Authentic Learning: Bridging the Gap of Knowledge and Action in South African Higher Education

Hlaviso A. Motlhaka


This article addresses the issue of authentic learning as a pedagogical approach in South African university in the Free State Province to bridge the gap of knowledge and action for meaningful teaching and learning of English as a Second Language (ESL). The aim of the study was to investigate the connection between authentic learning and problem-based learning in the hope of establishing effective strategies of teaching ESL. The researcher used qualitative research approach with phenomenological research design. The research population of this study encompassed eight first-year students and eight ESL lecturers with less than six years teaching experience in the faculty of education at an institution of higher learning and information was gathered through the use of open-ended questionnaires and focus group interviews. The findings found that technology has a profound impact on authentic learning in Higher Education because it gives students access to reliable, first-hand information for investigation and analysis, as well as a larger real-world audience outside the classroom. This article also finds that authentic learning recognizes students as legitimate peripheral participants in a community of practice to be competitive in a global job market. Finally, it outlines the roles of the lecturer as a nurturer and innovator who strives to broaden student learning experiences through sharing with the world outside the school walls and provides recommendations to help lecturers and researchers in enhancing students’ ESL learning through the use of authentic learning paradigm.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p891

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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