Helsinki Education Week

Designing learning experiences to encourage the development of Skills, Processes & Watermarks

3.11.2020 at 12:00 - 13:00 EET

At The Royal Academy, a residential school in Bhutan, we follow the Five Areas of Development curriculum conceptualised by Arun Kapur. It is a wholistic curriculum that seeks to develop the requisite skills, processes and watermarks in our learners. It is driven by the cross pollination of domains, ideas, experiences and technology. We draw our inspiration from the vision of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck:

The future is neither unseen nor unknown, it is what we make of it

For the event at Helsinki duration Week, we are open to feedback and suggestions. We would like to design a contextualised event but for now, here is a tentative outline. The event will be a dialogue with a potential explore session hosted by the teachers, researchers and students at the Royal Academy, along with the innovator of the Five Areas of Development curriculum and the Director of the Royal Academy, Arun Kapur. 

1. Preference of Learners and opportunities to self-direct the Learning Process

Learning is an experience. It is not a one-dimensional process and does not always follow a linear path. To fully engage in a learning experience, there has to be the freedom to explore and reflect in order to follow one’s train of thought or digress to the unknown. The learner needs to be at the centre of what we do which means the learners also have a lot of ownership and accountability in what they do. Teachers must create an environment of trust where a learner can take risks and grapple with choices. Experiences from the community and the needs of the community must help learners understand their backstory. This backstory needs to become the foundation of the Roadmap of the learner. Roadmap captures a learner’s aspiration and present needs, which cumulatively help define their Learning Process. The Roadmap enables learners to self-assess their growth in the Five Areas of Development and continuously work towards raising their bar. 

2. Skills, Processes and Watermarks

The Learning Process is centred around Skills, Processes, and Watermarks which are contextualized to the learners. In addition to content from an Examination Board, aspirations from learners and their contribution of local songs, recipe, games, dances, patterns, etc can be used to help them develop skills, processes and watermarks. Individualization of the Learning Process to each learner equips them with the skills and processes needed to more effectively explore and interact with their community and deal with the ever-evolving content.

3. Role of Teachers

Teachers have one of the most challenging jobs and the profession has taken on a whole new dimension in the post-pandemic world. But it is also equally rewarding to be an educator. We, as educators, have the privilege to support individuals in their journey of discovery of themselves and the world around them and, in the process, grow our own understanding. Alternately stated, all young people have an innate potential to flourish but it is the role and responsibility of educators and schools to create the cause and conditions that allow the learners and young people to do so. However, before we are able to help our learners flourish, we have to recognize the fact that we are also on a learning journey and that our learners can have a huge impact on our journey. Therefore, we are continually learning from our learners, just as they are learning from us. We have to realize that our learning is interdependent.

4. Assessment that drives progress for every learner

The purpose of assessment is to drive progress, for students as well as teachers. By cross assessing, interconnections between subjects become more visible and prominent. Not only will this help consolidate the skills, processes and concepts better but will ensure that conversations are carried forward beyond a specific classroom. Assessment must allow learners to showcase what they have learnt while challenging them to raise their bar. Individualized papers for each student serve that purpose. Learners set “Raising the Bar” challenges in their Roadmap at the beginning of each learning cycle, working on those through the learning cycle. Opportunities are provided at the end of each Learning cycle for learners to showcase their growth.

5. Technology as the enabler of the Learning Process

As individuals move along their learning journeys, technology helps capture backstories, assessment inputs, representations and analyses of each student, which will help design their Portrait. The journey of a learner starts from the backstory, and through the course of their academic year, the Roadmaps augments this backstory into a portrait. The Portrait expresses the journey and development of each learner: their present qualities and competencies; their goals and aspirations; and, their onward learning journey. We have to acknowledge that different learning environments may allow different students to flourish, or a certain aspect of their development to thrive. That is why engaging in a range of learning activities across a range of learning environments may actually be beneficial for students. It allows them to access parts of their potential that they wouldn’t normally have been able to access in a fully physical setting. However, conversely, the approach may have a negative impact on some students’ learning journey. We need to be actively addressing these concerns. Fostering students who are skills-rich should be one of the aims of education. We should look at ‘being rich’ from a skills' standpoint, not an economic one. This pedagogical shift would be towards a form of hybrid learning in which the continuously evolving technologies are fully utilised and integrated into the learning process. We see this as augmented learning.


Date: 3.11.2020

Time: 12:00 - 13:00 EET

Event type: Dialogue

Target group: Preschool, Basic Education, Upper secondary school, Adult students, Teachers, Leaders, Educational entrepreneurs.


Contact person: Hemant


Phone number: 07938809924