Making Learning Visible: Understanding, Documenting, and Supporting Individual and Group Learning
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Definition and Features of a Learning Group and Documentation

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Definition of a Learning Group
a collection of persons who are emotionally, intellectually, and aesthetically engaged in solving problems, creating products, and making meaning—an assemblage in which each person learns autonomously and through the ways of learning of others.

Four Features of Learning in Groups

  • The members of learning groups include adults as well as children.
  • Documenting children's learning processes helps to make learning visible and shapes the learning that takes place.
  • Members of learning groups are engaged in the emotional and aesthetic as well as the intellectual dimensions of learning.
  • The focus of learning in learning groups extends beyond the learning of individuals to create a collective body of knowledge.

Definition of Documentation
the practice of observing, recording, interpreting, and sharing through a variety of media the processes and products of learning in order to deepen learning and make it visible.

Five Features of Documentation

  • Documentation involves a specific question that guides the process, often with an epistemological focus.
  • Documentation involves collectively analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating individual or group observations; it is strengthened by multiple perspectives.
  • Documentation makes use of multiple languages (different ways of representing and expressing thinking in various media and symbol systems).
  • Documentation makes learning visible; it is not private. Documentation becomes public when it is shared back with learners—whether children, parents, or teachers.
  • Documentation is not only retrospective, it is also prospective; it shapes the design of future contexts for learning.



2005 Making Learning Visible Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education


Copyright 2006 Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.
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