This article discusses the sudden popularity and the critical responses to educational innovations under the heading of ‘new learning’ in the Netherlands. It is argued that ‘active learning’ and ‘authentic learning’, the key concepts in all variants of new learning, are not novel; they have a long history in educational thinking. New is their broad popularity. An increasing number of schools, experiencing problems with motivating students and with achieving transferable learning results, consider active and authentic learning as possible solutions. An emphasis on active and authentic learning also fits in with developments on the labour market where new competences are required. Moreover socio-constructivist educational theories, underpinning these principles have become more influential. ‘New learning’ is being criticized by opponents, however, for its ideological character (lack of scientific evidence). Opponents also fear that ‘new learning’ threatens the national educational level. The article concludes with a plea for educational researchers to collaborate with innovating schools in order to find better justifications and better operationalizations of ‘new learning’ and to critically evaluate the effects of specific innovations.
|Published - 2006