CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Authentic Learning

Posted by Cathy Kelley on September 7, 2007

The white paper linked below was released earlier this year by the Educause Learning Initiative. This white paper discusses how “Authentic Learning” can be used in higher education. Briefly stated, authentic learning is learning by doing. Good authentic learning activities include 10 elements, including real-world relevance, an ill-defined problem, sustained investigation, multiple sources and perspectives, collaboration, reflection or metacognition, interdisciplinary perspective, integrated assessment, polished products, and multiple interpretations and outcomes.

These elements are not self-explanatory, but are described and explained in the article. The paper also describes how authentic learning might be applied in a variety of disciplines, why it works, and why it is important.

This is an excellent introduction to the concept of authentic learning and I highly recommend a thorough read.

Lombardi, M.I. (2007). Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview. Available at http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3009.pdf.

Do you use authentic learning in your courses? If so, do you have any insights? If not, do you think that this idea could be applied to your teaching?


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