Learning College Principles

Principle One: The Learning College creates substantive change in individual learners.

“Formal schooling provides an extraordinary laboratory for learning about self and others, but most importantly, it provides an extraordinary opportunity to learn about things and ideas, about changes in the past and hopes for the future, about where and how others live and die, about cultures and civilizations, and about ways to examine and arrange all this information to make sense of it.  At its best, formal schooling is every society’s attempt to provide a powerful environment that can create substantive change in individuals” (O’Banion, 1997, p.48).

Principle Two: The Learning College engages learners in the learning process as full partners who must assume primary responsibility for their own choices.

“If schools are to meet the foreseeable demands of the learning society, they will have to…gradually put students in charge of their own learning, so that they can make wise choices from among the many learning options that will confront them as adults in the learning society” (Cross, 1984, p.172).

Principle Three: The Learning College creates and offers as many options for learning as possible.

“New research on ‘multiple-intelligences,’ learning styles, and information processing confirms common wisdom: Human beings are highly complex and unique individuals who learn differently from one another.  The best educational enterprise will be one that best responds to those individual differences” (O’Banion, 1997, p. 52).

Principle Four: The Learning College assists learners to form and participate in collaborative learning activities.

“To transform a traditional institution into a learning college is to turn the university ideal of a ‘community of scholars’ into a new ideal of a ‘community of learners.’  The focus on creating communities among all participants in the learning process – including not just students but also the faculty and other learning specialists – on creating student cohorts, and on developing social structures that support individual learning is a requirement of the learning college” (O’Banion, 1997, p.55).

Principle Five: The Learning College defines the roles of learning facilitators in response to the needs of the learners.

“Learning facilitators will be mentors – guiding each learner to his or her chosen goals.  Learning facilitators will be facilitators of inquiry – coaching learners and helping them remove barriers as they move toward discovery.  Learning facilitators will be architects of connection – observing the needs of individual learners and joining them to information, experiences, resources, experts, and teams.  Learning facilitators will be managers of collaboration and integration” (O’Banion, 1997, p.59).

Principle Six: The Learning College and its learning facilitators succeed only when improved and expanded learning can be documented for learners.

 “’What does this learning know?’ and ‘What can this learner do?’ provide the framework for documenting outcomes, both for the learner and for the learning facilitators.  If the ultimate goal of the learning college is to promote and expand learning, then this will be the yardstick by which the learning college faculty and staff are evaluated” (O’Banion, 1997, p.60).

Principle Seven: All Learning College employees identify their role in supporting learning.

“Everyone employed in the learning college will be a learning facilitator, including categories formerly designated administration and support or clerical staff.  Every employee will be directly linked to learners in the exercise of his or her duties, although some activities, such as accounting, may be more indirectly related.  The goal is to have every employed person thinking about how his or her work facilitates the learning process” (O’Banion, 1997, p.58).

O’Bannion, T. (1997). A Learning College for the 21st Century. Connecticut: Oryx Press.
Cross, K. P. “The Rising Tide of School Reform Reports”, Phi Delta Kappan, November 1984.