What? Learning that is authentic is grounded in the lifeworld of the learner – it is grounded in experience, often embodied experience and aims at being relevant and meaningful to learners, its practical application and benefits apparent. This means it is not abstract or separate from the learner – where it involves disciplinary knowledge it is focused on the connections between experiences, concepts, theories, reflection and inquiry and practical know-how.
Authentic learning is often the product of an impulsion or felt need by the learner to know or find out about something: what it means; how it works; how to make it work; how it feels; or how it might be improved or changed. Authentic learning is deepened when opportunities emerge, or are created, to address these felt needs and when these opportunities lead to: experiences of the phenomena; a conceptual language with which to describe and discuss the phenomena and the authentic learner’s experiences; theories are uncovered or formulated which help explain the phenomena; the functions and purposes of the phenomena are analysed and discussed; the impacts and consequences of the phenomena are canvassed and reflected on; and the authentic learner has opportunities to apply their knowledge, understanding and know-how of the phenomena in creative ways.
The Knowledge Processes of Learning by Design provide for Authentic Learning.