Why is Denmark the newest trending brand in learning technology? In Denmark educational offerings from primary school to universities are free. Totally free. The entire school system is financed through taxes and built on some fundamental values such as:
- Democracy and equality
- Acknowledging each student as a valuable individual
- Respect and responsibility for the individual and the group
The Danish learning approach acknowledges that developing new ways of thinking doesn’t stand a chance in unequal systems where knowledge, systems, and opinions can’t be challenged. And that creative thinking, innovation, and a growth mindset has very poor conditions if making mistakes is seen as a failure.
These values lead the way in the Danish learning methods that focus on creative thinking and innovation, social and emotional intelligence, as well as on communication and collaboration to name some of the core elements. The Danish learning approach acknowledges that developing new ways of thinking doesn’t stand a chance in unequal systems where knowledge, systems, and opinions can’t be challenged. And that creative thinking, innovation, and a growth mindset has very poor conditions if making mistakes is seen as a failure.
This learning approach is not only present in primary and secondary school, but also in high school and higher education, and even in some Danish universities where learning methods such as problem-based learning and experiential collaborative learning are the fundamentals.
Another unique structure in the Danish primary and secondary school that is worth mentioning, is that students are part of the same main class from 1st to 9th grade and have a smaller group of teachers. This both seems to strengthen the respect and understanding of individual differences and the responsibility for the group. It also allows the individual to grow and be seen as a whole person that is not entirely evaluated based on academic skills, but also on e.g. social- and emotional intelligence.
This focus on individual growth has the potential to support each one as an active lifelong learner as it helps the individual to acknowledge that learning is a process that needs nurturing and care, and that you are always able and capable to continue learning and growing. And if the school has actually managed to teach you how to continue learning, you are in a pretty good place for sure. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Danes actually continue their learning long after school ended?
But what does all this have to do with learning technologies? Well, the most successful Danish learning software actually very deliberately builds upon the same values as the Danish school does: Valuing the individual learner as a whole person with a lot of knowledge that needs to be leveraged. Ensuring that collaborative learning and social learning are a core factor of the learning design. Developing transferable competencies instead of solely repeating knowledge and being very respectful and transparent when it comes to data and the use of it. Those are some of the main ingredients – garnished with beautiful designs (the Danes can’t help it!) – that make Danish learning technologies so successful these years.
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