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CBL vision

Our alliance has the motto Challenging Future Generations. We envision our learners, teachers, and researchers to be ready to tackle the great challenges of today and tomorrow, especially in education and science. We do so by encouraging innovative approaches like CBL in which participants from various disciplines cooperate with each other and with external stakeholders to solve real problems in the business community or in society.

Our society is currently facing a variety of wicked local, national, and global problems, such as dealing with a temperature increase in cities of 1,5 degree Celsius. To prepare and guide our students to become complex problem solvers, our alliance has established five principles that create an immersive design framework. The intention for this framework is to ensure a safe and highly motivating learning environment, one that nourishes personal and professional growth. The framework motivates learners to widen and deepen their knowledge, augmenting it with multi-disciplinary and transversal competencies, fundamental to a professional career based on a lifelong learning mindset.

Learn more by watching the video below:

The following principles form a configuration of CBL within our alliance with the aim to create a safe and highly motivating learning environment, which consists of immersive design characteristics, to nourish personal and professional growth.

Principle 1 : Highly Complex problems 

Principle 1 is the use of highly complex, real-world problems. Each problem must be open-ended, ill-defined and applicable to different stakeholders, and require different types of knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration. The uncertainty inherent in attempting to solve such problems demands the gathering of information by exploring new knowledge domains, identifying knowledge gaps and involving all stakeholders. The process promotes active learning and encourages learners to determine what competencies are needed to solve the problem. Real-world challenges, and solutions that positively impact people and planet, create a sense of urgency and motivation in participants that sustains their collaborative interest and energy.

Principle 2: Community of Practice

Principle 2 is a commitment to establishing a Community of Practice (CoP): a safe and supportive learning environment where people learn from and with each other about a particular problem area and includes the challenge agent, learners, lecturers, coaches and stakeholders. Members in the CoP actively build a common ground based on shared values and goals. These include respect for diversity, a sense of connection and belonging, equality and building working relationships that exhibit trust and transparency. The CoP facilitates the acquisition of transdisciplinary knowledge, through a feedback and assessment cycle initiated as required by the learner or other community members. Several mandatory milestones ensure formal feedback with the challenge owner and other stakeholders. Self-assessment is also an opportunity for learners to receive formative and summative feedback. CoP learner communities can be both online and offline, depending on the set-up of the CBL course.

Principle 3: Challenge Agent and Stakeholders

Principle 3 defines the roles of the challenge agent and the stakeholders. A highly complex problem often involves multiple problem domains and stakeholders. Challenge agents might find themselves initiating a challenge and representing a problem owner or mediating between stakeholders on route to viable solutions. Challenge agents also play an active role in the CoP by co-creating and framing the challenges. They also provide feedback and advice and connect learners to experts in the agent’s network. To provide a real-world complex problem, a non-academic challenge agent presents the problem as an available assignment description. Learners must actively engage with the complexity and work with the challenge agent to co-create solutions. Challenge agents are aware that they have a proactive role in the learner teams’ learning trajectory and should facilitate the co-development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The quality of the final products can vary, and the challenge agent should understand this.

Principle 4: Learner Agency  

The principle of learner agency emphasises that learners must take responsibility for their own learning and choose their own competencies. Learners are encouraged to explore their talents and experiment with new roles and tasks. They can define their own individual, team, and community competencies, which they share with all members of the CoP to create a common ground for growth. Coaching is provided to help learners reflect on their learning needs and goals, and they are encouraged to find peers with similar needs to support each other. This approach facilitates considerable learning gains and develops self-management and self-reflection in learners.  

Principle 5: Feedback and Assessment for Growth

Principle 5 emphasizes the importance of growth, feedback, and assessment in CBL. Learners are encouraged to collaborate in cross-institutional interdisciplinary teams to broaden their horizons and apply their unique knowledge, characteristics and experience. Students can set three competency domains: academic study-related, highly complex problem-solving related, and career and life skills related. Students are responsible for their own competency development, which is facilitated via tools and learning activities provided by the CoP. Collaboration in CBL teams also creates opportunities for students to explore lifelong learning and potential career paths.