refers to a theory of educational practices that contribute to a healthy learning ecosystem in which knowledge is co-created and shared in community; Teachers and the systems in which they work are self-reflective and are adaptive to rapidly changing environments. In a healthy learning ecosystem, learning is an iterative, evidence-based process that addresses immediate needs and provides for the emergence of transformative insights and actions. Sustainable Learning is a set of applied disciplines and the practices that make them actionable.
The Five Disciplines of Sustainable Learning
Learning design is driven by a teaching philosophy, a clear purpose, evidence-informed methods, and authentic assessment.
Project-Based is a student-centered approach in which students learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem using methods that are typically hands-on.
Evidence-Informed refers to a teaching practice or approach that is supported by robust and reliable research. Evidence-informed pedagogy facilitates the ability to generalize teaching practices and repeat any instructional approach within various environments and contexts.
Digitally-Curated uses finding and selecting, grouping, and contextualizing, preserving, maintaining, archiving, and sharing digital content as an opportunity for community building, critical inquiry, a platform to demonstrate interpretative and creative abilities, and to develop digital literacies of both faculty and students.
Multi-Modal channels of information or anything that communicates meaning in some way and enables the use of a combination of text, images, motion, or audio.
In the context of Connected Learning, we believe that education might be the most potent tool in responding to the catastrophic threats of our time, a pandemic, climate change, authoritarianism, and systemic bias and hate. But the degradation of reliable information and the channels and networks through which it flows make quality education harder and harder to deliver.
Learning is a way of being in the world. It is what humans do. Long before there were classrooms and schools, curricula, and tests, humans responded to their environment and gained insight from their experience and that of others around them. Observing not just the successes and travails of species that looked like them but also from those that did not. Digital Ecosystems and Architectures.
If, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. argued, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” Sustainable Learning is the best assurance that that infinite journey will bend in the right direction.
Sustainable Learning Framework 1.0
In 2016, the Center for Learning in Practice was launched; we issued the first version of a Sustainable Learning Framework. We said:
A Sustainable Learning Framework is necessary because economic, social, and political forces are placing pressures upon organizations to acquire knowledge quickly and execute learning reliably. These forces may threaten the continued health and prosperity of organizations and the people they serve. It is for this urgent reason we have chosen to focus on the development of a Framework for Sustainable Learning.
The power of rapidly emerging digital connectedness combined with the growing aspirations of civil society organizations to more effectively develop talent and share knowledge presents a singular opportunity for improving how work gets done.
The Center for Learning in Practice forecasts that a model of sustainable learning will be among the most important developments in realizing the potential of this moment. In fact, we believe that the issues facing organizations in the transmission and collaborative development of knowledge will not succeed without such a model.
We could not have imagined how prescient and how soon our forecasting would prove correct. Based on our work over the past four years with partners and clients worldwide and in response to the multiple global disruptive forces that have erupted in 2020, we updated the Sustainable Learning Framework. A Sustainable Learning Toolkit will be available in early 2021.