2. DESIGNING THE LEARNING PROCESS
The Question: What’s Worth Learning?
If we think of our Learning Definition metaphorically, as the DNA of learning, then that invites us to extend the metaphor: a DNA does not live in a vacuum, it shapes a body. So, what body of knowledge really matters for today’s learners…and why?
We decided that, while the ‘traditional’ disciplines are useful and somewhat necessary, they do not provide a sufficient response to our ‘what’ question. We wanted to find the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. Influenced by the work of Ernest Boyer, we decided that the ‘why’ is found in our human common ground, hence the name of our Collaborative. In our design, this common ground is presented in the form of a set of ‘Human Commonalities’, 6 fields of human experience that we believe are of substantive, shared significance to our species…any time, anywhere. These Commonalities provide the primary organizer for the content in our Learning Ecosystem. That content is further organized into the Learning Matrix, a connected web of powerful, inquiry-based Learning Modules, each framed by a Compelling Question.Into each Module we embed Learning Goals for Conceptual, Competency and Character learning, drawn from reliable sources of ‘standards’. Every element in our thinking finds its natural place in our Learning Ecosystem.
We believe in working with the end in mind. We focus on simplicity and system. Therefore, each Human Commonality provides one enduring, transdisciplinary Transfer Goal, the enduring Capacities that we see as the life-long ‘take-aways’ from the CGC experience…our ‘transportable gifts’ to our young learners.Together, they provide our Portrait of a Learner. With this clear set of end-goals in mind, we align both curricular and co-curricular learning designs to provide personal pathways for every learner, ultimately selected by the learners themselves, helping them to develop their human capacities to the full.