New 365 Inclusion and Diversity Whole Year Showcase Launches with Ericsson
Why This Matters So Much
To recognise the 10th anniversary of GirlsInICT day and as part of our broader #365 initiative to advance inclusion and diversity in tech every single day, it was a privilege for Tomorrow's Tech Today's host Prof. Sally Eaves to speak with three inspiring women in tech leaders from Ericsson! The brilliant Esra Kocatürk-Norell, Eva Hedfors and Monica Zethzon with key messages around moving beyond mentorship to sponsorship, claiming your space and being generous and acknowledging others - we could not agree more strongly!
What do women and girls need to do to pursue careers in STEM and tech?
And why is it that the average age for girls to drop out of STEM subjects is just 15 years of age.
How can we move beyond STEM to STEAM?
You can dive deep into all the content and video interviews right here
And supporting this initiative further, here is our guide to why how we learn matters too with all feedback welcomed! Thank you Sally and the TTT team :)
In the ‘Age of Re-Invention’ Capacity to Learn is Key
We are living in an Age of Re-Invention (Eaves 2020). The pandemic has brought to the fore not only the criticalities of connectivity, collaboration and experience, but further, the need to be ambidextrous - equipped to continually learn and unlearn to adjust to the rapid pace, scale and unpredictability of change.
Change has never happened this fast - and will never happen this slowly again.
Before Spring 2020, emergent technologies, especially AI and Automation were already broadly regarded as the most significant disruptors to the future of work. The continuing impact of Covid19 has accelerated this effect in a myriad of ways.
On one hand, we have seen the ‘art of the possible’ with an unprecedented acceleration of innovation, application of video communication techniques, augmented intelligence tools and the actualisation of distributed working at scale, right across the globe. And on the other, we have seen huge income and job losses due to a combination of lockdown effects, emergent new consumer behaviours with the move to Digital and the evolving dynamics of our city centres.
The permanency or otherwise of these trends, it is still too early to tell – but what is clear, is that the future is increasingly hybrid, and one of continual change.
And this can understandably be anxious times for anyone, underpinned by the natural human tendency of resistance to change and heightened by the unprecedented nature of all we have been experiencing, and the fear of, what’s next? Some people are returning to education for the first time in many years to upskill or reskill; others are using very unfamiliar technology tools to access their learning; and still more, are embarking on developing new skill sets that lie far beyond existing comfort zones. And teacher’s themselves are doing many things differently and for the very first time too!
What ties them all together is the imperative of the age – the need to reflect, reinvent and reimagine ourselves, how we do things, and what we are doing them for.
So, who or what will help guide this process? Technology, providing there is equality of access to it, can be a fantastic complementary partner to learning. As an example, big data predictive analytics can help to determine what a student is or is not mastering; insights that will also be vital to teachers and mentors alike. And of course, we have people doing fantastic work in formal teaching, tutoring, training and pastoral roles across education and organisations, together with many more supporting learners within the community, from specific projects to family and friendship groups. And we can also help ourselves too – this is especially vital as we move towards towards a student-centric model of learning, whereby the student takes responsibility for what is learnt, how, why and when. But what is one of the key barriers to success yet is so often overlooked? The need to understand the learning process itself.
How We Learn
If we better understand the process of learning (our metacognition) we can better understand ourselves and become more effective at it. This is learning – made smart. Some people will understandably have difficulty adjusting to new realities and so this capacity to understand yourself and how you learn best can be vital to fulfilling re-skilling and up-skilling needs – optimising the effectiveness of personalised learning for life.
This high impact, low cost approach can be described as the processes involved when learners make changes to their own learning behaviours and plan, monitor and evaluate before a period of reflection.
One way of thinking about this is ‘like going to the gym, but for your brain’
At the planning phase, the focus is on understanding the goal you want to achieve, while considering how best to approach the task. This requires thinking about which strategies need to be adopted and can be broken down into:
- What have you been asked to do?
- What strategies will you use?
- Is there any strategy that you have previously used that could help you again?
When monitoring, this is about understanding the progress that has been made towards the learning goal, while implementing the previously constructed plan from the first phase of metacognition. If the strategies that are being used are not working as well as anticipated, learners might decide to make changes throughout the process. As they work through the task or learning experience, it is worth considering the following:
- Is the current strategy working?
- Did you make the right choice?
- Should you try something different to improve?
The evaluation phase is crucial for any learning goal. This is where it is key to understand how successful the preferred strategy was in the process and determine whether they would follow the same strategy if they were to go through the process again. During evaluation, learners could consider:
- Did you do well overall?
- What didn’t you do well and how could a different approach help in future?
- What did you do well? Could you repeat the process for other projects?
It is important that everyone can question themselves throughout the process as this will support reflection whilst ensuring complacency is avoided and standards of concentration are maintained. The plan-monitor-evaluate model relies on reflection to complete the learning process, increase efficacy and reinforce both the positive and negative outcomes obtained on the journey.
A self-regulated learner, with strong metacognition, is highly attune to their strengths and weaknesses, and the most effective strategies they can use to learn and improve.
Implications for Being a Good Mentor
And if we better understand how metacognition works, we can also better understand others, empathize with different approaches and styles of learning and become more effective mentors ourselves. To do this, it will help to ask yourself the following questions about your mentoring methods whether you are experienced or new to the process of metacognition:
- Are the learning objectives I have set clear?
As a mentor, being clear and concise in the message you portray is equally important as being approachable and informative to learners. Learners will not achieve their goals unless they fully understand their objectives from you.
- Learners need to monitor their learning; how will I encourage this?
Mentors can prompt learners while monitoring their chosen strategies as some people often fail to recognise the most suitable strategy straight away.
- Learners must practice new strategies, have I given them the opportunity?
Learners will need you to let them learn both with support and independently especially when introducing a new strategy. Monitor throughout and provide feedback as the learning process takes shape.
- Is there enough time allocated for the self-reflection process?
It is important that mentors dedicate time for learners to reflect and provide them with the opportunity to do so via personal reflection time. This enables students to critique their learning experience and consider different options to improve their performance in future projects.
- Are metacognitive practices supported in the learning environment?
Ensure that you are modelling metacognitive practices with effect and giving learners sufficient opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers. By encouraging reflection and evaluating their progress, the mentor is creating a learning environment in which pupils can engage, enjoy their experience and ultimately, can thrive.
Final Thoughts and Next Steps
In this piece, we have seen just how much learning – and specifically the process of learning itself – matters. And not just for ourselves but critically, to help others too. With the rapid rate of change in ways of working and roles, coupled with the increasing influence of technology, metacognition will become an ever more important skill. In the next part of the series, we explore the ‘What’ of learning. In this Age of Re-Invention, we focus on the key STEAM skills to develop and build a ‘holistic skills toolkit’ that is fit for the future – whatever it may bring, and moreover, whatever you may reimagine it to be.
By Sally Eaves