In OPEDUCA Real Life Learning is not so much about providing means and access to students, as well as enabling them to go out and see, observe, provide, collect and study for themselves.
Notwithstanding the relevance of the subjects thought at school, these remain pocketed in their own domains, only being made alive by the best of teachers that have the ability, often coming from many years long experience, to place what they teach in a relevant context within real life. As real life is a fantastic mixture of all kinds of information, knowledge, circumstances and practices, it is essential for the student to get in touch with that world outside. Although the internet seems to have come as a relief to many, through our lens it is also often an impoverishment. While it grants access to data and images of life, it is not the same for it remains an image and through its time-consuming nature keeps students away from the real world even more.
The world itself, like it has been for hundreds of thousands of years during which mankind developed, should and can be re-established as a rich an unending play- and learning ground for students and all youngsters. The promised effect will work two ways - not only will the application of what is learned give meaning and reason the learning, the other way around what students find in real life will trigger or expand their inquiry based learning in the school-setting.
Also the challenge of having schooling meet up and match with the demands of industry and the world of work at large, can better be addressed if we grand students real life learning experiences. Subjects and courses that at first sight may not captures a students' interest, can be become fascinating and at the least interest and relevant, if a student is granted to see what the issue is all about, where information becomes useful.
Experiencing the world as it is and develops will also contribute to merging together the fragments of information the student has and the knowledge it is producing. Simply observing people working can for example add significantly to the students' career orientation.
Schools should give reason, motivate, stimulate, not lock youngsters away by calling them students. There are numerous efforts to bring students closer to the world through experiences, for example to work at school on problems/challenges handed by industry or to go out and participate in community projects. There certainly have serious value - what we seek in OPEDUCA's Real Life Learning is a step beyond those more organised, sometimes even 'staged', activities and projects that are often also limited in time and degree of exposure.