Translating Learning Research into the Design of Innovative Learning Environments

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The CERI OECD/National Science Foundation International Conference took place in Paris, at the OECD Headquarters on 23-24 January 2012. Here the presentation of Session 4, Brokering Reasearch Findings to Benefit Innovation in Education, Item 1.


  • 1. Translating LearningResearch into the Designof Innovative LearningEnvironmentsDavid Istance, OECDJanuary 2012
  • 2. OECD project Innovative Learning Environments (ILE)Dual focus on learning and innovation central to current agendasILE aims to inform practice, leadership and reform through analysis and exchange on configurations of learning for children & young people, by:1. Understanding the Lessons of Learning Research 2008- 2010 (helping to bridge the great disconnect)2. Compiling & Analysing Innovative Cases (Main pool around130 cases, plus 40 of these looked at through case studies): 2009-20123. Growing and sustaining innovative learning - Implementation and Change Strand starting now
  • 3. The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice OECD Publications, Sept. 2010, 338pp.
  • 4. The Nature of Learning: 2 Leading experts from Europe and N. America invited to contribute Summarised the large bodies of research on their subject in an accessible way, and identified key conclusions to inform the design of learning environments OECD authors (Dumont and Istance) provided scene-setting and final summary/reflections 4
  • 5. The Nature of Learning: 31.Analysing & Designing Learning 7. Technology and LearningEnvironments for the 21st Century Richard Mayer Hanna Dumont & David Istance 8. Cooperative Learning & Group-work2. Historical Developments in theUnderstanding of Learning Robert Slavin Erik De Corte 9. Inquiry-based Learning3. The Cognitive Perspective on Brigid Barron & Linda Darling-Hammond,Learning 10. The Community and Academic Elsbeth Stern & Michael Schneider Service Learning4. The Crucial Role of Emotions & Andrew FurcoMotivation in Learning Monique Boekaerts 11. The Effects of Family on Learning5. Developmental & Biological Barbara Schneider, Keesler & MorlockBases of Learning 12. Implementing Innovation: from Cristina Hinton & Kurt Fischer visions to everyday practice6. Formative Assessment Lauren Resnick, James Spillane, Goldman Dylan Wiliam & Rangel 13. Future Directions OECD (Istance & Dumont)
  • 6. Chapter 13: Conclusions the principlesThe research suggests that learning environments should: Make learning central, encourage engagement, and be where learners come to understand themselves as learners Ensure that learning is social and often collaborative Be highly attuned to learners motivations and the importance of emotions Be acutely sensitive to individual differences including in prior knowledge Be demanding for each learner but without excessive overload Use assessments consistent with its aims, with strong emphasis on formative feedback Promote horizontal connectedness across activities and subjects, in-and out-of-school 6
  • 7. Re-expressed in more familiar educational terms Learning environments should be: Learner-centred: highly focused on learning but not as an alternative to the key role for teachers Structured and well-designed: needs careful design and high professionalism alongside inquiry & autonomous learning Profoundly personalised: acutely sensitive to individual and group differences and offering tailored feedback Inclusive: such sensitivity to individual and group differences means they are fundamentally inclusive Social: learning is effective in group settings, when learners collaborate, and when there is a connection to community.
  • 8. Some observations, issues and tensions Some (e.g. Wiliam, Slavin, Mayer) stress that it is not the activity itself (e.g. group-work or formative assessment) but effective practice of those activities not treatments or behaviours Some (e.g. Barron and Darling-Hammond) stress dependence on demanding professionalism. What to do when well-trained and organised teachers are absent? Some (e.g. de Corte) stress context-dependency for learning. Does this rule out general guiding principles? Mix of approaches in coherent wholes vs impact of particular practices (treatments) What are appropriate evaluation methodologies for deciding the potential of innovations to inspire practice elsewhere? 8
  • 9. Dynamics and Organisation of Learning Environments the ILE framework resources content Learning Learning activities learners LEARNINGleadership how close to the principles? teachers Learning Feedback Information Evaluation and about learning assessment: activities, transforming learning learners, and information into outcomes usable knowledge 9
  • 10. In sum, effective learning environments will: Promote the principles through the pedagogical and assessment approaches and learning activities Involve active learning leadership distributed agency creating learning aims and identifying the strategic means to achieve them. Display well-developed capacity to gather information on learning and transform it into actionable formats (assessments) and use effective feedback practices for getting such information back to learners, teachers and the learning leadership. 10
  • 11. Framework informing ILE Implementation and ChangeIn addition to addressing how to:1. Create and sustain effective learning environments (applying the principles) holistic micro learning levelAnalysis and exchange of innovative practice around:2. Approaches to improve alignment of the technical core (the learning environment) and the organisational environment(s) in which it is located3. Approaches for developing the meso level - learning- focused networks & communities of practice4. Exploring macro level strategies & approaches to build capacity, create conditions, and stimulate innovative learning at the micro & meso levels
  • 12. Thank you! 12


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