There is nothing more heartwarming to a classroom teacher to see her students actively engaged in learning. Students are motivated and engaged when they are working on something they determine is valuable and meaningful. Authentic and real world learning activities can give students that validity. Real world learning motivates and engages students because learning contextually involves real world data, is of interest to students, and produces work for an audience that extends beyond the classroom. Authentic learning activities and opportunities are the most beneficial learning experiences for our students because they are relevant and applicable to our students' lives.
Student internships are a fantastic way for students to experience real world learning. Internships allow students to apply classroom learning to real-life work situations. Learning is authentic as students learn from on the job training. Students also gain experience and insight to the world of work.
In the classroom, technology can help students receive authentic learning experiences. Learning transcends the classroom as the Internet is used as a vehicle for locating information, sharing ideas, and communicating with others. Teleconferencing professionals and experts that can speak and mentor students can add authenticity to student work. Designing learning activities that require real world interaction will motivate and engage students into deeper learning.
Our data filled society and technology are driving forces for the need to change classroom instruction. The Internet is helping everyone learn outside the classroom walls. For example, at any place and time, students can use their phones to scour the Internet for information to meet their need to know. They have the tool to find the information, and they are motivated by a desire to know about something that is meaningful to them. In order for education to become more relevant and meaningful for our students, classroom teachers must design learning activities that utilize modern technology in context that is meaningful and relevant to our students. Using activities that are real life and authentic will help our students gain deeper understanding of learning objectives, and it will help our students develop skills and practices that will help them on their journey of becoming life-long learners.
Here is my storify on Real World Learning.