The Paradigm Shift for Adult Education: From Educational Slavery to Learning Freedom of Human Brain with Synaptic Learning

The Paradigm Shift for Adult Education: From Educational Slavery to Learning Freedom of Human Brain with Synaptic Learning

Nishikant Sonwalkar
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-830-7.ch012
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This chapter starts with the metaphor of educational slavery to indicate conventional mode of teaching practiced in the class room with a teacher-centric approach and proposes a brain-based synaptic learning approach for student-centric that leads to learning freedom. The chapter describes the basic functions connected with the anatomy of human brain and then crystallizes it to three main functions, namely, perception, cognition and interaction. The tree functions are then related to three sides of the pedagogical framework of learning cube. With the learning cube pedagogical framework author proposes an adaptive learning approach that enhances the synaptic activity in the human brain leading to long term retention for adult learners. A proposal is made to create a five-factored cognitive ability chart based on diagnostics of perception, cognition, interaction, memorization and assimilation. The cognitive ability chart is then used to create individualized prescription for enhancement of adult learning using synaptic learning environment. The chapter concludes by providing a road map for achieving learning freedom for human brain with synaptic learning.
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Educational slavery has been prevalent in the human society for hundreds of years. The current systems where the “sage on the stage” makes all subjective decisions on the fate of slave students, has perpetuated the myth that learning happens by mere recitation of the content and facts in a lecture recited in a passive learning environment. Learners are required to follow and adhere to instructors teaching method and survive through the course without any freedom for their individual preferences of learning process.

This authoritarian approach by instructors leads to “educational slavery” not conducive to the freedom of individual learning preferences. The current model does not encourage challenging the authority of the instructor, open discourse and exploration of knowledge.

Regurgitation of the facts and information with no connection to the real world situations has made educational experience a dull, boring, and somewhat irrelevant exercise just to get a degree which validates, nothing, but your ability to memorize and reproduced theoretical facts in the world of academe. The intellectual superiority even in the world’s top institutions is measured by your mathematical ability to solve esoteric problems which may never be used after a student graduates from the University/College (Dewey, 1933)

It is indeed high time that we make the paradigm shift to individually free form of education that is conducive to the learning, and provides ample nourishment to the curious minds at all ages. It is time for “sage on the stage” to become “guide on the side”. It is time for educational technology to fulfill its promise. It is time for learning to be “free” from the undesirable artifacts created by the defunct educational organization that kills the curiosity and makes each potential student a fatality of “bell shaped curve” where only few conformists succeed.

This state of the affairs has made schools a dreaded place for adults learners who hate to even participate in the educational process. We must work towards a better, adaptive and individualized educational paradigm that brings an effective organizational structure for the stimulating educational inquiry where learning is at the center and is free from all artificial barriers (Cremin, 1961; Gardner, 1991)

The shift to a brain based synaptic learning paradigm will accommodate the learning preferences of each individual learner by providing them a personal experience, as compared to, inefficiency of “one size fits all” approach (Brusilovsky, 2001; Kinshok and Lin, 2003; Sonwalkar, 2005, 2007, 2008).

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