Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)
Learning is a complex process that has generated numerous interpretations and theories. At Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) acquisition of not only subject-specific knowledge and skills should be facilitated, but also the required graduate capabilities to enable students to become lifelong learners and to improve their employability. Students no longer have to construe knowledge - they can acquire information at the press of a button to link them to the Internet. To understand the learning approach of the so-called digital natives in front of us, an appropriate learning theory such as Connectivism should be acknowledged (Venter, 2011). Students need to learn how to work, study and collaborate online, but they also need to become adaptable and responsive. Educators acknowledge the fact that these pedagogical principles should always underlie the use of technology. Collaboration, creativity and connectivity are sought-after skills and are assumed to be attributes when Connectivism (Siemens, 2008) is embraced.
A longitudinal research project was conducted with a group of 2421 students at the North-West University (2008-2011) to determine strategies that academically successful students in a blended learning environment exhibit. This was followed up by interviews with employers looking for specific graduate attributes. The findings were integrated in an innovative proposal with carefully planned and developmentally appropriate self-reflective strategies to empower students in order to become responsive and adaptable in a complex world.
The proposed module is construed and informed by six strategies that facilitate self-knowledge and metacognition of learning and personal abilities. Acknowledged educational instruments lie at the heart of the proposed module and will be illustrated on the poster.
Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)
Educating graduates to be responsive and adaptable professionals. The role of educators in HEI's has shifted from controlling the learning domain's access and interaction to that of facilitating learning in a networked or blended learning environment. However, the principles of educating students to be responsive and adaptable graduates in an increasingly complex working environment are still required. Graduates should have sufficient self-knowledge of their abilities and know their limitations, strengths and weaknesses to be able to exhibit these traits.
The poster proposes six strategies to facilitate the acquisition of self-knowledge and metacognition as mentioned above. A variety of approaches and personal skills are needed such as the ability to see and understand oneself in connection with new environments, to be responsive and to adapt to it in a craetive manner. The research was conducted from a Connectivist learning perspective and in doing so the traits described in the paragraph could be fostered. Students' knowledge of their abilities and limitations not only in learning but also on a personal level, are conveyed through the strategies in this module. In turn, these strategies are strengthened by the acknowledged educational instruments depicted in the poster.