7 Principles of Innovative Learning

Source: Mindshift KQED, Feb 2013


  1. Learners have to be at the center of what happens in the classroom
  2. Learning is a social practice and can’t happen alone
  3. Emotions are an integral part of learning
  4. Learners are different
  5. Students need to be stretched, but not too much
  6. Assessment should be for learning, not of learning
  7. Learning needs to be connected across disciplines


The darling of the Innovative Learning Environment case studies is the Jenaplan School in Germany. It’s one of the few schools embodying all the principles fluidly. The school has about 450 students that range three to 20 years old. Students aren’t broken up into grade levels, instead they learn in mixed-age groups as well as in groups of roughly the same age. Learning is directed by students, often project-based, evaluated primarily through writing and projects, self-assessments and peer-assessment. The schedule is periodic, focusing on a topic like geography or history for three to four weeks and crossing into multiple disciplines. The teacher is seen as an active mentor and coordinator and the school has active parental involvement.

The Jenaplan School has won awards for its model and in the eyes of the Innovative Learning Environment researchers is doing an excellent job at preparing students to be adaptive and nimble thinkers in a knowledge-based world.


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