How to design great learning experiences?

Yoda weiß

The Times They Are a-Changin’. Climate change, societal pressures and digital transformation are in fact all triggers for disruption.  They set us all up for seemingly insurmountable challenges. But at a closer look, those “disruptions” are not the true challenge. Because the solutions to all these challenges are already on the table. We just don’t (want to) see them. Transformation is not a matter of conveying facts. In contrast, it is the matter of changing our attitude and behaviors within the organization. Therefore, we need to design better learning experiences in order to change that.

At SHIFTSCHOOL, we believe that there is only one way to solve problems and at the same time create a much, much better world. We believe we need to change our attitude towards change. Only if we learn to adapt to the ever-changing conditions, will we be able to build better companies, use better technologies for the right things, and use our potential for the benefit of all living beings on this planet.

We believe that Transformation is not about implementing new technologies but primarily about an open mindset towards change. That’s why the equation is simple. There are those who think they can just carry on as before. And those that understand that they themselves have to change before things can change for the better. We can only work with the latter.

Understanding the nature of transfor­mation

In a world where things change almost daily. Where decision processes become very complex and ambiguous. And where the outcome is very uncertain, we urgently need to find new models of teaching and learning. We can achieve this by developing learning formats. However, they need to be very practically oriented and tailored to the needs of each individual. Moreover, design new learning experiences must follow the structures of continuous improvement.

We need to find new models that allow each learner to find his or her way in a world full of change. Learners of the future need to continuously expand, question and adapt the knowledge acquired to new emerging circumstances. And above all, we need to direct our learning towards a better purpose. Together with ideas that foster sustainable development in every aspect.

SHIFTSCHOOL is neither an academic institute nor a professional academy. We are a highly specialized designer of immersive learning experiences and environments with a didactic concept that is consistently geared to the needs of the 21st century.

Our framework is designed for continuous growth. We emphasize collaboration, complex problem solving and critical thinking. Our learning experiences are designed to foster empathy, creativity, and curiosity. In short, we have redefined what leadership actually is. Our primary goal is to equip digital leaders with a growth mindset that enables them to repeatedly try new strategies.They must seek input from others when they’re stuck. And by learning to learn, they then are able to develop new skills when needed.

SHIFTSCHOOL is for those who are in to change the game.

MANIFESTO

This is
for the game changers.
for those who have the courage to take on uncertainty.
for the leaders who want to take full ownership despite the outcome.
for everyone who has experiences and stories to share.
for those who stand up for their values but are ready to change their mind at any time.

This is
for the thinkers, doers and dreamers.
but not for those who stand aside and look.
It is only for those who stand in the arena daring greatly.

It is
for those who believe that a new attitude towards life can move mountains.
for those who really really want to change things for good.
for those who plead for trueness.
for those who want to shape the 21st century.

This school was founded for people who believe that learning is not a necessary burden but a way of life.

WHAT WE BELIEVE IN

The experience from working together with hundreds of companies and thousands of people in our workshops has taught us what the future of learning has to look like. The goal is always to create lasting change. We have taken quite some time to reflect on the question of how to design great learning experiences. Therefore, we created a framework that not only offers a great learning experience but also has a lasting effect on people. We wanted a framework that makes learning and development a constant habit. Something we are truly passionate about.

We want to educate, enable and inspire people who make a true contribution and shape transformation in their companies, in their private life and in society. We have defined five core concepts that are crucial for design learning experiences in the 21st century:

1

Orientation and Inspiration

Today, learning is not providing information anymore. All the content is out there. Instead, we have a huge problem with overwhelming possibilities, with recognizing valuable content and with finding new things that will really help us develop further. That is why we need experts to curate our learning and to teach us how to open up new areas of interest in order to become a self-organized learner.

2

Community

Learning in a community of like-minded people is crucial for our learning experience and successful development. We can learn from and with each other, give and receive feedback and verify that we have understood concepts and methods by teaching it to others.

3

Accountability

Many people need accountability and deadlines in their life to make things happen. This is especially true for learning and personal development. We need to have a framework and formats that hold us accountable and help us to take responsibility for our ongoing learning process.

4

Continuity

There is no shortcut to learning and there is no shortcut to change. If we want to become lifelong learners who learn, unlearn and relearn all the time, learning has to become a habit and a continuous process.

5

Safe Place

To truly learn and develop, we need a place where we feel safe, where we can experiment, make experiences, can reflect on our learnings, behavior and are allowed to make mistakes.

SHIFTSCHOOL CREATIVE LEARNING

CREATIVE LEARNING

In a world changing so rapidly, creative thinking is the essential skill for every digital leader. This is why our philosophy is inspired by Mitchel Resnick’s Four P’s of Creative Learning that he developed in the MIT Media Lab to design better learning experiences. We are deeply convinced that people must acquire methods to design innovative solutions to the unexpected problems that will undoubtedly determine our future way to do business.

Passion design learning experiences
Play design learning experiences
Peers design learning experiences
Projects design learning experiences
Passion design learning experiences

Passion

You learn best when you are highly motivated. When you work on things you care about, you work harder, invest more time, persist in the face of challenges, and you will learn a lot more about the process and philosophy behind the task.

Play design learning experiences

Play

You learn best when you can experiment with all senses. That is why our learning philosophy involves playful experimentation. That means trying out new things, tinkering with technology and materials, iterating concepts, pushing existing boundaries, and taking risks over and again.

Peers design learning experiences

Peers

You learn best when you learn among others. Science shows us that learning flourishes as a social activity. We need to design environments where people can easily collaborate, share their knowledge, build on one another’s ideas, and help each other when things get tough.

Projects design learning experiences

Projects

You learn best when you work on stuff you can use. Learning should always involve working on meaningful projects that have a real-world impact. Case studies and role modeling will never lead to generating new ideas. We choose to design our own working prototypes and refine them iteratively over time so that they fit the challenges outside the classroom.

SHIFTING THE MIND

Based on the creative learning principles, we designed a modular system to make sustainable transformation happen in both small and large organizations. The mere transfer of knowledge is outdated in a world where all information is accessible with a few clicks. Therefore, we need to rethink how we design learning organizations in order to make them
innovative again.

Most of the external inputs lose their effect as soon as they hit the wall of everyday routines. Sustainable change can only be reached when people (1) are inspired and motivated to learn, (2) can experience and reflect on the learnings, and (3) can then directly implement them on-the-job.

Philosophy

A NEW DESIGN OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES

With SHIFTSCHOOL we create our “21st century learning world”. We prepare you for the new digital millennium and give you the SKILLS, the MINDSET and the NETWORK to understand the impact of digital, economic, ecological and societal transformation:

We design learning experiences that

  • enable you to really use your knowledge, to make mistakes, to learn from them and to continuously expand the limits of your own knowledge.
  • convey the joy of learning, offers room for development and brings you together with like-minded people on your journey through transformation.
  • ignite the passion for your transformational topic in you by critically questioning the status quo and truly understanding contexts.
  • that are not about the mere transmission of knowledge in the form of aggregated information – but rather about the ability to use this knowledge meaningfully and apply it directly.

HOW WE DESIGN LEARNING EXPERIENCES AT SHIFTSCHOOL?

We design our programs so that you can easily combine learning, work and private life. With our novel, framework based formats of curated learning, we clearly differ in content and method from classic teaching and the conventional offerings on the education market.

Curated Learning design learning experiences
Job Ready design learning experiences
Mastery Methods design learning experiences
Peer Review design learning experiences
Curated Learning design learning experiences

FRAMEWORK BASED LEARNING

Today vast amounts of information need to be customized, updated, and constantly enhanced by a community in order to suit tomorrow’s demands.

Our programs aren’t rigid curricula, but flexible frameworks which take into account current developments. We put together learning modules like a curator in an exhibition. The focus is no longer on the mere transfer of information. However, on the active teaching of skills and methods that allow you to keep pace with transformational dynamics.

In addition, individual coaching enables you to develop further according to your own wishes. We combine the teaching formats that make the most sense from a didactic point of view. Thus, we combine the advantages of face-to-face workshops with the flexibility of live remote modules and self-learning simulations. That is what we call CURATED CONTENT LEARNING.

Job Ready design learning experiences

APPLICATION BASED LEARNING

Speed of implementation of newly acquired skills and learnings will become the key driver for growth.

We don’t teach theory, but knowledge that you can apply immediately on the job. From day one, you learn through innovative simulations, apply methods and transfer your knowledge to concrete projects in your job. We are convinced that learning only becomes valuable through experience.

Only if we think things through, try them out, and apply them directly, we can guarantee lasting success. That is what we call JOB READY LEARNING.

Mastery Methods design learning experiences

MASTERY BASED LEARNING

Guiding frameworks, lean methods and constructive feedback provide the necessary structure needed in an ever faster spinning world.

Classical training systems usually provide far too little feedback. That’s why SHIFTSCHOOL follows a results-oriented approach that gives you dedicated feedback instead of blanket grades. Thus, we offer people the opportunity to identify deficits and work on them.

At SHIFTSCHOOL, the goal is not to get a certificate of attendance, but to ensure that you have truly understood the concepts. We want you to apply new methods in a meaningful way. Continuous feedback in digital sessions and in personal coaching sessions ensure that you can also expand your knowledge in a targeted manner. That is what we call MODERN METHOD LEARNING.

Peer Review design learning experiences

COMMUNITY BASED LEARNING

Review and reflection among peers and inspiration from outside catalysts will become an important trigger for ongoing innovation.

Strategic competencies and creative leadership need a different assessment. Efficiency is the wrong KPI for leadership training. Adults who want to develop their skills in their spare time also deserve more respect than they get from multiple-choice tests. A formalized degree still says relatively little about what you can actually do.

That’s why we work with a mix of self and peer assessments, and direct feedback by coaches and trainers. At SHIFTSCHOOL, you always work on your own transformation case. This is definitely much more meaningful than working on artificial case studies. That is what we call PEER REVIEW LEARNING.

Find out more about the world of learning experience design in our

GUIDEBOOK FOR CENTURY 21

Editorialsthe Buzzword DictionaryInterviews with Change-Makers,

Book RecommendationsInspirational Quotes and Educational Insights from SHIFTSCHOOL.