Our approach is based on the development of concrete skills, rather than abstract concepts or knowledge, as defined on UNESCO's 2015 report "Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?". But instead of the conventional one unit per skill or competency approach, we group the skills in applied projects to develop the skills through practical experimentation.
Project Based Learning, Social Constructivism and Instructional Scaffolding
The learning tracks, curriculum and method are inspired on Stanford's P5BL (Problem, Project, Product, Process, People Based Learning) while the actual learning units and lessons are built with a Project Based Learning approach combining Papert's Constructionist and Piaget's Constructivism techniques and supported by a digital instructional scaffolding environment in the spirit of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and Jerome Bruner's social constructivism, where pupils and mentors learn from each other and collaboratively build knowledge.
We extend Bruner's belief that "any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development" to youth and individual's, applying his Spiral Curriculum approach to introduce simplified skills and later returning to them for enhanced more advanced applications and abilities.
Célestin Freinet's influence is present in the application of a Pedagogy of Work (pédagogie du travail) and Collaborative Learning (travail coopératif), where
students learn by doing, collaboratively creating products or delivering services, acquiring real experiences (Natural Method/méthode naturelle) around Centers of Interest (Complexe d'Intéret) embodied in the multiple tracks or aggregated curriculum units.
A Library of Work (Bibliothèque de travail) with practical exercises and enhanced learning content caters to each students learning styles with written, visual, printable and multimedia units.
The practical, achievable and satisfying results of the short, focused learning units, clearly suggesting and explicitly listing additional applications, provides a natural incentive for Discovery Learning on students.
Despite the common demonization of conductism and repetition, we believe that, as in sports or music, excellence is achieved by repeated practice, but with increasing difficulty levels and alternative combination of elements so that practice does not become repetitive, maintains the attractiveness of challenge and progressively builds skills and knowledge. Digital tools allow us to alternate elements, track progression and increase the difficulty of exercises for each student in a personal basis.
Grading, Evaluation and Gamification.
As opposed to a single, monolithic score, all evaluations are provided by using a multiple criteria matrix (RUBRIC) to recognize each student's learning styles, aptitudes, progress and challenges. This matrices include both a self-evaluating and a peer-evaluation componentes to complement the tutor's evaluation.
In addition, we use gamification techniques to acknowledge, reward and incentivize students particular actions, learning achievements and social interactions. For example, visible badges are shown in the student's profile highlighting the number of exercises completed, his engagement level in the community of learning, the number of questions asked, the number of resources shared, the number of corrections suggested, etc.