Event Wrap-up: Shaping The Learner’s Journey LabX

Event Wrap-up: Shaping The Learner’s Journey LabX

From their homes, schools and workplaces across the country, 70+ people from across the learning ecosystem including a principal from Western Sydney, year 11 students from a town in Tasmania, an apprentice in Melbourne, a parent from regional Queensland, employers and community leaders, all zoomed in to attend the Shaping The Learner’s Journey LabX. 

Across two days - the 25th and 26th of August, we created a space to connect virtually as a community and build a deeper understanding of our challenge and focus areas of work. We discussed what we’d been hearing, questioning and learning to date to understand if we were headed down the right path and where we may need to change course as we shaped the next steps of our first project - The Learner’s Journey

The Shaping of the Learner’s Journey LabX follows four months of gathering, convening and conversing with hundreds of young people, teachers, government, education and business leaders, policy makers and parents - separately and collectively - to eensure the best approach. 

Using a Social Lab methodology, The Learner’s Journey explores how we might redefine success in learning by establishing ways of recognising and valuing learning in and outside of the classroom, that enable all 15-19 year olds to demonstrate their levels of confidence and creativity, knowledge and know-how.

What did we do across the two days?

Across multiple plenary, break-out and share-back sessions, together we:

  • Explored diverse learning journeys through the perspectives of others
    We shared our own learning journeys with each other to build a greater understanding of how varied our pathways and experiences are and heard the stories of young people with diverse learning journeys and perspectives - including Amelia, Gabriella, Jemima and Jye. 

  • Looked at our history and possible futures to ground our understanding
    We explored our history to build out a timeline view of defining moments in Australian education, including recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been teaching and learning on Country for thousands of years. We also went forward in time to explore the Holon IQ Education in 2030 Global Scenarios and think through what learning in the future could look like. 

  • Unpacked the vision and interrogated the proposed approach to the work
    We explored what
    Learning Creates Australia aims to achieve and dove into the The Learner's Journey project including:
    • the theory of change and theory of action that will guide the work, 
    • the challenge question that will act as a frame to unlock and prototype new solutions, 
    • the focus areas we think might be best to narrow in on and 
    • what a Social Lab approach to systems thinking actually means and could look like. 

  • Created the opportunity to hear feedback, listen to stories and personal experiences
    There were many who shared including - Maddi who delivered a slam poem on ‘success’ and educators who discussed what they have been doing to open up opportunities for the young people they work with. Community and nonprofit leaders shared where things have or haven’t been successful for them and young people called for the urgent need for action. We also had a student, Conor, who helped “bring the magic” by sharing some impromptu keyboard tunes with us. 

A summary of the conversations across both of the days were captured visually. The visual scribe for Day 2 is below  -  

What did we learn?

A number of important themes surfaced from the feedback, thoughts and ideas shared across the two days including:

  • The strategic direction was broadly accepted, with some refinements
    The challenge question that evolved from our consultation to date was proposed as “How might we develop new and trusted ways to recognise learning that enable every young person to thrive in learning, work and the community?” The LabX participants reflected on this question further and considered how it will guide us to unlock where we want to head within the Social Lab. The majority of conversations and feedback narrowed in on unpacking specific terms. For instance, the premise that young people should not just be surviving but thriving particularly resonated and there was consensus that the word learning should be understood in the broader sense of the term - recognising both in and out of school learning experiences.
  • Focus areas of work will require iteration and refinement prior to our Social Lab kick-off
    We floated four potential focus areas to be worked on through prototyping teams within the Social Lab - equity, the young entrepreneur, recognising the whole learner and First Nations. Many participants wanted to understand more on how the four areas were conceived and emphasised the importance of the interconnections between these areas. It was felt that some areas (equity and recognising the whole learner), would serve better as cross-cutting themes rather than individual areas.  Other areas, such as the young entrepreneur felt too narrowly focussed on one particular pathway, and needed re-articulating in a way that spoke to the preparation needed to succeed in the future of work more broadly. Additionally, the importance of a self-determined First Nations space was recognised and in ensuring First Nations representation was present across not just this, but all focus areas.
  • Trust will be fundamental to the success and adoption of the project
    Ensuring our approach and the process is well understood was identified as key to gaining trust. Building a strong evidence base that involves multiple perspectives and considers a diversity of experiences is also core to building trust - within the Social Lab but also with the communities we will engage with more broadly.

  • There is consensus that the work cannot be a replication of what already exists
    It was widely acknowledged that, “in some cases - there are pockets of this work already happening in some schools...with the right support it would be a matter of refinement rather than complete change.” There is a desire to ensure that The Learner’s Journey project connects up and amplifies existing, promising efforts and utilises the Social Lab approach to surface new ideas that work for those experiencing disadvantage. We envisage one recognition system with many pathways.

  • Centering young people in the work is collectively valued
    The strength of many young people being present in and contributing to the session was clear throughout every conversation. There was a genuine desire to uphold the principle of not just having the voices of young people represented but to also see young people take an active, leading role as experts in their own journeys. Young people who attended the session expressed that their experience reflected this sentiment too and they wanted to see the opportunity for them to share their perspectives as an ongoing part of the approach.

Finally, the closing words shared by Hayley McQuire, Co-chair of Learning Creates left everyone with much to think about as we take these learnings and bring them into the next phase of the work;

“All the work we are doing here is because we care so much about our young people and what that future should look like for them. That’s our legacy and that’s the lens through which we can see the future - it’s through young people, through children. 

Our society should be structured in a way that doesn’t trap young people from their potential futures and aspirations. Community should be drawing on and growing and evolving through this dynamic energy that young people bring. 

As we continue to move forward one thing we always ask people at our Indigenous Youth Education workshops is - what kind of ancestor do you want to be? This right here is an opportunity to put those goals and visions into action around what can we do right now, what can we do in this generation that’s going to pay of for those young people that we aren’t going to see - that young person seven generations from now in a world that we can’t even imagine?”


Where are we heading next?

Over the next few weeks, we are looking at the specific lived experience, technical expertise and cross-sectoral representation we need to bring together in the first of three cycles of the Social Lab which will kick-off in early October and run until mid December of this year

The Social Lab will bring people together from different sectors and communities around Australia - forming multi-disciplinary teams to explore a new way to redefine learning success for young people that is trusted and understood by the community, and that has social and economic currency. It is a unique opportunity to create change through contributing to the development of real and promising solutions that reimagine learning pathways and experiences for 15 - 19 year olds.                    

There are a number of different roles needed to make this first cycle of work successful, that are outlined on page 6 of this factsheet. Places in the Social Lab teams will be decided based on designing the right mix of skills, experience and capacity to ensure they are diverse, multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral. 

If you or anyone you know have the experience or expertise we are looking for - we want to hear from you! Please: