The Hagen New Learning Manifesto

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For years, there have been calls to change how we think about learning. Now we are getting serious about it: In twelve theses, the Hagen Manifesto describes what constitutes New Learning and what is necessary to put it into practice.

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What is the Hagen Manifesto about?

The digital transformation has revolutionized how we live and work. However, the necessary changes in our educational system are progressing far too slowly. Skills and competencies that will no longer be necessary for our daily lives or the labor market of the future are still being taught. By contrast, learning still does not focus on urgently needed “future skills.”

  • This gap between the status quo in the educational sector and the needs of learners and the labor market is becoming ever more apparent during the coronavirus crisis. Working from home and digital continuing education are suddenly widely discussed topics. At the same time, a return to business as usual at universities and schools is unlikely for the foreseeable future. The issue is not just a lack of technological equipment and infrastructure, which has been the object of most public discourse about digital education. In many areas, there is also a lack of experience and expertise about how to learn, teach, and work well in this situation.

  • We need a fundamentally new understanding of learning, one which is established as a social consensus and which reaches across the boundaries of individual institutions and political jurisdictions. This is the core principle of the Hagen New Learning Manifesto. The visionary concept of New Learning gives us the chance to think big and to radically rethink learning. The goal of the Hagen Manifesto is to bring experts from different fields together to jointly develop central theses about fields of action and to communicate these recommendations to policymakers, in order to establish New Learning as a leading force to guide the process of transformation throughout society.

  • In addition to new digital educational formats and skill requirements, this also includes developing sustainable, cooperative forms of organization and innovative policies to support learning. Questions of educational justice and equal opportunities play an important role in this context.

    Ultimately the goal of the Hagen Manifesto is to create a unanimous political resolve to implement and organize learning processes in our society in a more consistent and targeted way.

Prof. Dr. Ada Pellert, President of the FernUniversität in Hagen Photo: Photo: Volker Wiciok

“Our educational system still lacks innovative strategies to react to digital transformation processes with the appropriate speed. Both in society and in politics, we must urgently free ourselves from old ways of thinking and develop a new understanding of learning that fits our time. Let us work together on the vision of New Learning!”

Prof. Dr. Ada Pellert, President of the FernUniversität in Hagen

The FernUniversität as initiator

The FernUniversität in Hagen is actively committed to New Learning because its distance learning system and blended learning model make it a university for lifelong learning and because it researches new educational approaches for the future. This is exemplified by its Institute of Educational Science and Media Research (IfBM), Center for Comparative Research on Pedagogical Professional Groups and Organisational Research (ZeBO Hagen), and research cluster Digitalization, Diversity, and Lifelong Learning (D²L²).

The FernUniversität is the only state distance-learning university in the German-speaking region. As a university with an extensive background in digital media, it supports other higher education institutions with the process of digitalization. Additionally, with its diverse student body it makes a significant contribution to equal opportunities within the German higher education system. With the Hagen Manifesto, it seeks to actively push the educational policy debate around New Learning forward, to support knowledge transfer between educational institutions, industry, politics, and civil society, and to inspire new networking initiatives for educational policy.

Read the full text of the Hagen Manifesto in English


Virtual Conference: Hagen New Learning Manifesto

On 26 November 2020, the FernUniversität in Hagen held a virtual conference about the Hagen New Learning Manifesto. It took up the debate around New Learning, bringing together experts in research and teaching with policy makers in its panel discussions. In topical workshops, participants exchanged opinions, developed new ideas, and formed new networks on the topic of New Learning.

More information and a video recording of the event is available on our German website.

Virtual Conference: Hagen New Learning Manifesto (German)

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