Education should prepare young people with a rich toolkit of knowledge, skills and know-how to be able to fulfill their dreams and lead meaningful lives. This relies not only on formal educational institutions such as schools and colleges, but also on wider networks of experience and influence through informal learning, extracurricular activities, peer networks and online learning.
The growth of learning ecosystems – which bring together various combinations of providers (schools, cultural organizations, businesses, community organizations) to create new types of learning opportunities and value journeys – can be seen as a response to the need to change our education systems. . We are now moving from systems designed to academically educate a small number of individuals to systems that value and encourage a broader set of goals and outcomes for young people. Those who nourish the head, the hand and the heart – and open up opportunities for all.
Learning ecosystems are increasingly supported by platforms (both digital tools and physical spaces) that drive collaboration and innovation in education towards a broader set of outcomes. We have seen a proliferation of digital tools and technologies that enable blended learning, as well as significant growth in peer-to-peer learning via social platforms and the creation of new online communities for learning. professional learning and knowledge exchange. Many of these platforms have integrated following the social changes brought about by the response to the pandemic.
What types of platforms support learning ecosystems?
At WISE, we explored how to develop a “platform” in Qatar that brings together educators, learning organizations, businesses and young people to connect and access opportunities. We are particularly interested in how platforms can support brokerage, provide space for innovation, and enable greater collaboration between different learning providers to facilitate new learning experiences and pathways for learners. learners.
From our research, we have identified many different types of platforms – including digital spaces and physical spaces – that are currently in use. This includes, for example, online portals and digital applications that:
- connect people to learning or training resources and courses
- support youth and community development
- support networking, collaboration and community building between professionals and service providers
- connect people to events, activities and enrichment opportunities in their city, and create connections between users and service providers
It also includes physical spaces that:
- support collaborative innovation approaches to meet societal challenges
- support youth and community development
- provide a forum for collaboration, knowledge sharing and consensus building
What kinds of innovations do the platforms unlock?
Our 2021 report Developing local learning ecosystems in Qatar to advance equity, inclusion and social cohesion delved into some of the innovative practices and approaches that are already sprouting small-scale learning ecosystems in Qatar. We have seen how new platforms allow different types of innovations to emerge, often to address particular challenges or specific needs.
In an effort to mainstream arts education, the Qatar Museums Authority has established an academic committee and platform for public school teachers to access, adapt and create lesson plans that leverage Qatar-based museum resources. As part of the Qatar Foundation’s MultiverCity vision, a skills passport is being developed to help align the skills and competencies developed in high school with higher education and industry requirements, while enabling young people to develop transferable life skills. Meanwhile, to help increase visibility and access to the plethora of learning opportunities available in Education City, a mobile app has been launched as a centralized information space through which activities are promoted. and reserved.
These types of innovations promote a broader set of learner outcomes and enable educators to collaborate and explore new approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment together.
Qatar has a multitude of forums, portals and platforms that could be leveraged to support the growth of learning ecosystems. The next phase of our work will focus on how best to use them to 1) communicate opportunities for learning and collaboration, 2) incentivize opportunities, and 3) support the implementation of opportunities, for example by helping teachers to integrate school learning experiences into the curriculum.
A learning ecosystem platform that blends digital and physical infrastructure could help further codify all system assets – and enable the system, as a whole, to better prepare young people growing up in today’s world. today to their future.
Rosie Clayton is an education specialist working on leading projects and initiatives spanning education, skills, technology and lifelong learning. Her work connects policy and practice, systems thinking and social change, and she is co-founder of the Weaving Lab which develops global expertise in the field of learning ecosystems.
In addition to her current role as a researcher with WISE, Rosie works on Rethinking Assessment and the Fusion Cities initiative led by the City of London. She was previously Associate Director at the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce and ran the Cities of Learning program in the UK. In 2016, Rosie was also awarded a Churchill Fellowship to develop the concept and practice of innovation ecosystems in education in the United States.
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