12 Ways To Engage Students In Authentic Learning

Oct 30, 2023 | Shift

12 Ways To Engage Students In Authentic Learning

Authentic learning experiences are activities or projects that reflect real-world situations, challenges, and contexts. These experiences are designed to engage students in meaningful, hands-on learning that goes beyond traditional classroom instruction.

In our PBL workshops, because authenticity is a significant part of our PBL model, we emphasize three ways in which projects can be authentic. First, is it authentic like a real-world scenario or problem? Second, is it authentic to an academic area or an industry? And lastly, is it authentic to the student?

Obviously, not all authentic learning has to be PBL, and here are 12 examples of authentic learning experiences:

1. Service Learning Projects: Students engage in community service or volunteer work that addresses real needs within the local community. This could include activities like organizing food drives, tutoring younger students, or participating in environmental clean-up initiatives.

2. Internships and Work-Based Learning: Students have the opportunity to work in real job settings related to their field of interest. This can provide valuable insights and practical experience.

3. Scientific Research: Students design and conduct scientific experiments or investigations, applying the scientific method to answer real questions or solve real problems.

4. Business Ventures: Students create and run their own small businesses, learning about entrepreneurship, budgeting, marketing, and customer service.

5. Civic Engagement: Students actively participate in local or national government processes, such as organizing community events, lobbying for policy changes, or participating in student government.

6. Historical Reenactments: Students immerse themselves in historical events by researching, recreating, and reenacting them, gaining a deeper understanding of historical periods and figures.

7. Environmental Conservation Projects: Students work on projects related to environmental stewardship, such as planting trees, cleaning up local waterways, or studying and conserving wildlife habitats.

8. Design and Engineering Challenges: Students tackle real design and engineering challenges, such as designing a sustainable building, developing a new product, or creating a solution to a specific problem.

9. Healthcare Simulations: In healthcare education, students engage in realistic simulations of patient care scenarios to develop clinical skills and decision-making abilities.

10. Community Surveys and Needs Assessments: Students conduct surveys and assessments to identify community needs and issues, helping to inform local development and improvement efforts.

11. Creative Arts Showcases: Students create and showcase their artistic talents in performances, exhibitions, or public art installations.

12. Journalism and Media Production: Students work as reporters, editors, and producers for school newspapers, blogs, or broadcast news programs, covering real events and issues within the school or community.

These authentic learning experiences go beyond traditional classroom activities, providing students with opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways and fostering a deeper understanding of the subjects they are studying. They also help prepare students for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in the real world.

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