What is Productive Learning?
Detailed Description by Ingrid Böhm and Jens Schneider
What would you say if you were to visit a school
for disadvantaged young people and were to be told by them that
this was the school of their dreams, where they learned things of
both use and interest to them, that school was fun and that they
put off doing their leaving certificate in order to remain there
as long as possible. This is told by young people of every colour
and culture, many of them from difficult social and family backgrounds,
who had left traditional schools because they had failed there.
I think you would react like we did, you would struggle until you
had created such a school in your own city.
The school we are talking about is in New York
and we discovered it in 1983 while seeking a new form of learning.
The school is called "City-as-School" and its secret is
that it provides young people with a sense of responsibility, independence
and achievement, while permitting them to become involved in an
activity of their choice, anywhere in New York. Their activities
at practice sites of every description form a basis for their educational
From 1983 to 1987, we both together with a group
of "committed" teachers and social educationalists at
Berlin university institute, the Fachhochschule für Sozialarbeit
und Sozialpädagogik, prepared a City-as-School project. In
1987 we were able to open the Stadt-als-Schule Berlin. Between 1987
and 1991 we made the same experiences as our New York colleagues:
the young people, who, in many cases, had dropped out of school
years before and lost all contact with a regular life, with difficult
social and personal backgrounds, educationally disadvantaged in
every sense, found a new educational path, developing a
perspective, either within the traditional educational system or
in professional life. Just like the New York kids from City-as-School,
who are proportionally ahead of pupils from other schools in obtaining
high school leaving certificates and gaining places at college.
In 1991 we set
up the Institute for Productive Learning in Europe (IPLE) at Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin and started an international network of vocational
orientation and vocational training projects in different countries,
which subscribe to the educational form of Productive Learning: The International Network of Productive Learning Projects and Schools (INEPS).
But what is exactly Productive Learning?
Productive Learning is learning on the
basis of productive activity in social "serious situations",
learning on the basis of experience, of being able to achieve something
important, both for oneself and one's environment. Thus, young people
feel themselves to be important and valuable members of society
and not simply reduced to the status of a school pupil. Productive
Learning begins with activity i.e. learning is itself a product
gained by experience of productive activity and young people acquire
this with the assistance of educationalists. The young people become
active, to begin with, for the sake of the activity, in order to
produce something, to improve, to achieve, to prevent, express,
communicate etc. It is only then that they begin to understand this
process as a learning process, and to shape it as an educational
process, in order to understand their experience and qualify their
The concept of activity is central to our educational
approach. It is at once an anthropological and and historical concept:
Human beings and their history are, for better or for worse, the
direct product of their own activity. The "cultural-historical
school" of Vigotski and Leontjew conducted a philosophical
investigation as to how activity mediates between individual and
species on the one hand, and nature and society on the other: According
to this school of philosophy the human being, both as individual
and species, produces (and destroys) through his activity both the
material world and his own personality. Thus know-how and knowledge
derive from activity, and learning is the necessary mental aspect
of this process.
A further essential concept of the cultural-historical
school is the "tool", the instrument. The history of civilisation
materialises in the tool, ranging from the hammer to language and
science. In this perspective education is, simply defined, learning
the intelligent use of tools.
The traditional school concentrates on communicating
"means" and omits the "end"; the end or purpose
is to be determined by "use" at a later date. But that
proves fatal; for the end or purpose is thus taken out of the hands
of those involved in learning; others, parents, employees, politicians
etc., take the decisions as to the ends for which the school leavers
would employ their means. Thus learning loses its educational quality.
This is reflected in the sense of discomfort felt by many people
in connection with school although very few make any attempt to
resist this "dispossession". But everyone is damaged,
injured or marked by it in some way.
At the heart of the philosophy of Productive
Learning is the intention to reintroduce the "end"
into the learning process, thereby endowing learning once more with
the quality of education. For only then can those involved in the
learning process decide whether or not the relationship of means
to ends is acceptable to them: the pupil decides to become involved
in "activity in a real life situation", as opposed to
learning at school in which learning is an end in itself, and through
this involvement comes to recognise the necessity of the means.
The young people become active in fields of activity chosen by themselves
- as a rule situations in professional life - and evolve a personal
educational programme together with educationalists and professionals
by reflecting upon and generalising their practical experiences
in relation to academic, cultural, political aspects etc.
Activity Reference of Learning
By the Activity Reference of Productive
Learning, we mean that learning derives from the experience
of productive activity and leads back to it. As we all know, this
aspect of vocational orientation and vocational training can no
longer be taken for granted. It represents rather a return to original
forms of learning - the child's learning, the vocational learning
of earlier times, everyday learning - thus acquiring their immediacy
and motivation potential. Unlike school projects, where an activity
situation is artificially contrived for teaching purposes, those
learning become involved in regular and innovatory professional
activities. These might be activities in business firms, but the
school itself can also become a firm or factory, one model for such
activities being the Danish production school.
Professional reality should be complex in order
to make possible an integral experience; if it is too specialised,
if the division of labour is too pronounced, the meaning or purpose
is more difficult to recognise, it cannot serve as a paradigm for
the experience of personal productivity and so has less educational
significance. For this reason, large industrial concerns, administrative
institutions or commercial firms are not suitable for Productive
In the first place, the professional reality
to be chosen and shaped for Productive Learning, must offer
possibilities which challenge the person learning to become active.
Varied activities should prevent the slackening of motivation and
communicate a variety of experience. There should be activities
of varying degrees of complexity both in order to accommodate the
activity level of the person learning and to permit the formulation
Example: "Making furniture"
Making an object for everyday use "with head, hand and
heart" (Pestalozzi) is without a doubt especially attractive
for a young person, since this activity symbolises the person's
emerging autonomy, his/her growing ability to satisfy his/her
needs - all this by means of "classical" material
and tools i.e. those which form one's experience from a very
early age and fit into a long cultural tradition.
"Making a video-film"
The production of a film can, on the one hand, be relatively
easy when one is aiming for a simple documentary; it can, however,
require artistic and technical skills of a more advanced nature.
As in the case of making furniture all the senses are involved
in this activity. During the preparation important questions
must receive a theoretical response, for example, when a particular
interview should be made.
On the other hand those involved in Productive Learning are
aiming for an activity which is useful i.e. whose end product can
be used; such activities usually performed by professional people,
are essential criteria in providing the individual with a sense of
"total validity"; for the young people, means towards learning
and practising their adult role. When today more and more young people
are held back by education and educational institutions from the professional
and adult world, many of their psychological difficulties and destructive
tendencies - so-called radical tendencies and the formation of gangs
- are caused by their being denied the opportunity to become involved
in the production process. They are rather reduced to the level of
infants in the social institutions of family and school by being kept
in a state of childlike uselessness.
For this reason it is very important to offer
and allow the young people - in the sense of an advance of trust,
an explicit confidence with respect to their abilities - "completely
satisfactory and valid activities", and not to fob them off
with mere assistant roles or with occasional support from the practician.
Such "completely satisfactory" tasks can be found more
readily in traditional areas of activity, crafts and services in
which the activity is not narrowly specialised as it is the case
in highly technical fields.
Productive Learning emphasises the participatory
character of productive activities. An activity can be participatory
in a number of different ways,
- by its clearly recognisable social
necessity (e.g. baking bread),
- by its explicit political character
- by its innovatory function (ecological
- by its organisational form (e.g.
What is always important is a conscious involvement in processes
which are of clearly recognisable importance for a particular social
group or for society as a whole.
Such situations which stimulate the commitment
of the person learning, and are simultaneously experienced in the
form of participation, can be found more often in reformoriented
institutions and projects receptive to innovation than in institutions
of a traditional kind. For example, co-operatives or newly created
small enterprises, perhaps looking for gaps in the market, research
or development institutes, non-profit making organisations, cultural
projects etc. offer correspondingly greater opportunities.
"Journalistic activity in the Association for German-Turkish
Journalistic activity for a conventional newspaper provides
possibilities for writing and research. These opportunities
are also offered by the regular publications of an "Association
for German-Turkish Friendship"; but such a publication
also gives one the chance to concentrate on a culturally important
theme while at the same time pointing to the possibilities of
Reference to the Person of Productive Learning
By the Reference to the Person of Productive
Learning we mean that activity and learning are chosen by the
pupil because of their personal significance and importance. This
reference, although its significance should be evident to all educationalists
as the key factor in the learning triangle which must be emphasised
in contrast to prevailing educational forms, as the factor which
generates activity and, thereby, learning. Today one learns for
the market, career, income, grades, examinations etc., and scarcely
at all for a goal determined by the "subjectivity" of
the person learning (cf. 2nd Study Letter). The fact that education
means the education of the personality is something that must be
If one follows the "cultural-historical
school" (Vigotski and Leontjew), the personality is formed
by the "acquisition" of culture by means of activity reflecting
a person's nature; the psyche is therefore developed as an aspect
of this activity. Every activity has thus a "personal significance"
in the process of the person's education: his/her psyche is based
on previous experience and paves the way for the acquisition of
culture. The personal significance can differ from the external
purpose of the activity; for example, a politicians' lunch does
not merely serve to still the hunger of the participants.
If a young person at school carries out an activity imposed by the
teacher or the curriculum, and not in line with his/her personal
inclinations, this activity does not usually serve the intended
aim, but is reinterpreted by the person learning in accordance with
his/her mental disposition: as a means to acquiring grades, as "filling
in the gaps", as a challenge to resist etc. If Productive
Learning is to be directed towards a goal, chosen and consciously
striven for by the person learning, the personal significance of
the desired activity must be clarified and serve as a guiding light
in the performance of this activity. The person learning and the
educationalist must first try to ascertain the often unconscious
learning and educational motives behind the desire and the decision
to become active. It is by no means the case that personal inclinations
lead to mysterious and inconsistent activities; in such a case it
is more appropriate to look for difficulties in previous learning
experience in order to deal with these educationally and therapeutically.
Example: "Kirstin at
Kirstin's first practice assignment at the Stadt-als-Schule
Berlin took place in accordance with her wish at a vets. After
two weeks she gave it up. Looking after sick animals was not
what she had imagined it to be. For Kirstin the activity triggered
off an inner process leading to the decision to work for a taxidermist:
she had apparently recognised that a creative activity involving
the use of her hands corresponded more to her educational needs
than the more indirect, less manifest work with the vet. Her
fondness for animals had been the psychologically connecting
When Kirstin -later in her educational process-, with little
previous experience, wanted to make "her" table she
was certainly not primarily interested in the expertise of carpentry,
but more probably
- in testing her motivation for
working with wood,
- in a constructive way of taking
leave of her parents,
- in developing her image of
The activity did indeed realise this "personal significance"
since Kirstin decided afterwards to become a carpenter.
The personal significance of an activity can
be emphasised by offering scope and stimulating activities going
beyond the confines of the functionality determined by the respective
situations. Young people whose imagination has not been nipped in
the bud by the process of socialisation, especially the influence
of school, tend, as a rule, to be creatively inclined and seek to
employ functional activities creatively. They sense that they gain
thereby the opportunity to discover themselves, to realise their
individuality and thus to develop their own identity. Traditional
activities of a comparable nature can also offer such opportunities;
it is merely necessary that the respective practices permit the
young people to employ the instruments at their disposal in the
Example: "Making a pair
At the Stadt-als-Schule Berlin Jenny set herself the task of
designing and constructing a pair of sun glasses in line with
her personality. The result was a highly original model.
Karsten used his activity area "newspaper" to make
an illustrated report about himself and his practical in the
form of a parody of the Berlin magazine "Tip".
Example: "Photo exhibition"
Micky experimented in a photography studio, for want of commercial
assignments, and produced on the occasion of a conference of
the International Monetary Fund a photo exhibition on the theme
"Young People and the Police - How blind people do their
The possibility of giving young people the opportunity
for creative experiments depends mainly - alongside the general
possibilities for varied activity - on the commercial pressure influencing
the situation. The more the profit aspect of the activity dominates
the situation, the less chance the young person has to carry out
apparently dysfunctional activities; such activities do not fit
into the ideology of those involved and cannot be tolerated by them
even where an objective possibility exists (no immediate pressure
for activity), for they might reactivate their suppressed desire
for liberty and creativity. Along with public institutions, large
scale state and private service industries (theatre, social institutions,
transport authorities etc.), with their own service structure (e.g.
hospital workshops) - have scope for those willing to learn because
they are not always employed to their full rational capacity.
Knowledge/Specialist aspect of learning
The relationship between a specific school discipline
and Productive Learning means that the knowledge serves as
an instrument i.e. the young people must be aware of what knowledge
and abilities they need in order to become productive. Knowledge
is not, as in the traditional school, isolated as an end in itself,
but is communicated as the means to an end in "productive activity".
The instrumental character of school subjects, science and professionalism,
must be rediscovered - science being regarded in the school as a
substance pupils have to "inhale", to "eat".
Academic knowledge is, as a rule, independent of its practical provenance.
Comprehensive academic theories often arise for didactic reasons,
they should be easy to communicate and to test, but do not have
to prove their practical worth.
In our pragmatic age academic learning is prevalent,
and thus the specialist significance of an activity, appears as
the dominant one. Productive Learning projects must always
justify themselves in relation to a school curriculum. There is
a prevailing conviction that systematic academic knowledge is the
best qualification for a profession (for a critique of learning
in the form of school subjects cf. 3rd Study Letter.)
We do not dispute that academic knowledge can
be useful for productive activity; it is taken for granted, however,
that academic competence in action derives from the contribution
that academic knowledge makes in the areas of definition, scrutiny
and solution of activity problems i.e. is chosen and used in an
Example: "Making a table and restoring furniture"
Kirstin acquired a great deal of knowledge and technical ability
from various disciplines in order, starting from the idea of
making a table, to arrive at the finished product
- technical drawing, measurement
- providing oneself with the
necessary material, comparing quality and prices,
- the properties of wood and
the differences between various kinds of wood,
- tools and their use,
- material and technique for
treating the surface.
During the course of her activity with a furniture restorer
she was moreover concerned with
- historical changes in furniture
- auctions and the antique trade,
- substances for and techniques
of restoration and conservation.
The educational paradigm of Productive Learning,
productivity as continuous participation in the process of social
development, leads to a new organisation of specialist knowledge,
whereby the person learning uses this knowledge in an exemplary
manner as an instrument of activity (instrumentality of specialist
knowledge) and thus develops his/her own personal form of methodical
intervention in the field of activity. In the process, complementary
aspects of knowledge structures and theoretical forms can contribute
to the efficacy of intervention, where the individual can make practical
use of them.
In the course of Productive Learning,
however, specialist knowledge is more usually employed eclectically.
In this way its theoretical approach can be useful in anticipating
effects and side effects of the projected activity, in finding alternatives,
in reflecting upon the cultural context in order to be able to assess
both the efficacy and the cultural implications of the desired activity
Example: "Cat's home"
Sabine's interest in animals led to her working in an animals'
home. When she started, the construction of a new cat's house
was being planned. The question posed by Sabine "How should
a cat's house be built in order to best satisfy the animals
needs?" - made it necessary for her to obtain information
from many different specialist disciplines (biological information,
legal information, architectural information etc.). The main
consideration was, however, not of a specialist nature: for
Sabine the concept of a "cat's house" had to be determined
in accordance with the animals' nature - this was by no means
a matter of course, but a decision to be taken in the light
of a certain ethical and culturally relevant point of view.
A reafforestation project for a horticultural school led to
a geographical-biological theory of Mediterranean vegetation
which permitted much more than the autochthonous planning of
a landscape area. This theory also revealed what historical
processes had led to a change in the vegetation, examined the
prospect for reforestation in view of e.g. pollution, the change
in sea level, current leisure habits, increasing tourism and
how, under certain circumstances, these prospects might be improved.
The cultural aspect of learning
The word culture is meant to represent general
qualities and values of a society extending beyond the particular
horizon of a situation, but inherent in that situation. We mean
particularly the historical transformation in social relationships.
Such qualities pertaining to society as a whole, or also in part
("subcultures") are e.g. language, aesthetics, norms (laws
and patterns of behaviour), politics and religion. The cultural
significance of an activity consists in the extent to which it is
typical or untypical, representative, demonstrative, exemplary for
an important cultural element in society.
There are of course no universally valid criteria
in this respect. Nevertheless it is generally agreed that such themes
as "ecology", "the relationship between the sexes",
"technological progress", "multicultural society",
"sects" or "guaranteeing peace" are culturally
important. Such themes should be brought home to young people because
education in the sense of participation and subjectivity (cf. 2nd
Study Letter) calls for the development of a position of one's own
and forms of personal involvement in the areas we are dealing with,
areas of political decision-making.
On the other hand a theme can only attain subjective
importance, and thereby educational quality, when it finds a place
anchored in a person's continuous development. For this reason it
is important, as elsewhere in Productive Learning not to
prescribe "canonical" themes. It can however be taken
for granted that the forms of confrontation with a cultural object
e.g. the question of conscientious objection or "alien-action"
caused by immigration, can be transferred to other themes; and thus,
in the case of the biographical relevance of another theme, corresponding
abilities (e.g. determining the personal and practical significance
of the theme, of the acquisition and processing of information,
of the relation to knowledge and activity etc.) can be activated.
The cultural aspect of learning is closely connected
with the specialist aspect side of learning. The special knowledge
and abilities employed in solving activity problems ought not -
as recognised by every educational theory worthy of the name - to
be adopted and employed unthinkingly by Productive Learning,
without considering their "side effects and risks". Otherwise
those learning forfeit their capacity for judgement, their genuine
right to understand their own situations and activities as well
as their right to a real participation in the development of their
lives as a whole. They should rather be encouraged to think about
the quality and the nature of the working proc-esses in which they
are involved, as well as the significance of the related conditions,
both for the development of their personal identity and for the
lives of those persons directly involved in the working process,
the firm, and, finally, society as a whole.
Moreover the individual's learning and activity
are embedded in a changing socio-cultural context. Many different
traditions influence this context in a variety of ways and under
changing circumstances. If the person learning is aware of those
changing circumstances, he/she can make use of them in shaping his/her
individual relationship to his/her field of activity: professional
activity as a means of earning a living, defining status, process
of development, spiritual significance, machinery of suppression
and subjugation, ethical duty, destruction of the environment -
to name a few of the cultural aspects of professional activity.
One example of planning a Productive Learning
Social significance(public) Individual significance(private)
Material significance(economy) Practical competence development:
work in a restaurant/kitchen Personal development: one's own eating
habits, gastronomic culture etc.
Ideal significance(culture) Development of social consciousness:
environmental awareness, change of roles, intercultural awareness
etc. Understanding, Criticising: Ecology intercultural traditions,
professional role etc.
When young people acquire, on the basis of a
productive activity in a hotel or restaurant, by means of an individually
oriented working and learning system, fundamental elements of the
preparation of foodstuffs, they are qualified, to start with, for
a traditional occupation. In accordance with the "wholeness"
of the educational approach this includes activities which precede
and accompany the preparation of food and processing and utilising
the results (products, customer satisfaction, turnover etc.). However,
innovatory products, in accordance with the latest nutritional principles
and needs, can be introduced without any great practical or theoretical
efforts. Tasks and considerations involved in the field of planning
and organisation (systematic division of the work in steps and phases,
forms of division of labour and cooperation, situating the work
in a social, economic and cultural context) can be employed outside
the confines of this specific activity.
While it is possible in this context to speak
of maximum effectiveness and optimal productivity, activities and
considerations of a general cultural nature e.g. in relation to
themes such as:
> private versus commercial gastronomy,
> snack-bar versus self-service restaurant,
> transcultural extension of eating
> ecological considerations (environmentally
and biologically aware cooking versus conventional cooking),
> of an economic nature (collective
versus individual economics) etc.,
go beyond an immediate use in the actual practice
and can even undermine its effectiveness. In the personal sphere
practical consequences can be drawn from such reflections in relation
to private eating habits as well as ideological and political activity.
For example the young person might wish for a less expensive, more
tasty and healthier diet or he/she may become involved at a political
or other public level.
The Methodology of Productive Learning
The methods of Productive Learning are
in accordance with the conceptual framework described.
To begin with, the "personal aspect"
of learning requires that the curriculum be individualised to the
highest possible degree. This means the end of compulsory learning
material; it is of much greater importance that each individual
discusses his/her own learning themes based on the uniqueness of
his/her activity experiences. The fear, so often expressed, that
individualised curricula are arbitrary and haphazard is disproved
by Productive Learning practice: if the practical activity
of the person learning is suitably chosen and directed, if it is
sufficiently representative, exemplary, complex and varied, important
theoretical questions and themes concerning the profession will
also become relevant for the person learning and, thus, educationally
effective by virtue of their practical significance. Conversely,
regardless of how complete a fixed curriculum might be, it can only
be of significance in vocational training practice, i.e. beyond
the point of an examination, to the extent that it coincides with
the interests of and serves to stimulate, the person learning, a
relatively rare occurrence.
It follows, necessarily, not only from the individualisation
of the curricula, but also from the general principles of Productive
Learning, that self-education should, to a large extent, replace
lessons. Thus, all the methods and techniques of tackling individual
themes acquire enhanced importance: from the traditional forms of
reading and writing and audiovisual documentation techniques to
the employment of learning programmes and other computer resources.
The (re)acquisition of these working forms, towards which disadvantaged
young people often have a very negative attitude, by reason of frustrating
experiences in the past, is at the centre of the reflection components
in Productive Learning.
Those learning receive educational assistance
and accompaniment from educationalists and practice mentors, as
we call them, in developing an individual curriculum out of their
practical activities and experiences: sometimes both roles can be
filled by one person. These educational roles differ fundamentally
from the traditional role of the teacher or trainer: the educationalists
and practice mentors, whether in theory or in practice, are neither
teachers nor instructors - in the sense of transferring directly
knowledge and know how to the person learning - but rather, they
accompany the learning process as "learning method assistants"
i.e. they support those learning by providing stimulation, advice
and appraisal in helping them to discover, and take, their own learning
paths. They support self-learning by offering and preparing learning
material and learning forms and providing help when help is required
and requested. The educationalists, themselves, must often acquire
the necessary competence in a re- or new learning process, as traditional
roles and qualifications are of an altogether different nature.
It is especially important to acquire the counselling abilities
necessary for Productive Learning e.g. on the basis of Carl
Rogers' non-directive approach.
The individualisation necessary for Productive
Learning is complemented by group learning which is every bit
as important. To begin with, young people experience an elementary
need to communicate with their peers in order to be able to determine
and develop their personal dignity. Moreover, self-education requires
the presentation of the results of one's own learning as well as
the ability to discuss them with others, so that one's own experiences,
points of view, products, learning methods etc. can be criticised,
modified, extended etc. Learning in a group is, however, also suitable
for following the higher educational aims of Productive Learning
e.g. increasing one's self-confidence and acquiring "key qualifications"
which are of increasing importance for self-determined and successful
activity in the professional world. For this purpose social and
communicative skills are especially important: becoming aware of
oneself and others, being receptive to new information and experiences
and the ability to pass these on, as well as expressing one's own
opinions and feelings and the ability to cooperate with others.
Just as providing counselling for individual
learning processes requires a decisive new orientation of the educationalist's
role, so, too, does Productive Learning group work. The educationalist
is faced with the difficulty of redefining his/her own role, the
role of the learning group and the entire learning situation as
opposed to the traditional teacher or trainer role. In addition
to specific educational and creative abilities, a group-work model
is required, which would assist the communication between educationalists
and those learning, adequate both to their needs and interests and
the importance of the topics being dealt with. We recommend Ruth
Cohn's theme oriented interaction approach, which, with its famous
principle "Be your own chairman", emphasises the responsibility
of every group member for the working process, as being an especially
suitable group educational method for Productive Learning.
The problem, to be met with in every country,
that both educationalists and those learners are in no way prepared
by their previous school experiences for individual counselling
and group work, that indeed their previous experience frequently
acts as an obstacle, persuaded us to introduce another learning
form into Productive Learning which we call the "learning
workshop". Just as a workshop is a place of work, so is a "learning
workshop" a place of learning, a place where one learns and
acts productively, as in a workshop. This is what distinguishes
this place from the conventional classroom: the learning workshop
is a place of learning which has a considerable amount of learning
materials at its disposal: from the traditional library and mediatheque
to the darkroom, an extensive collection of working materials, games
and other means of stimulating creative and communicative activity,
including the latest developments in computers. Window and wall
displays serve to document learning processes, as well as making
them more vivid. The educationalists can be consulted in the learning
workshop, in their capacity as advisers or moderators.
The learning workshop is a bridge between practical
and theoretical learning, between individual learning and group
learning. It is, to a certain extent, the practice laboratory, the
place where questions and themes arising from the practical activity,
can be defined. This is the place for preparing to deal with themes
- categorising them and choosing
methods of investigation,
- seeking advice and identifying
and tackling difficulties,
- exchanging and extending experiences,
- systematically experimenting,
- pursuing creative dreams, which
cannot be pursued in practice, in the real situation.
The various experiences and varying knowledge of those learning
can be introduced into the learning workshop and this can benefit
both the individual and the group.
- the wonder of the ball-bearing,
discovered in a bicycle shop, experimented with in the school
workshop, understood in the learning workshop,
- the latest French recipe: read
in the learning workshop or heard on the telephone, tried out
in the kitchen, presented at the practice site "Bistro
- the conflict with the practice
mentor: experienced at the practice site, discussed in the learning
workshop, rediscovered in a magazine article about the hierarchy
between men and women at work and solved at the practice site.
The learning workshop is very suitable for individual
learning, because it helps those learning to discover appropriate
learning material and methods, while offering them supportive counselling
from educationalists when reflecting upon their activity experiences
and preparing for new ones. However, group learning has been even
more strongly influenced than individual learning by the experience
of the traditional school. It is, at times, extremely difficult
to invest equipment, seating arrangements, group structures, as
well as the position and functions of the educationalists and learners
with new significance, distinguishing them from traditional patterns.
The learning workshop permits, in long working periods, alternating
between individual and group learning. It also permits the educationalists
involved to play al the desired and necessary roles.