common function used in online learning style is electronic mail that allows students and teachers to send and receive messages along with attached files. In addition web conferencing capabilities let participants conduct multi-person discussions, either in real time (chats) online or off time, combination of technology with personal contact and support is optimal for pedagogy. If the faculty members of distant learning integrate technology into their teaching it will be of great help in mentoring and giving time to time support to the learners.