Educational Research and Innovation

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

2076-9679 (online)
2076-9660 (print)
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This series of books from the OECD's Centre for Educational Research and Innovations provides the results of OECD work on innovation in education.

Also available in French
Schooling Redesigned

Schooling Redesigned

Towards Innovative Learning Systems You do not have access to this content

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22 Oct 2015
9789264245914 (PDF) ;9789264245907(print)

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What does redesigning schools and schooling through innovation mean in practice? How might it be brought about? These questions have inspired an influential international reflection on "Innovative Learning Environments" (ILE) led by the OECD. This reflection has already resulted in publications on core design principles and frameworks and on learning leadership. Now the focus extends from exceptional examples towards wider initiatives and system transformation. The report draws as core material on analyses of initiatives specially submitted by some 25 countries, regions and networks. It describes common strengths around a series of Cs: Culture change, Clarifying focus, Capacity creation, Collaboration & Co-operation, Communication technologies & platforms, and Change agents. It suggests that growing innovative learning at scale needs approaches rooted in the complexity of 21st century society and "learning eco-systems". It argues that a flourishing middle level of change around networks and learning communities provides the platform on which broader transformation can be built.

This report is not a compendium of "best practices" but a succinct analysis presenting original concepts and approaches, illustrated by concrete cases from around the world. It will be especially useful for those designing, researching or engaging in educational change, whether in schools, policy, communities or wider networks.

"The OECD’s ILE work has mobilised and generated profoundly important knowledge about the nature of learning and opened understandings of learning environments within and beyond school. The ILE Framework has already proved to be an invaluable tool for the emerging future of learning leadership and systems development."

Professor Michael Schratz, Dean, School of Education, University of Innsbruck, Austria; President of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI)

"Innovation and creativity are the lifeblood of learning. Schooling Redesigned summarises beautifully one of the OECD's most fascinating projects - an attempt to look at the DNA of innovation in schools. Using a global range of actual examples it describes the conditions that education systems have to create if children and their parents, teachers and communities are to feel confident and optimistic about the future. For teachers, the messages are inspiring. Education systems have to focus on enhancing teachers' capacity and motivation. Standardisation cannot do that. Its messages to the profession and its organisations are profound. Teacher unions are, can and should be at the centre of creating the conditions for innovation."

John Bangs, Special consultant at Education International; Chair of TUAC’s international group on Education, Training and Employment Policy

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  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    The demands on learners and thus education systems are evolving fast. In the past, education was about teaching people something. Now, it is about making sure that individuals develop a reliable compass and the navigation skills to find their own way through an increasingly uncertain, volatile and ambiguous world. These days, we no longer know exactly how things will unfold, often we are surprised and need to learn from the extraordinary, and sometimes we make mistakes along the way. And it will often be the mistakes and failures, when properly understood, that create the context for learning and growth. A generation ago, teachers could expect that what they taught would last for a lifetime of their students. Today, schools need to prepare students for more rapid economic and social change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, to use technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve social problems that we do not yet know will arise.

  • Executive summary

    The question of how well education systems develop knowledge, skills and capacities, and of what kinds, is increasingly centre stage in public debate. It represents a different starting point for innovation compared with the longstanding progressive ambition to realise more holistic educational opportunities and promote individual development. Yet, both call for innovation and for systemic change, not isolated innovation here and there. Innovating learning environments with collaborative definitions of professionalism and the strong engagement of all partners (most especially young people themselves) are also more likely to enhance the attractiveness of teaching than backward-looking definitions.

  • The challenge of transformation towards innovative learning systems

    This chapter introduces the rationale and key concepts used in the report, and summarises its main findings and arguments. The growing fact and understanding of complexity in learning systems highlights the impoverishment of mechanical metaphors and the assumption of policy omnipotence within well-defined systems. Organic concepts and models are needed: learning eco-systems, which can be understood as divided into the learning environment (micro) level, the "meso" networked level, and the overall "meta" level. This report analyses the submitted networked initiatives in terms of whether and in what way they are learning focused, what is the balance they achieve of formal and nonformal, and their means of diffusion. The shared features of the strategies and initiatives are summarised as a series of "Cs": Culture change, Clarifying focus, Capacity creation, knowledge and professional learning, Collaboration and co-operation, Communication technologies and platforms, and Change agents. The creation of flourishing networked learning eco-systems is a principal means for broader meta transformation to occur. This chapter focuses especially on knowledge, time and leadership, including the role of government.

  • Conditions and signposts in generalising Innovative Learning Environments

    This chapter extends the 7+3 framework developed in earlier ILE analyses by examining the conditions and policies that will be conducive to making the framework widespread practice. It summarises these under the following headings: reducing standardisation, fostering innovation, broadening institutions; appropriate accountability and metrics for 21st century learning; fostering learning leadership, trust and learner agency; widespread collaborative expert professionalism; ubiquitous professional learning; connectivity and extensive digital infrastructure; flourishing cultures of networks and partnership; and powerful knowledge systems and cultures of evaluation. The chapter extends the framework further by offering signposts to show when indeed it is becoming widespread practice. This is done by examining each of the ten elements of the framework and presenting indicators that would show whether each has become typical. The chapter concludes with a condensed set of such indicators.

  • Promising strategies for spreading innovative learning environments

    This chapter provides an overview of the strategies and initiatives that were contributed to the "Implementation and Change" strand of the ILE study. Altogether, 26 participating systems, including countries, provincial states, foundations and networks, submitted promising examples of change strategies. Each is described briefly in turn. The chapter then identifies underlying threads summarised as a series of C’s: Culture change, which is more important but much harder to realise than surface change; Clarifying focus, as trying to do all at once risks disjointed diffusion and dilution; Capacity creation, consisting of knowledge (including research), professional learning and the capacity to act on that knowledge and learning; Collaboration and co-operation, for collaborative professionalism is assumed in many strategies as are networks and professional learning communities; Communication technologies and platforms as prominent parts of professional practice and change strategies; and Change agents, i.e. specific specialist roles providing local drive, expertise and influence.

  • Growing innovative learning through meso-level networking

    The strategies and initiatives featured in the ILE study are operating at the "meso" level, and their differing scale is described in this chapter. While networks and initiatives are constantly emerging and evolving, they often disappear as well. Growth depends on the emergence of healthy new learning-focused networks outstripping the inevitable decline or disappearance of others. The chapter extends the ILE framework architecture to accommodate the meso level and uses this to present the submitted strategies and initiatives: the degree to which they are learning-focused; their balance of the formal and non-formal; and the means of diffusion and innovation "contagion". As well as extending the ILE framework, the chapter also uses the framework to ask how well the initiatives are applying it to themselves: how are these strategies applying the lessons of learning principles, designing and redesigning on the basis of learning evidence, and bringing in different partners in their operationalisation?

  • Transformation and leadership in complex learning systems

    Growing and sustaining innovative learning at scale needs to be located in an understanding of the complexity of contemporary learning systems with many settings, players and connections. The creation of flourishing sets of "meso" networked systems is a principal means through which the broader "meta" transformation can take place. Given the importance of relationships and connectors, knowledge is critical to the innovation process and system architecture. Evaluative knowledge is an integral aspect of innovation and implementation. Theories of change are needed to connect actions, strategies and policies with the intended beneficial results, and associated narratives can play an important role. The issue of leadership in such complex systems is fundamental, and increasingly challenging. Often leadership will come from new players. But government leadership remains critical regarding the structure and distribution of learning opportunities, and overseeing coherence of aims, infrastructure and accountability. Government has a privileged role in: i) regulating; ii) incentivising; and iii) accelerating.

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