Self-Directed Learning workshop, at Pataudi, a small town in Haryana, India

The last workshop I conducted during the Dec 2013 trip to India was at Pataudi, a small town in the state of Haryana.
9th class students, 15 from the local government school for girls and 15 from Pathfinder school attended the workshop. The workshop was held at the Pataudi Palace, courtesy of Mrs Sharmila Tagore.
My focus was on self-directed learning and how ability to self-learn is becoming essential in the 21st century when knowledge is exploding.
We looked at the story of Eklayva, a tribal prince who when refused tutelage by the royal guru, Dronacharya, created a clay statue of the guru and self-learnt the art of archery. We deliberated on the dispositions that made Eklavya a self-directed learner – grit, growth mindset, self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, emotional resilience and ability to overcome inner conflicts like fear of failure and ridicule.
We considered how an Eklavya in the 21st century can find many a virtual Dronacharya by making the most of Open Educational Resources, MOOCs, games and apps now available on the Internet.
We also discussed how skill sets required for social success change with the changing complexion of the economy. How in the agrarian age learning the 3Rs and a family profession was adequate for economic wellbeing; how the industrial revolution meant that beyond the 3Rs learning a technical skill became important; how in the information age getting deep knowledge in a domain (like a university degree in a particular discipline) became essential for employability, and how the ongoing automation, computerisation and knowledge explosion implies that a new set of skills, dispositions and competencies need to be learnt for social success and long-term well-being.

We concluded the workshop dwelling on how multiple ‘performances of understanding’ lead to deeper comprehension and how ICT and multimedia now offer very interesting and engaging ways of demonstrating deep understanding (beyond rote learning and regurgitation in exams). For example, to demonstrate understanding a student can write a blog, summarise in tweets, create multimedia presentations, videos, animations and more. The students then split into groups and I worked with them to create short 10 frames animation on a topic of their interest.

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