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Rethinking Pedagogies To Develop Future-Ready Learners


In Singapore, much talk has been on helping adult learners develop future-ready capabilities, enabling them to be adaptable and open to change. But what are these future-ready skills, and what can adult educators do to develop them?

That’s a question the paper “Rethinking Pedagogies to Develop Future Ready Capabilities” penned by Dr Silin Yang, Senior Researcher, from IAL’s research arm, Centre for Work and Learning, aims to tackle. The following ten competencies have been identified for adult learners to thrive in a fast changing world.

The ten competencies are:

  1. Teamwork/collaboration
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creative and adaptive thinking
  4. Problem solving
  5. Communication
  6. Meta-cognition and meta-thinking
  7. Trans-disciplinarity
  8. Information literacy and management
  9. Information technology management
  10. Professional ethics

To help adult learners acquire these skills, adult educators will need to rethink traditional teaching approaches and adopt new teaching methods, writes Dr Yang. She offers some examples of pedagogies that when reflected upon and discussed in depth, might well stimulate and facilitate learning experiences which will be relevant, engaging, timely and transformative for adult learners:

Pedagogies Which Promote Problem Solving Capabilities

A one-size fits all approach no longer works, as learners require different pathways to mastery. Hence, the paper argues adult educators need to provide a more tailored learning experience for their learners.

One way to do so is to adopt problem-based learning. By organising curriculum and instruction around carefully-crafted “ill-structured” problems, this gives learners opportunities to identify problems, formulate hypotheses and perform experiments that will determine the best possible solution to problems, thereby nurturing future-ready skills.

Pedagogies That Promote Critical Thinking

“Learners need to learn how to ask critical questions and solve difficult and messy questions, by developing a deep understanding of key concepts and processes that will help them understand how experts frame problems, make decisions and cope with unique solutions,” the paper states.

To promote critical thinking in learners, adult educators should teach for understanding. This thought-provoking approach requires learners explain, find evidence in examples, generalise, apply, make analogies and represent the topic of learning in new ways.

Pedagogies That Encourage Collaboration And Communication

Speaking and communicating clearly, as well as learning to work with others to achieve shared goals are skills that are vital for future-ready learners. One way to develop these skills is by adopting Project-based Learning, where “learners design their own project with workplace application in mind or on solving a problem originating from their work.”

By employing these three pedagogy suggestions, adult educators can create a holistic teaching approach that equips learners with future-ready skills, allowing them to thrive in a complex economy.

To read the full paper, click here. ( 723KB )