Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Positive Psychology and Liberated Learning

It taps a huge market for the optimization in human achievement, which can be attained more efficiently through positive psychology and liberated learning.

By narrowing the digital divide throughout Indonesia, we should be able to implement effective liberated learning through an online environment based on positive learning psychology.

While many of self-help and motivation gurus are self taught, a few distinctive positive psychologists are making their marks in the scientific study of optimal human functioning. The state of happiness as a feeling must be translated into learning activities.

In his extremely popular class, Ben-Shahar defines “happiness” as the overall experience of pleasure and meaning. Happiness, after all, is the key to optimized, if not maximized, human achievement.

In liberated learning framework, both present and future benefits are also placed in proportionate importance. According to SLOAN Consortium, a professional organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, in Fall 2008, with over 4.6 million college students took at least one online course.

Among the top universities in the United States integrating online with mainstream courses are Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Wisconsin, Columbia University, NYU, and California State University System. On K-12 level, California Virtual Academies provide free online public education curricula that would prepare students for future demands as guided by credentialed teachers using the promises of online technology. Learning is both individually tailored and mass marketed.

Learning is “individually tailored” as students and parents have the freedom to choose learning subjects and styles that fit their needs, while it is “mass marketed” as learning is no longer a scarce commodity in which one class of tens of students must be taught by a teacher who is a sage on the stage. Teachers are facilitators by the side whose main interest is ensuring a positive learning environment to optimize knowledge and skill retention. Here, Freud’s philosophy of pleasure and Frankl’s philosophy of meaning play a distinctive role.

It might take a while for Indonesian education policy makers to agree to adopt such advanced techniques in learning, particularly in distributed liberated learning. University of the People, a new online university that doesn’t charge any tuition fees is an example of democratization and equalization of learning opportunities using open source instructional materials and low-cost Internet-based technologies. Let us push the direction of education policies in Indonesia to allow equality in learning opportunities by implementing reliable and affordable — if not free — Internet connections throughout the country.

Summarized from The Jakarta Post

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