CONTEXTUAL APPROACH AS THE BASIS FOR EFFECTIVE EXPERIENTIAL TRAINING OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN RUSSIA
The need for the study was caused by the ongoing search by Russian teachers and educators for the most optimal forms and methods of training their students for life and professional activities. Today, in the age of high tech and innovative solutions, debates on how digital transformation can change and improve the quality of life of Russians by 2030 do not subside. If public administration, legal regulation, infrastructure, cybersecurity, technology deployment are issues of prerogative of the government and authorities entrusted to it, then the task of updating labor markets and improving the education system capable of training competent specialists for the needs of the emerging digital economy mainly depends on society itself, including teachers, educators, employers and potential employees. Accordingly, universities are involved; they alter their concepts of knowledge delivery, revise and upgrade their curriculum, expand opportunities for active competence-based education filled with new meanings and incentives in the context of social development.
The aim of this paper is to analyze and identify the best practices, strategies and models based on contextual approach applicable to Russian universities in terms of effective experiential teaching and learning. The term "context" serves as a semantic, meaning-forming category of this approach, while contextual teaching and learning (CTL) is considered as a holistic process of modeling and imitating (simulating) various diverse contexts of real life and professional activities for educational purposes. Emphasis is placed on training problem-solving and critical thinking skills that will ultimately enforce students to become active and motivated learners who can put theory into practice. Three context-based training models: semiotic, imitation and social were also in focus of our research.
The methodological framework of this work rests on a comparative analysis of the provisions of such theories as behaviorism, constructivism, connectivism, and some later developed competence and context-based approaches by Western and Russian scholars. A comprehensive study of technical, pedagogical and managerial issues of contextual, project-based and experiential modes of education has also been provided. Based on the empirical approach, testing, evaluation and control of usability, accessibility, availability and safety of some related techniques, tools and resources have been performed. An experimental study has been conducted with the aim of obtaining, comparing and using certain relevant data on attitudes, priorities and student learning outcomes in a traditional versus context-based university environment. The main result of the study is the design of a context-based teaching-learning model that enhances the quality of university education, helps teachers relate the subject matter content to real world situations and motivates students to make meaningful connections.