Challenge Based Learning builds on the foundation of experiential learning and leans heavily on the wisdom of a long history of progressive education. The framework is informed by innovative practices in education, media, technology, entertainment, recreation, the workplace and society.

Threaded through the Challenge Based Learning framework are a series of foundational ideas. Familiarity with these concepts provides deeper insight into the process, opportunities for discussion, and support for implementation.

  • Everyone is a Learner. Ubiquitous access to information and technology provides the opportunity to break down the traditional hierarchical structure of schools and allows all participants to become both teachers and learners.
  • Moving beyond the four walls of the classroom. Involving all of the community members in the process expands resources, creates opportunities for authentic learning and moves the responsibility of education to the larger community.
  • Learner Inspired, Directed, and Owned. Meaningful connections are made between content and the lives of Learners.
  • Challenges provoke. Situations or activities that create a sense of urgency and spur action.
  • Content and 21st century skills. Authentic learning experiences foster deep content knowledge and help Learners to organically develop a wide range of 21st century skills.
  • Boundaries of Adventure. Boundaries are provided to guide the way and provide freedom for Learners to take ownership of the process.
  • Space and Freedom to Fail. A safe space is provided for all learners to think creatively, try new ideas, experiment, fail, receive feedback and try again. This iterative process is built into all of the phases of the framework.
  • Slowing for Critical and Creative Thinking. To ensure full participation and to provide opportunities for deep thinking, the learning process needs to be intentionally slowed down at times.
  • Authentic and Powerful Use of Technology. Technology is used to research, communicate, organize, create, evaluate, document and persuade.
  • Focus on Process and Product. The process of getting to the solution is valued as much as the solution.
  • Documentation and Storytelling. During each step of the challenge process, the learners document and publish using text, video, audio and pictures.
  • Reflection. Throughout the process, learners continuously reflect on the content and the process.

Connect With Learning

 2012 Geneva Challenge Based Learning Project