What is Productive Learning?

As Productive Learning will be part of Bright Education for All! – INEPS Congress program in Tampere on 26-29th of April, it is worth getting some pre-knowledge about it. There will be interesting show cases and presentations how Productive Learning is implemented in The Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece and Globally.

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.

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, employers, 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”.

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 recognize the necessity of the means. The young people become active in fields of activity chosen by themselves – as a rule these are situations in professional life – and evolve a personal educational program together with educationalists and professionals by reflecting upon and generalizing their practical experiences in relation to academic, cultural, political aspects etc.

Productive Learning emphasizes the participatory character of productive activities. An activity can be participatory in a number of different ways,
— by its clearly recognizable social necessity (e.g. baking bread),
— by its explicit political character (e.g. journalism)
— by its innovatory function (e.g. ecological projects)
— by its organizational form (e.g. teamwork) etc.

Learn more!

Information produced by Institute for Productive Learning in Europe (IPLE)