Young people's education on future defining themes by active-, inquiry-, problem- and community based learning.
The vision on learning underlying the OPEDUCA-concept proposes to build on students’ active presence, learning inquiry-, problem- as well as community-based, youngsters enabled to learn anytime, anyplace, with anybody and through any device (Eussen, 2008).
Below we introduce the initial questions we sought to answer, a process eventually leading to 4 basic principles of OPEDUCA-based education. Research and testing of the concept in daily practice answered to the lack of empirical research on Transformative Learning thus far.
In the course of further concept-development informed by daily practice, a 'Learning- and Education Continuum' was proposed, following the integrated logic of the OPEDUCA-concept.
Presently, we see our vision being shared, for example regarding the transformation of the “lesson” into common inquiry, adapting education to student‐driven learning over teacher‐delivered content. Alike the recognition for problem‐ and project‐based activities that require collaboration find ever more support (UNESCO, Futures of Education 2021). Still, the OPEDUCA-concept thus far remains unique as it comprises more learning-theories and applied pedagogy in an integrated and consistent way, leading to ESD-based Education.
Each OPEDUCA-instrument first sees to a mental activation of the student, to be understood as an ‘awakening’ for development in an involved way. Considering an active state of mind important for effective learning was obviously a shared notion, yet interpretations differ.
In OPEDUCA Inquiry Based Learning should be understood as the ongoing question- and research driven learning process of students. A process starting out from their identification and basic study of future relevant themes. The Inquiry Based Learning process directly intertwines with the aspect 'real life learning' and 'community based learning' as students for a larger part and eventually most of the time study theme in its entirety, taking in facts, practise and experience from outside their school and textbooks. We see underlying concepts and smaller scale activities in the realm of pedagogies as Problem Based Learning, Cooperative Learning and Project Based Learning as stepping stones towards full fledged Inquiry Based Learning.
Inquiry Based Learning in OPEDUCA is incorporated to its full extent in the 'Flight for Knowledge' Program Element.
The art of Problem Based Learning lies in the application of involved guidance, not teaching or lecturing.
As introduced and reported on from practice, each OPEDUCA-instrument has aspects of Problem Based Learning as a pedagogy, however ‘Problem-based’ primarily refers to the authenticity and relevance of themes and elements studied. It stems from the 'Dimensions of (Education for) Sustainable Development' that provide meaning and direction.
In OPEDUCA students' learning process is per definition embedded in their region and the communities they are part of. They explore, inquiry and draw on sources within their reach in their own habitat. A learning that goes beyond projects in welfare or care-taking: Community Based Learning in OPEDUCA is about seeking and using all the possible sources of knowledge and experience society offers. Thereto pupils and students actively participate in the community but their activities are driven by their learning and based on intrinsic motivation.
Staring out from practice while continuing the questioning, the aspects briefly presented above were implemented in the daily practice of regular education on the fly, choosing application and application over too long consideration. Doing so, a series of other concepts/ideas with '-learning' as additive held by teachers and school leaders, gradually merged into a 'Learning- and Education Continuum' (J. Eussen, 2021), following the integrated logic of the OPEDUCA-concept. Erelong to be published and presented on these pages.
Activity Based Learning
Real Life Learning
What is understood as '21st Century Skill', 'ESD Competences', 'Deep Learning' and other contemporary (innovative) priorities is integrated in the baseline of OPEDUCA. Other theories dominating the realm of sustainable development, such as Systems' Thinking, Social Learning and a Whole School Approach, are partly observed though seen as weaker notions of ESD if not contra-productive.