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Aurora Institute


Agency by Design: Making Learning Engaging

Report cover graphic

Author(s): Derek Wenmoth, Marsha Jones, Joseph DiMartino

Organization(s): Aurora Institute

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, How to Get Started, Commit to Equity, Evaluate Quality, Rethink Instruction, Learn Lessons from the Field, Activate Student Agency, Engage Community

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“Learner agency is about having the power, combined with choices, to take meaningful action and see the result of those decisions. It can be thought of as a catalyst for change or transformation. Learner agency is about students having the understanding, ability and opportunity to be part of the learning design and taking action to intervene in the learning process to become effective lifelong learners.”

–Derek Wenmoth

The global COVID-19 pandemic pulled back the curtain on the growing need for greater student agency and student engagement. As we rethink the future of education in a post-pandemic world, learner agency must be at the center of learning designs and learning models so that we can support students anytime, anyplace, and at any pace. We must re-imagine what agency and engagement can look like in contemporary practices.

This report offers guidance – including practical advice – to education leaders and teachers in redesigning schools and classrooms by centering on learner agency, through a shift in the ownership of learning. It also provides clarity around the definition and meaning of learner agency and addresses the implications for high-quality practices in new learning models.