The Individual Perspective
in the Collaborative of Society
Learning Anytime, Any place, with Anybody, through Any device.
We learn - there is nothing one can do about it. From the moment we are born we start learning, an unstoppable process. No one else than the person herself can do it, learning can not be done for you. At the very best we can try to awaken, support and guide a person's learning process through Education. A joint activity that when organized becomes Schooling which in turn grows into 'the system' when institutionalized.
A person's learning is furthermore seen as a continuous articulation of the ‘Why?’, the inquiry most natural to the younger minds, to constantly generate new and evolving understanding of what is, thus taking a continuously critical disposition. We ask the question because we are human and we fail to be fully human whenever we fail to ask it (Ford, 2007). A critical understanding of the “Ist” underlies a growing insight and understanding of the “Soll” and the change towards it.
The OPEDUCA Concept is built from the perspective of Learning, thus from the individual person and regards each individual youngster's learning and development as the single key priority in the realm of sustainability - an obvious yet thus far not nearly enough honored principle underlying the new paradigm for Education for Sustainable Development, ESD-based Education.
Instead of rushing towards contemporary 'innovations', claiming ownership of person-related learning concepts, OPEDUCA can best be understood as individual learning situated in the collaborative of society whereas planning, progress(-measurement) and results are personal.
Our research and numerous tests in practice brought forth a learning continuum for ESD, being activity-, inquiry-, problem- and community-based, including the relevant notions of personal learning. An integral vision of learning and education that, if adopted to transform present education, results in an OPEDUCA-based School.
As a particle in the whole of this website, below some relevant notions of personal learning are briefly resumed - seeing learning as an individual quality and process, partly taking place in collaborative ways and social contexts, yet always personal.
In the realm of Sustainable Development, we propose to more profoundly position youth as the future itself given the conviction individual development underlies our society. Seeing humanity as the constitution of the individuals it comprises, it is the individual from who (un)sustainable development springs. Regarding learning as a natural contribute of the individual, approach ESD first (and per definition) concerns individual learning for sustainable development. Therefore each human, beginning at the youngest age when learning is still natural to life, should have unlimited opportunity to look at life as it is and unfolds, learn anytime, anyplace, with anybody and through any device about those themes that will most prominently define its own and our common future.
Acknowledging the essence of the individual and the principle of personal learning.
Student-led exploration of content, selection of resources and development of solutions and outcomes.
Students cannot be ‘taught’ a worldview but the individual can be guided to develop her own.
We see the capacity and capability for action to (only) rest in the individual
Acknowledging the essence of the individual and the principle of personal learning, each of the instruments to operationalize the OPEDUCA Concept sees to collaborative, peer-to-peer and team-based activities.
In terms of time spent, larger parts of the activities the instruments comprise see to cooperation, are social, interactive, joint.
The learning process has strong peer-to-peer elements, learning with students the same age or development stage, younger and older, near to the student or far away.
The personal learning process in each OPEDUCA-instrument sees to Study-Teams of on average 4 students, each student being part of multiple teams.
Understanding the individuals comprise the social, which in turn is a context and environment for learning.
Every part of the OPEDUCA Concept, each program element and activity is social, cooperative, joint. Society is seen as a rich learning environment, the individual not living on an island or the learning process restricted to (time at) school.
The social dimension of the OPEDUCA Concepts is seen as supportive for the learning, an enabler yet not a commander of for example Values - these we see as 'under construction' with(in) each student herself, value-development is an internalization process fed by own insights gained, the progression of understanding, meaningful experiences and own judgment.
Learning regards the individual, education is personal(ized) per definition.
Learner-centered, including collaboration, sees to noting and jointly analyzing the state of development in a personal, unique, way, in continuous connection with the student’s individual interests, passions and aspirations.
Projected in an OPEDUCA Based School, Teachers as well as Students keep precise track of study status, progress and results, also through the traditional lens of curricula and examination demands. They and potentially respective parents use a personalized-learning environment (in real life as well as web-based) that invites them to observe, follow, support and advise every student. 'Progress' to be respected as allowing students their own personal development, in various tempos and with varied emphasis. It is less a Teacher's duty but more a Students' right to show where they are and going to. Tests and examinations brought about to judge a student's 'progress', are replaced by students showing what they are capable of. Not because we tell them so or force them into it, but because it is their right to do so.
The student's pathway on ongoing thematic learning lines, to be understood and continuous, is seen as a personal route of development enabling more-year, long-term, development planning. Further to their understanding and presentation of their progress, students manifest their ownership through planning and the direction of their learning.
We consider the focus on the individual learner and personal(ized) Education to lead to a growth mindset of the student - meaning eventually a bases is laid for ongoing autonomous i.e. self steered and then self-direct development, able to take and take responsibility for oneself and therewith care for the wellbeing and development of others.
As Geier (2020) resumes, self-organized learning as a didactic teaching and learning concept is based on the theoretical models of self-control and self-organization within the framework of systemic and constructivist learning theories. In the present concept, this means the participation or transfer of responsibility to learners who, from an organizational point of view, co-determine the subject matter, learning time, methods, place of learning and social form within a certain time or content specifications and external structures. The objectives of self-organized learning are to increase the learners' self-competence and knowledge of their own learning and to enable learners to act responsibly and competently.
They take responsibility for their learning process and their learning success, whereas teachers in self-organized learning processes take on a supporting, individually advisory or accompanying role. The results of an empirical study (complete survey of teachers by group discussion method according to Bohnsack, 2003) at a New Middle School show that the teaching-learning concept SoL is oriented towards the two action-guiding principles of competence orientation and the teaching and learning setting: self-organization in learning. It takes into account different quality characteristics (e.g. reflection of the learning process, learning success control, ...) and, with regard to the question of the encounter of heterogeneity in the classrooms, it enables different aspects of self-control and, out of itself, ways to a teaching and learning culture in which the learners take responsibility for their learning. In this setting, learners can to a certain extent plan and decide what, when, how, where and with whom they learn.