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Center for Practical Learning (CPL)

03/12/2019
Nyelv: EN

Center for Practical Learning (CPL) is an organization created by German and Danish production schools facilitating national and international student exchanges involving practical working in certified workshops (renamed LearningLabs).

 

CPL started out as an Interreg 5 project (region Deutschland – Danmark) and proved during the project period

  • Production School students are able to participate in LearningLab workshops for longer periods (2 – 3 weeks) without following teachers from home
  • They gain both vocational competences and grow as persons from the experience
  • We were able to document the learning outcome (and concretize/specify ECVET) using the Danish Competence Board taxonomy
  • Production school youth should therefore not be excluded from international educational initiatives and Erasmus+ possibilities

 

On a pile of practical learning experience and a theoretical point of view (stolen from Etienne Wenger), the center now provides the tools and the possibility to certify producing workshops as LearningLabs, ready to receive production school students (in Denmark now rechristened as FGU students).

 

It is still a small organization. We expect it to grow bigger.

(CPL, FGU Syd- og Vestsjælland, Norvangen 15, Korsor - Denmark)

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  • Preben Jensen képe
    What is Practical Learning in a school context. 

    Necessity/need is the mother of all invention. Need is also one of the motors in learning (curiosity is another). Need was the motor when we learned to talk, to walk, to bike and when we learned how to use our cell phones. Need, necessity was the motor when mankind learned to gather the fruits of the land in a more organized manner. 

    Real production of useful commodities has been the foundation of education of apprentices for centuries. Practical leaning is not something new, it is in fact the original way of learning. But building a school system around practical learning is something else, and it is what production schools have done. The school practice is real production, for use, for sale, for the community. The meaning of the activities is both production and learning – not some golden mean between production and learning, but 100 % both. 

    The issue for that school, for that LearningLab, for CPL, is not just “learning by doing”. In fact, “learning by doing” is a student responsibility. What the school and its staff must practice is “teaching by doing”. We need to describe the implications of this realization. 

    The “learning by doing” has been described by many authors (Dewey almost always mentioned). A systematic approach to the subject was done by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger in their book “Situated Learning” from 1991, where the term “Communities of Practice” was introduced. Wenger then wrote a book about just that term, and here he introduced a model where the Learning is connected to four key elements: Community, Practice, Meaning, and Identity). 

    We could build on that ground. But the issue for Lave and Wenger was still the “learning by doing”, it needed some elaboration to be able to describe and to guide best practice for “teaching by doing” efforts. We had to redesign the Wenger model to make it describe the Practical Learning based school, the didactics in “teaching by doing”. 

    In fact, the elements in Wenger’s model proved to be very useful here. If we placed the terms Community, Practice, Meaning, Learning and Identity in the tips of a five-pointed star as equal elements, we could place the learner/the student in the middle of that star and offer all five connected and interconnected building blocks to the person. On that five-point star (and pentagram) we built the system to evaluate and certify the CPL LeaningLabs (ideal workshops in an ideal CPL school). Also taking into account that the LearningLab should be ready for reception of outsiders and foreigners – the Community part should be considered in that perspective as well. 

    The system proved it’s value thru four German and nine Danish workshops in the project. And the model could, seen from our point of view, be used for building, describing, and evaluating any Practical Learning school system – and many other teaching situations.