Why Concept-based Learning is the Future of Higher Education

Why Concept-based Learning is the Future of Higher Education

Concept-based learning is increasingly being adopted by educational institutions as a teaching method to ensure the comprehension of key concepts over simply memorizing information. This approach to learning is especially beneficial in higher education, where students are often required to understand complex concepts. EdTech companies are focusing on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into their solutions to drive more effective, efficient, and engaging learning experiences. These solutions are providing increased analytical capabilities, automated assessments, and improved feedback to students and teachers, as well as more personalized interactions with students.

Let us look at three reasons why concept-based learning is becoming popular in academia and why educational institutions should make all efforts possible to instill it in their pedagogy.  

Offering a Comprehensive Perspective

Concept-based learning offers a comprehensive view of each subject, allowing students to understand the connections between all areas of a given topic. This helps learners see “the big picture” of the area of study and gain a better understanding of the content as a whole. It also encourages flexibility and creativity in how learners approach the subject. By understanding concepts in a more holistic sense, students can make connections between related ideas which could lead to greater academic success. Additionally, since concept-based learning emphasizes the big ideas that tie all of the content of a subject together, it helps students develop better critical thinking skills needed when tackling complex problems.

In higher education, concept-based learning could be implemented in a variety of ways. Case studies can be incorporated into classroom curriculums. By exploring and discussing hypothetical and real-world scenarios, students can gain critical insights and develop a more sophisticated understanding of a concept. It can also be used to create hands-on and experiential learning opportunities for students. For example, a college professor may organize a field trip for her physics class to a local observatory so that the students can observe and interact with equipment and engage directly with the material. Students can also be given multiple assessments such as essays, projects, and presentations that measure their understanding of a concept. These types of assessments allow students to demonstrate deeper learning and knowledge, rather than regurgitating information from a textbook.

Embracing Diverse Learning Styles

Concept-based learning is both flexible and accessible, allowing for all types of learners to gain knowledge and understanding, regardless of learning style. It is concerned with teaching higher-order thinking skills, such as creative problem solving and the ability to apply materials in different contexts. In contrast to traditional rote memorization approaches, concept-based learning allows learners to make meaningful connections between topics and material, fostering increased comprehension and understanding. In order to ensure understanding and successful application, concrete examples of the concepts taught is necessary. Concept-based learning can be used to teach a range of topics and skills, from mathematics to music and language. It can also be used as a tool for assessment and to boost the students’ knowledge of a given topic.

When teaching a concept-based lesson, teachers should use an approach that embraces a variety of learning styles to engage different types of learners. Teachers can use multiple methods of presenting the concept, such as video, interactive activities, and class discussions. Visual aids should also be utilized to aid visual learners in understanding the concept. For example, teachers can use diagrams, illustrations, and hands-on activities to help bring the concept to life. Additionally, teachers should utilize auditory learning strategies such as prompts for discussing the concept in small groups or a whole-class discussion. Finally, kinesthetic learners can benefit from physically manipulating objects to gain a deeper understanding of the concept. By using a variety of approaches, teachers should be able to effectively engage all students.

Stimulating Creative Thinking

Concept-based learning encourages individuals to think creatively and find creative solutions to problem-solving tasks. It encourages students to think critically and ask questions before making assessments and judgments. Concept-based learning also helps individuals relate ideas to more sophisticated concepts and think about how concepts are interconnected. This type of learning encourages exploration to find connections between ideas and to seek out new ways of understanding and explaining challenging topics. In addition, concept-based learning encourages individuals to become creative problem-solvers. This type of learning enables them to draw from a variety of sources and seek out creative solutions. These creative solutions may offer more flexible or creative approaches to problem-solving than traditional methods.

One way to stimulate creative thinking in concept-based learning is through open-ended questions and activities. For example, a teacher could provide the students with a concept, like “gravity,” and then facilitate a discussion about the concept and its implications. During the discussion, students can explore what the concept means and how it affects the world around them. The teacher can also provide simple activities, such as having students create a diagram that explains how gravity works. By allowing students to explore the concept from all angles and providing them with activities to do, the teacher can encourage them to think creatively, which can lead to more meaningful learning.   

“Metaverse-based education combines the traditional approach of textbook learning with immersive, hands-on virtual experiences to improve student outcomes. This kind of learning engages students more deeply and can result in improved comprehension, higher levels of participation, and a greater sense of satisfaction,” writes R M Chitnis, Vice-chancellor, MIT-World Peace University, Pune in an article for Times of India.   

Despite the growing popularity of concept-based learning, there is still much unknown about its future in higher education. Will more colleges and universities adopt concept-based learning? Will it become the new standard for teaching and learning? Only time will tell. What is certain though is that concept-based learning offers unique benefits for student success in higher education and is worth exploring further by educators.