Schooling Redesigned

Towards Innovative Learning Systems

image of Schooling Redesigned

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


English Chinese


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.


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