When most people think about learning, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting in a classroom, listening to a teacher and taking notes. While this type of learning can be productive, it doesn’t always connect with real-life experiences. In order for learning to be truly effective, it needs to be authentic – connecting knowledge with real-life experiences. Thankfully, there are many ways to make this connection happen.
Authentic learning is a term used to describe a type of elearning that attempts to make connections for the student between the newly learnt content and experiences that have happened in their real life. This supports learning because, as a student connect the newly learnt knowledge to a real-life experience, this new knowledge is more likely to remember. For example, authentic learning can be used to teach a child about different types of animals. The child learns about the animal’s characteristics and habitat. The authentic learning experience would be enhanced if the child was then able to visit a zoo or farm and see the animal in person. Seeing the animal in person would help the child to make a connection between the knowledge they have learnt and their real life experience, making it more likely for them to remember what they have learnt. Authentic learning experiences are therefore an important part of elearning as they help to improve retention of new information.
In order for learning to be effective and have a lasting impact, it needs to be authentic. That means connecting new knowledge with real-life experiences as much as possible. Authentic learning typically focuses on “real-world, complex problems and their solutions, using role-playing exercises, problem-based activities, case studies, and participation in virtual communities of practice.”  When learners are engaged in this type of learning, they are more likely to remember the new information long term. If you’re interested in finding out more about how authentic learning can work for your organization or want help getting started, contact us – we would love to chat with you!
This elearning experience integrates well with: Real Life Interactive Experience.
 Lombardi, Marilyn M. 2007. “EDUCAUSE.” Edited by Diana G. Oblinger. Accessed February 18, 2017. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3009.pdf