Learning Journey

Location: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

I have completed a B.Ed in Technology education, currently doing M.Ed. in Computer Based Education at the University of Johannesburg South Africa.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Authentic Learning

“Authentic learning is a pedagogic approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner”
(Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999 – Quoted by Clif Mims)

Authentic learning can be described as real learning, where learners are exposed to material that is ‘genuine’ to them. Real problems are presented to learners that are expected to solve them. The Relevance of the materials in authentic learning needs to stimulate learners to learn. One of the key characteristics of successful education is when learner activity stimulates learning. In authentic learning learners need to be able to connect new knowledge to prior understanding.

In authentic learning the “Real World” must be brought into the classroom by means of presenting problems that are relevant to learners and their society. In order to actively involve students they need to identify with the problem that needs to be solved. If learners experience the problem in the real world the learning material will touch intrinsic motivation. Authentic tasks of interest to learners will encourage learners to explore and inquire all possibilities and resources that will assist in solving the problem.

Authentic learning can be easily identified due to its interdisciplinary characteristic. The complexities of the world are brought into the classroom and learning is connected to the world outside the classroom. Learners engaged in complex tasks that stimulates higher order thinking, analyse, and synthesize, design, manipulating and evaluating information. Authentic learning experiences normally stimulates the produce a product or a solution to a real problem. Although authentic learning is facilitated it will student driven, as learners employ scaffolding techniques that can take them into areas that were not originally anticipated by a facilitator. Therefore the availability of sufficient and relevant resources is essential in any authentic learning situation.


Mims, C.; http://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/win2003/authentic_learning/3.html