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The Learner Profile and Online Learning

The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. The learner profile provides a long-term vision of the goals of education: a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and give focus and unity to the work of schools, teachers, parents and students. The check points below indicate just some of the ways in which Pamoja Education's online IB courses support each element in the learner profile.

In accordance with the IB learner profile, IB learners strive to be:

  • Inquirers: Weekly assignments and longer-term projects lead to independent inquiry. Teachers provide guidance and motivation - helping students to formulate their own questions, and to make optimal use of online media in seeking their answers. Web 2.0 tools provide students with new opportunities and new motivation for inquiry - allowing them to collaborate with and learn from classmates who may be living on the other side of the world.
  • Knowledgeable: As in any traditional "face-to-face" IB course, Pamoja Education online IB courses cultivate depth and breadth of knowledge within and beyond the boundaries of the course discipline. Our courses are designed by leading experts in their fields - all senior IB educators chosen in consultation with, and approved by, the IB. The courses themselves are approved by the IB, ensuring that both content and pedagogy are cutting edge in every respect. In the online environment, students interact regularly with their instructors and classmates around the world
  • Thinkers: Online learning environments develop intellectual self-reliance. While students receive support from their online teacher and classmates, they must, perhaps to a greater extent than in a traditional class, think through new ideas and challenging information independently and construct their own understanding. They cannot just copy what they "see" being done in the classroom.
  • Communicators: The ability to communicate is fundamental to success in an online course. Students need to be active and engaged communicators - capable of expressing themselves and understanding others using a wide range of media. Pamoja Education online IB courses cultivate the full range of communication skills - not only reading and writing, but also (perhaps surprisingly for those not familiar with Web 2.0 tools) listening and speaking. The tremendous diversity of our online classrooms exposes students to the challenges, and the joys, of communication across cultural boundaries - and helps sensitize students to the importance of communication style as well as content.
  • Principled: As our students interact with others online and complete assignments, they are expected to demonstrate a high degree of self-discipline, self-respect and respect for others. We expect (and require) that our students adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty, and to the principles embodied in the IB mission statement. We also seek to instill a sense of principled support for these standards - in each and every online student. We find that the online environment provides a powerful medium, for such discussions. Many IB subjects provide opportunity for discussions of principle. For example, the ethical implications of various policies, or of individuals' behaviours, are discussed in a wide variety of courses. The high level of student-student and student-teacher interaction inherent in our courses encourages healthy debate.
  • Open-minded: In the Pamoja Education online environment, students engage with instructors and students from around the world. Open-mindedness about new ideas, different perspectives and alternative contexts is essential to a healthy and productive online learning community.
  • Caring: In every IB school, students are expected to care and to show that they care. IB students are expected to consider issues in a human context, no matter whether those issues have a global impact upon the world's population or a local impact on the student at the neighbouring desk. Learning to interact with others in a highly diverse online community can challenge a student’s capacity for understanding and caring in new ways. The geographic and ideological "distance" between students can be potent. The diversity of online students' backgrounds, values and priorities develops students' sensitivity and their capacity for empathy.
  • Risk-takers: It can be a rewarding experience for students to step outside of their "comfort zones" and take calculated risks. An online course can represent just such a risk to students who are unfamiliar with the experience. By mastering the challenge, students can become stronger learners and more confident individuals.
  • Balanced: IB learners strive for intellectual, physical and emotional balance. Virtual learning does not mean that students leave the "real" world behind. As with face-to-face experiences, students' online experiences can promote a sense of balance. The skills that students gain through their online experience will be highly relevant to their university and professional careers.
  • Reflective: Critical reflection is essential for student success in face-to-face and online classrooms alike. Students must be able to review and assess the significance of new information, personal experiences, classmates' observations and teacher feedback on a regular basis. This is especially important in the online environment, where the source, authenticity and accuracy of information must always be called into question. Such qualities are not only essential for responsible learners, but for responsible global citizens as well.                      

(Adapted from the IB website: http://www.ibo.org/programmes/profile/

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