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The New PBL: PhenoBL



FreshAz Education is gorgeously besotted with Finland's educational sphere - for like their Aurora Borealis their educational thinking is vibrantly energetic, capturing the creative flare of all that's rich and picturesque.

PBL - once used to capture all that encompassed Project Based Learning, now springs forth with a new spin: Phenomenon-based learning and leading the way is good ol' Finland again. It's  problem-based learning, where the learners build answers together to questions or problems posed. The focus? A phenomenon of interest...


This puts students right into the heart of the matter - taking that daring 'student-designed' stance to a new level. It's 'Fresh As...!' While involving learners in designing what they study isn't new, planting it firmly in the student-centred zone is still fairly fresh...


PhenoBL, as it's also known, lays the foundation for preparing our youngest generation to think and act like real-world scientists. It requires teachers to seriously shy away from directing the learning process - which, if principals remain determined to see the unit plans before the kids are involved - will be an ever impossible battle.


With PhenoBL, the students must design the learning process. It'll transform them into active learners - a far cry from the passive participants most are. The world's changing rapidly - our kids need to be immersed in these skills, with this thinking ASAP. Furthermore, we need to ditch the narrow view of STEM - adopting the STEAM drive instead and seriously include a greater emphasis on Social Inquiry.



PhenoBL's sophistication addresses the missing beat that's nestled within the STEM trend. It embraces the ARTS - giving our youngest generation a far more holistic opportunity and 'tool kit'. It's not about adding creativity to STEM, but to apply art in real world situations.


Leonardo Da Vinci was on to something years ago when he stated, "Study the science of art. Study the art of science." STEAM education recognises the importance of creativity and innovation in the future to solve our problems. Kids who engage in experiential learning, collaborate with others, and persist in problem-solving are greater risk-takers. They work through the creative process.


Inquiry learning's been around for years, typically depicting one individual's personal inquiry. PhenoBL however, takes inquiry into a real-world context, indicative of a far more social reality. It integrates the learning, requires students to communicate clearly and work effectively as a team.

The purpose of  Social Inquiry, is to create knowledge and citizenship outcomes. It's the balance of informational and transformational realities. Being involved in the design process from implementation to output - 'in community' with each other, gorgeously develops greater level of intrigue, purpose and interest in both participating and contributing.

The Social Inquiry factor gells PhenoBL with project-based learning, integrated-learning and inquiry learning. All up, an integrated social inquiry - really...

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Phenomenon-based learning significantly increases the authenticity of learning. It deeply anchors learning - and seriously effectively so. Actual scenarios are key; the actual relevance, or heart's involved - the citizenship factor becomes particularly meaningful and actually participating and contributing globally - whether local or nationally bound is just as significant.

None of this is new though. Evidence however is evidence - and there are so few examples of this that when one's stumbled on, it's seen as wow factor material. As curriculum audits are done - and localised curriculums become the  new trend, much needs to be done to address the lack of work being done around 'Actual Reality (AR)' programming - says FreshAz. For with it, programmes in all sectors can claim to have that FreshAz ethos also...


All up - how cool if we could adopt Phenomenon-based learning - let's get really intentional in creating scope for our students to solve complex real-life challenges in a collaborative way whilst learning to learn. 

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