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
The OECD Handbook for Innovative Learning Environments

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Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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22 June 2017
9789264277274 (PDF) ;9789264277236(print)

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How might we know whether our schools or system are set up to optimise learning? How can we find out whether we are getting the most from technology? How can we evaluate our innovation or think through whether our change initiative will bring about its desired results? Teachers and educational leaders who grapple with such questions will find this handbook an invaluable resource. It draws on extensive reports and materials compiled over a decade by the OECD in its Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) project. Its four chapters – The learning principles; The innovative learning environment framework; Learning leadership and evaluative thinking; and Transformation and change - each contain a concise, non-technical overview introduction followed by a set of tools. The handbook makes good the ILE ambition not just to analyse change but to offer practical help to those around the world determined to innovate their schools and systems.

“If there has been one lesson learnt about innovating education, it is that teachers, schools and local administrators should not just be involved in the implementation of educational change but they should have a central role in its design.” Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills.

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  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    Over the last decade, the OECD region has seen a 20 percent rise in spending per school student but yet little significant improvement in learning outcomes. When other sectors see flat-lining productivity they look to innovation. In many fields, people enter their professional lives expecting their practice to be transformed by innovation. This is still not widespread in education. When the OECD conducted its first international survey of teachers, teaching and learning (TALIS), an average of only just over a quarter of teachers responded that more innovation in their teaching would be valued, never mind rewarded, in their schools.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    This Handbook is the culmination of the Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) project run over the decade since the mid-2000s. The Handbook is aimed at those working in education leadership, policy and practice looking for succinct frameworks and practical tools to help them to innovate in their own settings.

  • Introductory overview

    The Introductory Overview explains the origins and purpose of the ILE Handbook, and how it is based on the entire Innovative Learning Environments project run over the decade since the mid-2000s. It outlines how it is a practical resource aimed at those in education leadership, policy and practice. The concepts, assumptions and terms specific to ILE are presented, as is the way the project has been organised.

  • The principles of learning to design learning environments

    The overview section presents: a) the Learning Principles themselves, b) the Principles recast around teachers and educators. These Principles maintain that learning environments should: make learning and engagement central; ensure it is understood as social; be highly attuned to learners’ emotions; reflect individual differences; be demanding for all while avoiding overload; use broad assessments and feedback; and promote horizontal connectedness. Tool 1.1 gets learning environments to interrogate how well they are organised so as to optimise young people’s learning, using either a relatively rapid scan or more profound review. Tool 1.2 builds on the Learning Principles through a Spiral of Inquiry as developed in British Columbia, Canada. Tool 1.3 puts learners centre stage by getting schools to juxtapose the perceptions of staff with the views of learners themselves. Tool 1.4 recasts the Learning Principles so that they are focused on the educators, leading to the identification of priorities and strategies for action.

  • The OECD “7+3” framework for Innovative learning environments

    This chapter overview presents the framework first published in the 2013 report Innovative Learning Environments. It is called “7+3” because it combines the 7 Learning Principles with 3 fundamental arenas of innovation: the pedagogical core, learning leadership and partnerships. The chapter uses the framework to understand different aspects of technology. Tool 2.1 allows a rapid overview by schools of arrangements in answer to the question “how innovative and powerfully learningfocused are we?” Tool 2.2 is for those learning environments ready to ask searching questions of both the elements and the dynamics of their pedagogical core. Tool 2.3 invites a learning environment, cluster or district to scrutinise its relationship with different partners and to consider how best to build future relationships. Tool 2.4 pushes users to chart how they currently use technology and invites them to identify a technology strategy in the service of innovating learning.

  • Learning leadership and evaluative

    The overview section is based on the 2013 ILE report on learning leadership and on an approach to evaluating innovations developed by Lorna Earl and Helen Timperley. Learning leadership is presented around responses to a set of interrogatives (why? what? who? when? where? and how?), and guiding orientations. The evaluation steps are: defining the innovation; multiple stakeholders, different contexts; identifying the purpose(s) of evaluation; getting on with it; framing evaluation questions; collecting fit-for-purpose evidence; organising and analysing the evidence; making sense of it all; interpretation as building knowledge; and capturing and mobilising the new knowledge. Tool 3.1 offers lenses for addressing how far the leadership is focused on learning and its strategies informed by learning evidence. Tool 3.2 allows schools or networks to: refine important issues and rationales; identify what the evaluation will address and the best means to address this; and gather, analyse and interpret the evidence.

  • Transformation and change

    The chapter overview draws especially on the 2015 publication Schooling Redesigned: Towards Innovative Learning Systems. It presents the case for re-thinking learning ecosystems, describes features of innovation strategies and initiatives, offers the means for depicting networked learning ecosystems, and presents a set of scenarios for the future of the teaching profession. Tool 4.1 gives a method for those with an innovation strategy/initiative to interrogate the theory of action behind it and how it is expected to lead to the desired innovation. Tool 4.2 offers a set of broad indicators to interrogate progress by an education system towards being innovative. Tool 4.3 gives stakeholders the means of mapping dynamic learning systems, bringing together vertical levels and horizontal relationships. Tool 4.4 uses four scenarios to invite users to think of who will be teaching in 2030, the desirability of different futures, and how to move towards preferred scenarios.

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