Every educator wants to create an environment that will foster students’ love of learning. Because the criteria are intangible, it’s difficult to define or pinpoint exactly what they are. But one group is giving it a try.
Researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched the Innovative Learning Environments project to turn an academic lens on the project of identifying concrete traits that mark innovative learning environments. They sifted through and categorized the research on learning science, documented case studies, and compiled policy recommendations they hope will transform the current system.
Their book, The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice and the accompanying practitioner’s guide, lay out the key principles for designing learning environments that will help students build skills useful in a world where jobs are increasingly information and knowledge-based. The principles are not job-specific – no one knows what the future economy will demand. Instead, the main goal is to develop self-directed learners, students with “adaptive expertise.”
“Adaptive expertise tries to push beyond the idea of mastery,” said Jennifer Groff, an educational engineer and co-founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign. “You may be proficient, but without adaptive expertise you can get stuck very quickly as the world shifts.”
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Groff doesn’t dispute that mastery is important and that students need to learn age-appropriate content, but she also argues it’s equally important to develop students’ ability to go beyond that, to question and apply learning in new situations.
To that end, these are their identified principles for innovative learning.
- 1.Learners have to be at the center of what happens in the classroom with activities focused on their cognition and growth. They have to actively engage in learning in order to become self-regulated learners who are able to control their emotions and motivations during the study process, set goals, and monitor their own learning process.
- 2. Learning is a social practice and can’t happen alone. “By our nature we are social beings and we learn by interacting,” Groff said. “We learn by pushing and pulling on concepts with Continue reading