Profiling “Future Learners” to Design and Develop Teaching and Learning Based on Anticipated Future Needs

Profiling “Future Learners” to Design and Develop Teaching and Learning Based on Anticipated Future Needs

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1573-0.ch003
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Who are future learners in higher education? In the simplest sense, these are the individuals who will experience a particular learning program, course, experiential learning sequence, or learning object at a later point in time, whether in the near-term, mid-term, or far-future. While learners are not thought to fundamentally change in terms of basic biology (at least not in the near- and mid-terms), future learners (in higher education) may be conceptualized as somewhat different from present-day learners based on various changing contextual factors: macro-level socio-cultural developments, subject domains, educational methodologies and practices, technological advances, workforce requirements, and other factors. This work explores some ways to operationalize the exploration of “future learners” in order to enhance the design of teaching and learning.
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Review Of The Literature

Time is defined as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, to the future” (“Time,” May 9, 2019). Psychological research has shown that people perceive time subjectively and non-homogeneously, and they imbue it with personal meanings. People experience time “both as physical passage and as a social procession” (Lewis & Weigert, Dec. 1981, p. 433), with significant events seen as salient milestones. How time is sliced in social periodicities (time segments) also varies. Salient “social event” are used as “temporal markers” (Lewis & Weigert, Dec. 1981, p. 433). For one research context, human-perceived time is broken out into three levels: individual time (“self time”), group or institution time (“interaction time”), and “broad, societal-cultural level” time [“cyclic time” defined as “(the day, week, and seasons) which cuts across the entire society”] (Lewis & Weigert, Dec. 1981, p. 434). Past events may be made salient through memories and focus, in what is called “spatial time” (Cottle, 1977, as cited in Lewis & Weigert, Dec. 1981, p. 436). One authoring team elaborates:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Path Dependency: The undue influence of the past on the future even when those past issues may not apply.

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