I’m ramping up to attend ATD ICE 2016 next week, so I’m busy planning my conference map, deciding which sessions get to make the cut for my attention. One such session is being presented by Shannon Tipton on the 21st-Century Toolbox. Today, she tweeted about the session with a link to a brief article she wrote last month. It’s here that I came across a term I hadn’t heard in several years; a term that took me back to my graduate studies, and one which I here said every now and again: Integrative Learning.
The idea behind integrative learning is that it is learning designed to allow learners to connect information and enhance understanding of topics across disciplines. When I do hear this term tossed around, it’s usually in the context of K-12 education – why? Because K-12 education, at least around these parts, is largely based on curriculums that have been carefully crafted to created integrated learning experiences. However, integrative learning is happening in many other places. For example, any higher education course that’s been offered has usually undergone a behind the scenes development to ensure that learning objectives and learning outcomes are closely linked with appropriate assessment measures.
We also see integrative learning in procedural training, where learners are taking theoretical concepts, such as their knowledge of lug nuts, and applying that knowledge to a task at hand, such as connecting the lug nut to the 1/4 inch screw (full disclosure – this was a horrible example – I know nothing about lug nuts or screws, I’m sorry). Or, their prior knowledge of how their cat will behave when they try to clip the cat’s nails – in this context, the individual is integrating their prior knowledge of how their cat will react with the steps they take to proceed, such as first wrapping the cat tightly in a towel in a burrito-esque manner (that was a better example, yeah?).
What I’m trying to say here is that integrative learning is happening all around us, albeit, we may not be thinking too much about it. If you’ve experienced a traditional K-12 education, you may especially be oblivious to it because it’s just ‘the way it is’, but now that you know a little bit more, you’ll likely begin to notice integrative learning happening around you a bit more often!