Students today are immersed in a world that is rich in digital media and tools. Their lives are influenced by the digital media. The influence begins at a young and innocent age.
Students can learn by themselves in their digital world. Learning has become a much more active process due to that ease of accessing information on the Internet and all the digital tools.
Students construct meaning through these tools in a way that is relevant, meaningful and fun.
Ian Jukes, Ted McCain and Lee Crockett (2010) provide the following characteristics of digital learners:
1. Digital learners (DL) prefer to access information quickly from multiple-media source, but pedagogic educators (PE) prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources.
2. DLs prefer parallel processing and multitasking, but PEs prefer linear processing and single tasks or limited multitasking.
3. DLs prefer random access to hyper-linked multimedia information, but PEs prefer to provide information linearly, logically and sequentially.
4. DLs prefer to learn "just in time", but PEs prefer to teach "just in case".
5. DLs prefer instant gratification and immediate rewards, but PEs prefer deferred gratification and delayed rewards.
6. DLs prefer to network simultaneously with others, but many PEs prefer students to work independently before they network and interact.
7. DLs prefer processing pictures, sounds, colors and video before text, PEs prefer to provide text before picture, sound and video.
8. DLs prefer learning that is relevant, active, and instantly useful and fun, but many PEs feel compelled to teach memorization of content in the curriculum guide.
Because these are the characteristics of digital learners, it's the end of pedagogy and the beginning of anthropogoy:
Anthropogogy: The study of human learning
(Greek) – Anthrop (άνθρωπ) means people and Agy (άγω) means to conduct / lead.
Nir Golan, an educational and leadership expert, suggests combining the terms Pedagogy (child learning) and Androgogy (male / adult learning), into one term, Anthropogogy: to mean human learning. Teaching should be carried out alongside the comprehensive development of the human being regardless of his/her biological age. The distinction between a child's learning and an adult's learning is not relevant because the differences between adults and children are disappearing. Therefore, the child learner should be treated like an adult learner.
Felix Adam first defined the term Anthropogogy in 1977 as: "The science and the art of permanently teaching and educating a person throughout any period of his/her psycho-biological development and in the functioning of his/her natural, ergo logical and social life."
In 1981, K.D Benne described the term as: "The guideline of learning and education of people of all ages, as the basis for human survival, highlighting the importance of controlling the processes of critical thinking and innovation, ability to listen and communicate with others whose views are contradictory. Provide the ability to learn how to learn again."
Nir Golan offers a new definition of Anthropogogy as: "Leading a person (regardless of age) throughout significant learning towards behavioral change that can be implemented immediately." (Golan, 2014)
In today's reality, culture is changing rapidly, so education has to be a lifelong process: where the teacher helps the learner discover the unknown without repeating information about the known.
According to Golan, Anthropogogy has four basic principles:
1. The independent learner: the perception of oneself as an independent entity. A person sees him/herself as someone who is self-directed; choosing what to learn, how much and how to learn it. The role of the teacher is not to give ready answers to predetermined questions, but to help the learner find out for him/herself what the important questions are and how to answer them. Digital learners (DL) prefer to access information quickly from multiple-media source: prefer processing pictures, sounds, colors and video before text.
2. Adapting learning to that person's needs: the person is ready to learn when he/she needs that specific learning process, and it is incorporated into daily tasks and social functioning. He/she sees that the learning process serves his/her personal development.
Since every person has their own characteristics and needs, therefore, the most effective way of learning is to adapt learning to the needs and characteristics of that individual person with reference to their emotional and mental components, and not only to cognitive and behavioral aspects. DLs prefer parallel processing and multitasking and to learn "just in time".
3. Renovating learning: In the digital age where there is widespread availability of network information, learning should give news and added value to the learner.
People approach learning in possession of their life experiences. For learning to be more significant, the learner needs to connect the current learning knowledge with his/her prior knowledge. As such, educators have to find out the prior knowledge of the person and his/her previous experiences in order to connect it to the learning experience and not teach him/her things they already know. Thus the person who teaches should renovate learning. DLs prefer to network simultaneously with others and random access to hyper-linked multimedia information
4. Immediate and practical learning: The main motive for human learning is for problem solving. The learner has a need for the immediate application of the learned material, so learning has to be more focused in giving solutions to the particular problem. Learning which cannot be implemented immediately is perceived as a waste of time. DLs prefer instant gratification and immediate rewards.
· Anthropogogy helps DLs to learn what is relevant, in an active, instantly useful and fun way.