Fostering Adaptive Expertise In Students

SHAILA on March 15, 2013

I failed in some subjects in my exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner.
Bill Gates on TimeThese famous words are confounding, not because you don’t know who said this, but you will be wondering as to how the same educational system which can create an employee can also create an employer (who also turned iconic despite not passing in all subjects.)
 
The reasons for this discrepancy are not far to seek. Apart from many other factors at work, it’s also the role of adaptive expertise.

Adaptive Expertise

Simply put adaptive expertise is the ability to apply learning to a real-life situation or problem. As an educator, you develop this ability among your students by ensuring they learn properly, and they learn well if you motivate them enough.
 
Motivating your students is an art and you know it intuitively. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), through their ‘Innovative Learning Projects’ program is trying to formalize these intuition-based abstract notions so that they can come up with a system that will revolutionise education.
 
After much research and study they came up with a few principles which Katrina Schwartz has captured in her article, ‘7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning’:
1. Learners should take centre stage
Make your students active participants in the process of learning. They should be self-regulated, set goals for themselves, and monitor their progress themselves. 
2. Learning happens only in groups
We are social creatures and learning happens best by throwing and testing the concepts around. Encourage collaborative work.
3. Emotions play a major role in learning
Positive self-belief is the core to learning and as a teacher; you know that an upset student learns little.
4. Every student is different
Your students enter the classroom with their prior knowledge and experiences. You should be able to cater to these diverse individuals.
5. Stretch Your student’s imagination, but to a limit
Let your teaching allow a combination of learning without much effort and the joy of self discovery.
6. Assess not what they have learned but how they learn
You need to assess your students for the sole purpose of structuring your next lesson so that your teaching turns more effective.
7. Connect learning across disciplines
Your students will develop an interest in the subject only if they realise how the knowledge will be useful to them.  If they understand the connection between the subject and idea they will be able to apply the skills to a real-life problem, in short develop adaptive expertise.
 
Shaila is a blogger at Mobicip - the #1 parental control service for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, iPad mini, Android-based tablets and smartphones, Kindle Fire, and Windows laptops. Shaila loves to write about mobile learning and the increasing adoption of technology and the internet in families.
Photo credit: x-ray delta one / Foter.com / CC BY-SA