The Ten Principles

The Ten Principles of Effective Learning, by Robert Halpern, Paul Heckman, and Reed Larson

  1. It is In-Depth and Immersive…Good learning ensures youth gain the capacity to sustain interest in question-driven inquiry.  In depth learning gives youth the opportunity to gain mastery in the discipline – and they want to be good at things.
  2. It is Rooted in a Community of Practice…
    Good learning takes place when less experienced learners can work alongside more experienced peers as well as skilled adult mentors.  Here there is joint effort and distributed responsibility and speeds up learning.
  3. Provides Growing Challenge, and Opportunity to Exercise New Capacities…
    Good learning challenges youth to meet difficult but accessible problems.  Accomplishing one goal motivates the learner to take on the next even greater challenge.  Youth develop independent approaches and make their own decisions to reach these goals.
  4. Attends to Motivation…
    Good learning recognizes young people are intrinsically motivated to learn at deeper levels – not by external rewards but by personally meaningful experiences – when it is worth learning, and when it connects to other people, to their peers and to adults.
  5. Supports Developmentally Appropriate Agency…
    Good learning shapes meaning that is shared rather than imposed.  Good learning assures young people that the world is not a finished product and leaves room for their own ideas, their questions, and their ways of interpreting the tasks or problems at hand.
  6. Provides Opportunity to Apply Knowledge and make Meaning of Learning Experience…
    Good learning creates a sense of purposefulness for the learner, and taps into young people’s desire to use, apply, make sense, and make connections.  It allows them to work on tasks and create products that have meaning and value to self and others.
  7. Recognizes the Importance of Emotion in Learning…
    Good learning is more than cognition. It is rooted in, draws on and engages emotion.  It allows emotions to take place and helps young people recognize a range of feelings is part of any learning experience.  It supports rather than condemns this natural aspect of learning.
  8. Links Assessment Closely to the Learning Process…
    Good learning assesses work in relation to established standards of the discipline at hand.  The criteria used are transparent, concrete, functional and explicit markers of progress and growth, and helps youth learn to use failure as an important part of the learning process.  They are encouraged to “inspect their own ideas.”
  9. Is Diverse as a Whole…
    Good learning provides opportunities for young people to learn about (and more selectively to experience) a range of adult roles, the kinds of tasks adults devote themselves to.
  10. Is Supported by a Rich/Multi-Dimensional Adult Role…
    Good learning recognizes strong relationships are like knowledge pathways – mentors must work alongside youth, and exemplify how professionals see and experience the world.  Mentors encourage youth to learn, and help young people trust themselves as learners.