Are learners ready to undertake independent learning?

I think I am lucky to work in what I believe to be ahead of the game in it’s approach to our teaching, learning and assessment.

As a college we embrace the use of technology to enhance learning and also promote learning beyond the 4 walls of the traditional classroom and the 4 walls of the college buildings and campuses.

The reason I say this is that we seem to be doing a good job with it but this year we have really identified that some learners are may not be as ready and prepared for it...and why is that?...because for the majority they haven’t had to do it before and so do not have the skills or understanding of it.

I know there is a term which I see get used quite frequently around ‘digital natives’ and I do think that learners expect the use of technology within their learning nowadays...but…this does not mean they have the skills to use this as a tool to learn and complete activities without the support of their teacher in face to face delivery.

So what skills/elements do we need to ensure we have considered, supported and developed? These are ones which I think are important but will say not this list is not exhaustive (also these are in no particular order)...


Learners now communicate in a variety of different ways when in class, but doing so when away from the classroom is different and needs a lot of consideration. Learners need to be shown the ground rules and shown the expectations when communicating online for learning. They need to ensure that they do so in an appropriate manner with peers and teachers but then also shown how to use edtech tools, which can mean they are in constant contact, and that support is there for them when questions arise.


We still need to emphasise with learners that collaboration is of benefit and in the world of work people collaborate and work collective both in person and online. Online collaboration has been made so much simpler with tools such as Google Docs, and Google Jamboard, but learners need to be supported when they leave school to do this more.

Critical thinking

This is a skill is very important and having learners being able to critically evaluate and forms their own judgements on a topic can only be a positive. What this looks like away from the classroom and online again needs to be considered and developed. Being able to solve problems and then consider their approach is something which I do not think is learned currently at school (and I do add that this is not teachers fault put pressure placed upon them for results and exams is what is causing this); so we need to early on do work with learners to show them how to do this.


Learners are creative and during my time as a teacher I saw this in abundance. Once thing which is to be considered here is how we show them the tools which we want them to use to be digitally creative. There are so many tools which are cloud based and this is what we need to demonstrate...this ability to use any device to access and be creative is very important. As well as this what creativity looks like to individuals can be very different so we need to ensure that assessments consider we allow learners to use voice, video and other means?


This is term which isn’t necessarily new but one which I have seen involved in more conversations and approaches. Curation for learners and teachers is looking at bringing to together content and ideas (curating) in to one place. There are some great tools out there such as wakelet which have made this simple to do. The ability to add content on your mobile using the app or online from a variety of places such as websites, social media and now even direct from your google drive.


Ensuring learners know what it is to be a digital citizenship is key when looking to develop independent learners. Learners having understanding how to be safe online as well as being responsible whilst learning online is something which all schools, colleges and learning providers need to ensure they are covering. In the class we teach learners about british values and positive behaviours, and I see this as something which has to be pushed in exactly the same way.

Like all my posts these are just my musings and I would love to hear what you are doing and your thoughts….so please let me know

#independentlearning #creativity #criticalthinking #curation #communication #Collaboration #digitalcitizenship


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