Authentic learning typically focuses on real-world, complex problems and their solutions, using role-playing exercises, problem-based activities, case studies, and participation in virtual communities of practice. The learning environments are inherently multidisciplinary. They are “not constructed in order to teach geometry or to teach philosophy. A learning environment is similar to some ‘real world’ application or discipline: managing a city, building a house, flying an airplane, setting a budget, solving a crime, for example.” Going beyond content, authentic learning intentionally brings into play multiple disciplines, multiple perspectives, ways of working, habits of mind, and community.

Introduction from:

The WEF report on Schools of the Future: Defining New Models of Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, includes a specific focus on the need to develop authentic digital skills, including programming, digital responsibility and the use of technology through programmes that involve direct collaboration with the tech industry.

(World Economic Forum: Schools of the Future Report 2019 pg. 18).


More detail:


Educational research has shown that authentic learning experiences give learners the capacity to turn information into useful transferable knowledge and to build professional identity. By situating knowledge within relevant contexts, learning is enhanced.

Authentic learning experiences:

  • Encourage learners to assimilate and connect knowledge that is unfamiliar
  • Expose learners to different settings, activities and perspectives
  • Enhance transferability and application of theoretical knowledge to the ‘real world’
  • Create opportunities for learners to collaborate, produce polished products and to practice generic (e.g., problem solving) and professional skills
  • Build capacity to exercise professional judgments (in a ‘safe’ environment) and attachment to professional knowledge and principles.

Authentic learning potentially builds learners' capacity in all four domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor and is therefore a useful learning approach to preparing students for work in the 21st century.



Sydney Catholic Schools Authentic Learning

Defining Authentic Learning by Steve Revington

Authentic Learning Activities: Examples & Concept

Authentic Learning Series: 15 Classroom Literacy Ideas for Early Childhood

TEKY Academy (multiple locations in Vietnam) provides an example of authentic learning - striving to continuously improve the quality of its services and provide students with a learning environment that includes authentic high-tech labs with complete resources and modern equipment to maximise their learning and research.

The curriculum focuses on content that is delivered via collaborative projects. "The learning journey is entirely student-driven: each student joins several pilot classes before deciding on the technology class that most appeals to them." TEKY collaborated with MasterMind Crate to launch the Tekid-preneur programme, designed to guide students in building and designing their own e-commerce websites, and launched Viet Nam’s first virtual reality course for students ages 13–18.

Accelerating Work Achievement and Readiness for Employment (AWARE)

(Indonesia and the Philippines)

Accelerated Work Achievement and Readiness for Employment (AWARE): Building a Workforce for the Digital Economy - the first project was a joint initiative between the Education Development Center (EDC), a non-profit that designs and delivers programmes in education, health and economic opportunity and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. AWARE creates direct and authentic links between students, schools and industry leaders to support work-readiness among youth through structured, work-based learning in collaboration with over 65 private sector companies.


Web resources:

Authentic learning: what, why and how?

What is authentic learning, why is it needed, and how can we promote it?

Wiki Authentic learning

'Authentic' learning experiences: what does this mean and where is the literacy learning?



Learnlife strongly believes that learning connected to real-world contexts is going to be powerful. There are at least two different ways authentic learning might occur. The first of these is where a task, quest or project is directly linked to an authentic context or challenge. Such connections have been seen to heightened engagement into any learning connected to the task.

A second understanding of the concept of authentic learning applies to situations where a learner is directly introduced to different contexts, cultures or circumstances. This may be via a journey to different locations and engaging directly with new communities. The authenticity of learning in these contexts can accelerate a learner’s appreciation for other cultures, challenges and perhaps promote deeper reflections on their own culture, context and circumstances.

Authentic learning is one of the 25 learning methodologies in the Learnlife learning paradigm toolkit. Learn more about the different ways to engage learners through the different learning methodologies.