When speaking to Dr. Angela Robbins, founder of ELearningDOC, on my “Empowering Women in Educational Leadership” September 27th episode, we were talking about some challenges with encouraging educators to update their instructional design within their curriculum, she mentioned that students are learning in spite of the current pedagogy through a “hidden curriculum.” This was such an eye-opening comment that has opened my eyes and mind to the essential need to constantly evaluate the way instruction is delivered to support student learning. Let me elaborate a bit more.

In educational circles, the “hidden curriculum” term is gaining momentum. At a glance, it may sound like an esoteric concept, but in reality, it represents the grassroots movement of students across the globe. These individuals, often driven by sheer necessity, are forming their own learning networks, circumventing the traditional and sometimes outdated instructional methods.

The Rise of the Student Network

Long before the age of digital revolution, students exchanged notes, shared textbooks, or teamed up for group studies. But in the digital age, this has evolved to an entirely new level. Platforms like Google Drive, shared folders, and even dedicated forums allow students to accumulate and share resources from across the world. From lecture notes to custom-made animations explaining complex concepts, this shared database is expanding at an unprecedented rate.

 Why the Shift?

One might wonder: if traditional educational systems have worked for years, why the sudden reliance on a hidden curriculum? The answer lies in the mismatch between today’s learners and yesteryear’s teaching methods. Modern students, often dubbed ‘digital natives,’ have grown up in a world where information is at their fingertips. The old-style lecture method, with its passive learning model, no longer suffices. Students are looking for interactive, engaging, and, most importantly, relevant content.

 The Power of Collaboration

The essence of the hidden curriculum is collaboration. It’s students coming together to say, “If the system won’t provide what we need, we’ll create it ourselves.” They’re developing their own quizzes, crafting their own infographics, and even creating short video tutorials. Each contribution enriches the collective resource pool.

 What his Means for Educators

Rather than seeing the hidden curriculum as a challenge, educators can view it as an opportunity. It’s clear feedback that students are craving more engaging, interactive, and updated content. By integrating modern instructional design techniques, educators can bridge the gap.

1. Embrace Technology: From virtual reality to gamified learning apps, technology can make learning more immersive and engaging.

2. Interactivity is Key: Passive learning is passé. Modern learners want to be part of the learning process, not just bystanders.

3. Feedback Loops: Just as students are collaborating, educators can form their own networks, constantly updating and improving teaching methods based on real-time feedback.

 In conclusion, the hidden curriculum is more than just a collection of resources; it’s a clarion call for educational reform. By recognizing and adapting to this shift, educators can ensure that the learning process is not just efficient, but also enjoyable for the students of today and tomorrow.

If you know that your instruction is not meeting the needs of today’s learner, reach out to Dr. Angela Robbins at www.elearningdoc.com. I would love to offer a free consultation for anyone interested in evaluating where you are currently to determine where you want to go! Reach out at www.drstephanieduguid.com.