The Research 

"Student Ownership of learning" is a concept that has fascinated us since its inception. This is not strange because we, the researchers, have our common roots in "innovative education." Ownership of learning is an important element in the educational vocabulary. But the results of the educational renewal movements of the last 100 years has influenced a wider part of the educational field. Concepts such as: child centered education, becoming who you are, intrinsic motivation, personalized learning , self-determination and student voice are all interrelated and have become a commonplace. Most of the mission statements of schools contain those terms and school websites describe “ownership of learning” in an attractive manner. But what does it actually mean and how does it influence the way we shape our education and does it improve the quality of education?  These questions were the starting point of this research.

The definition

"Ownership of learning" is a concept with many dimensions. Looking for a suitable definition for our research, we kept coming up with new perspectives. We ultimately designed a hybrid, or rather, a layered definition that fits into the theoretical and practical aspects of the concept. Our definition consists of four core principles that surround each other.

  • Core 1: Ownership is a personal experience in learning. The experience is characterized by "deep learning", it is accompanied by a "flow" experience and a so-called "growth mindset" and it enhances “responsibility”.  This is connected to the theories of M. Csikszentmihalyi, Carol Dweck and others.

  • Core 2: Ownership of learning refers to the idea that personal development and learning is visible in competence, autonomy and relationship. This is connected to the theories of Deci and Ryan, Luc Stevens, John Hattie and Gert Biesta.

  • Core 3: Ownership is a guiding concept of a learning environment or learning activity, whereby an optimum of learning opportunities and wishes is pursued. It is connected with the pursuit of educational innovation and the creation of a professional learning community.

  • Core 4: Ownership is visible in a taxonomy of school development. Various schools can be characterized in which ownership differs at the level of students, learning activities and learning environment and organization.

In recent years we have collected a lot of data and information about the concept of ownership and how this is translated into practice in schools. By making use of SOL- the game, reconnaissance has been carried out at many levels. In these explorations we always started from core principle 4 of our definition: the taxonomy. In the game we have linked the characterization of the schools with the behaviour of teachers and students and organizational characteristics. We actually connected core principle 4 with 2 and 3. With this instrument, “SOL-the game”, we have further explored those connections. In the next phase we should make the link with core principle 1. The experience of ownership in learning. It would be nice to make a connection there. After all, it could be a strong tool in the discussion about how one would like to organize a school if one were to pursue student ownership. In this way we arrive at a research question that can guide the activities in the following phase of our research:

"What is the connection between the different types of schools and the ownership that students experience"?