The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

From Learners to Researchers: Co-Creation of Knowledge in Project-Based Learning

Tobias Schmohl, OWL Technical University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Germany)

Meike Clausen, OWL Technical University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Germany)


Traditional educational settings often limit student engagement and real-world application of concepts, particularly in the study of societal themes such as personal freedom. This research essay presents a new approach to higher education through a project-based and research-led learning scenario, centered around the creation and analysis of a three-part interactive web series. This series explores the nuanced concept of freedom as experienced by young individuals in rural settings, contrasted with urban perceptions.

Unlike traditional classroom settings, this course requires students to actively engage with real-world scenarios, enhancing their learning through direct experience and reflection. This approach not only facilitates a deeper understanding of the prerequesites for creating a web series but also promotes civic engagement by encouraging students to consider the societal implications of their studies, particularly in understanding diverse perspectives on freedom in rural versus urban contexts.

Employing qualitative social research methods, this study engages students in the authentic exploration of rural and urban freedom. By acting as co-creators in the research process, students bridge the gap between theoretical learning and practical application, contributing to a larger community dialogue. Furthermore, they develop research competencies e.g. in ethnographic participant observation and interview methodologies, improving their ability to analyze and interpret social interactions.

Moreover, the course's innovative use of interactive media as a teaching and research tool represents a significant departure from conventional educational models. By involving students in the creation and analysis of a web series that explores complex social themes, the course blurs the lines between learner and researcher, engaging students as co-creators of knowledge. This method aligns with principles of service learning and citizen science, as students contribute to a larger community dialogue and gain a sense of responsibility towards societal issues.

Our research paper underscores the potential of interactive storytelling and project-based learning in transforming educational experiences and research methodologies. By fostering a deep, participatory understanding of complex social themes, the project serves as a model for future educational endeavors aimed at bridging diverse cultural landscapes and enhancing student engagement through innovative teaching tools and methods.

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