A Futurist Approach for Open and Distance 21st Century Learners

A Futurist Approach for Open and Distance 21st Century Learners

Aysun Güneş (Anadolu University, Turkey) and Harun Bozna (Anadolu University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3076-3.ch014
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Abstract

The future of education is being shaped today. The learners of 21st Century have many options to reach information. Accessing information is not that difficult as that of the past. Today's individuals can readily access meaningful information even from their wearable technologies like smart watches or glasses. A redefinition for education is inevitable in this age of technology and at this point open and distance education is one spearhead compared to face-to-face education. Open and distance learning gives the learners of 21st Century the chance to make use of the technologies of today as well. This chapter aims to draw an outline about the learners of the 21st century, their innate skills, the learning environment they are in and how to benefit from open and distance education in 21st Century.
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Introduction

Virtual community...e-governance...online social networking...digital citizenship. Such terms were once the lexicon of science fiction writers, but are a significant part of the lives of a growing segment of the population (O’Brien, 2008). The people of the new century are more prone to improve themselves about any topic in more flexible learning environments like the ones open and distance education offers, especially for the last 5 years with the onset of MOOCs. The reason of this is that the learners of the 21st Century are born into a world surrounded by technology and they are able to adapt themselves better in any situations about this new life with technology. People who were born in the digital age are defined differently in different sources. The most frequently used term ‘digital natives’ or the ‘net generation’, which was created by Prensky (2001) explains digital learners as “these young people are said to have been immersed in technology all their lives, imbuing them with sophisticated technical skills and learning preferences for which traditional education is unprepared. Thanks to ubiquitous environment and the total volume of their interaction with it, today’s learners think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors” (Palfrey, & Gasser 2013).

As there is some urgency in providing flexible learning opportunities to the learners of the new age who are adorned with new skills, open and distance learning environments should be revised accordingly. This chapter will try to give insights about the learners of distance education in the 21st century, the innate skills of these learners with their ubiquitous learning environments and the importance of open and distance education in the 21st century.

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