By Firdous Sonia Butoni |

“Why do I need to know this?”

If you’ve asked this question during a class you were taking you surely are not alone. One of the implications of education is the disconnect between what is taught in class and what learners encounter in the real world. This is where Authentic Learning comes in. Authentic Learning entails connecting learning material that mirrors real-world complexities and ambiguities. In doing so, educators create relevant tasks that are of interest to learners in an attempt to prepare them for the real world.

Authentic Learning Characteristics

Authentic Learning embraces a Constructivist’s learning theory in which learning is an active process. What this means is that learners construct knowledge for themselves, not only through physical actions and hand-on experiences but also through reflective activities that engage the learner’s mind. It is also characterized by situated learning contexts in which the application of skills is demonstrated to learners, thereby echoing the ‘learning by doing approach’ that goes by the premise that learning is best done through experience.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. ” -Benjamin Franklin

Learning experiences that are characterized by Authentic Learning are part of a broad spectrum, including, but not limited to,

All of these result in an increase in student engagement and motivation. Let us dive into each one of these characteristics a little further.

Why Authentic Learning Matters

By drawing on real-world issues, learners can make meaning out of their learning while staying motivated through the learning experience. They can also develop sharper problem-solving skills and gain the confidence to utilize these skills beyond the classroom. Other benefits include broadened learning outcomes and greater knowledge retention.

Additionally, learners immersed in Authentic Learning activities cultivate skills such as the judgment to distinguish reliable from unreliable information, follow longer arguments, and the flexibility to work across disciplines.

Key Takeaways

One of the main goals of education is to equip learners with the necessary skills to apply in the real world. Implementing Authentic Learning therefore allows for:


Firdous Butoni

Firdous Sonia Butoni

Learning Designer at Construct