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Innovative Learning Environments

image of Innovative Learning Environments

How to design a powerful learning environment so that learners can thrive in the 21st century? OECD’s Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) is an ambitious international study that responds to this challenging question. The study earlier released the influential publication The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice. This companion volume is based on 40 in-depth case studies of powerful 21st century learning environments that have taken the innovation journey.

Innovative Learning Environments presents a wealth of international material and features a new framework for understanding these learning environments, organised into eight chapters. Richly illustrated by the many local examples, it argues that a contemporary learning environment should:

  • Innovate the elements and dynamics of its “pedagogical core”.
  • Become a “formative organisation” through strong design strategies with corresponding learning leadership, evaluation and feedback.
  • Open up to partnerships to grow social and professional capital, and to sustain renewal and dynamism.
  • Promote 21st century effectiveness through the application of the ILE learning principles.

In conclusion it offers pointers to how this can be achieved, including the role of technology, networking, and changing organisational cultures. This report will prove to be an invaluable resource for all those interested in schooling. It will be of particular interest to teachers, education leaders, parents, teacher educators, advisors and decision-makers, as well as the research community.

“Much has been written about learning environments, and about innovation but nowhere will you find such a deep and cogent portrayal of the key principles as in the OECD's report, Innovative Learning Environments. Learners, pedagogical core, learning environments, partnerships, sustainability - it's all captured in this remarkable volume.”

(Michael Fullan, OC, Professor Emeritus, OISE, University of Toronto)

“Everyone in education is talking about innovation. What is different here is that the best of what we know about learning is at the centre and is richly illustrated with real cases to answer the question, ‘What will this look like?’”

(Helen Timperley, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland)

“From OECD's The Nature of Learning to Innovative Learning Environments, this second ILE volume inspires and guides all who are committed to creating , enacting and sustaining powerful learning. To know that this is possible - that we can and are creating ‘schooling for tomorrow’ today - is the gift of this book.”

(Anthony Mackay: Co-Chair, Global Education Leaders Program; Chair, Innovation Unit UK)

“What impresses me about this work is the clarity about the links between complex goals, processes and outcomes through a focus on innovative learning environments across the globe. Innovative Learning Environments manages both to bring alive the lived realities of very different people at the same time as distilling principles and key messages."

(Philippa Cordingley, Chief Executive, Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE), UK)

“As societies experience unprecedented and unpredictable change, schools and education systems are at the nexus of hope for the future. OECD’s report Innovative Learning Environments documents how educators in a number of countries are engaging in bold and forward-thinking innovations to renew, re-imagine and re-invent contexts for teaching and learning, and, most importantly, provides inspiration to take the journey.”

(Professor Lorna Earl, President 2011-2013, International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement)

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The Nature of Learning principles revisited

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

The innovative cases amply confirm what research tells us makes for effective, powerful learning and what in practice the learning principles actually mean. This chapter shows how the Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) case studies: 1) make learning central, encourage engagement, where learners come to understand themselves as learners; 2) ensure that learning is social and often collaborative; 3) are highly attuned to learners’ motivations and the importance of emotions; 4) are acutely sensitive to individual differences including in prior knowledge; 5) are demanding for each learner but without excessive overload; 6) use assessments consistent with its aims, with emphasis on formative feedback; and 7) promote horizontal connectedness across activities and subjects, in and out of school. Naturally, they are not realised everywhere in the same way and need to be interpreted in relation to their local context. Many of the practices address several principles at the same time.

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