Learning Landscapes – Insights on the Progressive Education Model

Progressive Education Model

How you educate a learning mind is as important as what you teach it. Numerous factors work in tandem and determine how successfully a teacher has been able to impart education to a learner. The last few decades witnessed a renewed focus on the research & development of pedagogical techniques for imparting & facilitating education that’s relevant to the issues permeating the socio-economic fabric.

One of the most notable pedagogical strategies for fostering holistic & socially relevant education is the progressive education model. Heavily implemented and integrated across several education systems, the central idea emphasises the essentiality of a progressive learning landscape where students are active participants and experience a hands-on approach to education. 

This article takes a close look at the progressive education model. It presents some striking insights from the online learning experts of MyAssignmentHelp, Australia’s largest online humanities, science & law assignment help service.

The Four Pillars of Progress Education

The seed of the ideas powering progressive education was first borne in the mind of one of the United States of America’s foremost educational reformers, John Dewey. Few ideas have had such a huge impact on modern education systems as Dewey’s Progressive Education Theory. John Dewey was also a psychologist and philosopher &; and in all probability, his understanding & interpretations of the intricacies & manner of effective learning was heavily influenced were heavily influenced by his understanding of the cognitive learning processes of the human mind. Dewey believed that, in order for students to learn holistically and effectively, it is important for them not just to acquire knowledge but to experience it as comprehensively as possible.

Four central principles serve as the operational foundations of the progressive learning landscape. Each of the four operational principles emphasises two fundamental concepts: the need to respect learners’ diversity and the need to develop critical, socially pertinent intelligence. 

Let’s examine how each of the four principles helps impart critical, socially engaged intelligence to students across the spectrum.

Learning by Doing

Learning by doing, learning through experience, or experiential learning – whatever you want to call it, the basic idea is to engage students actively in the learning process. Active engagement is when students learn first-hand through active participation. Acquiring, understanding, and imbibing new information becomes easier and more effective in such cases since a learning mind is directly involved. 

Laboratory classes and field trips are prime examples of learning by doing. Whether you find a plant or animal mentioned in your book in its natural environment, do a complex chemistry experiment, or develop your heuristic algorithm, you are making use of available resources to learn new things and develop solutions to problems. You get to employ what you know and have learned in a practical setting.  

This has the advantage of helping a learner understand the relevance of acquired knowledge and self-developed ideas in a wider context. Students note their observations and form rich & memorable experiences, all of which eventually lead to focused discussions. 


Discussions allow students to delve deeper into a subject. By actively participating in discussions, students get to learn the nuances of developing & polishing their ideas, perspectives, and arguments and convincingly presenting them. Discussions expose students to differing points of view and teach them the importance of & the ways to incorporate different perspectives into their own. 


Dewey believed interactions were crucial to the development of one’s learning process. His emphasis on experiential learning and discussions highlights the importance of interactions for information recipients. Interaction and discussions allow learners to bounce ideas off one another, thereby expanding their knowledge, ideas, and even skills. 

Interdisciplinary Learning

Dewey believed holistic learning to be interdisciplinary. According to him, students should not only try to understand the origin of ideas and the concepts underpinning them but also look into connections and implications across different disciplines. That’s the essence of progressive and holistic learning, which serves to expand and strengthen one’s understanding.  

How do electronic circuits work together to run software codes? How does mathematics figure into computer programming? How can Boolean logic manipulate electrical currents? How is mathematics crucial to predicting economic conditions? – questions and queries of this kind allow students to understand how things are connected.  

Interdisciplinary learning (and progressive education, as a whole) flourishes the human brain’s myriad cognitive centres. Knowledge is consolidated through experiences, interaction and discussions, allowing learners to build better mental models and maps for a subject.

The Role of Teachers in the Progressive Education Model

Progressive learning designates teachers as guides & mentors of learners. Their role is to encourage, motivate, guide, and lend support. They are not just taskmasters or disciplinarians but coaches who train students to acquire & understand knowledge by carefully employing different mental faculties. 

Irrespective of any barrier and/or boundaries, teachers engaged in progressive learning have to teach students 🡪 

  • How to consolidate information from different sources, 
  • How to interpret & audit relevant information, 
  • Align and assimilate life experiences & practical knowledge with theoretical knowledge.
  • How to use logic and reason to analyse information accurately
  • How to make acute observations and judgments when learning or solving problems
  • Think critically and comprehensively without bias

Let’s now take a look at the progressive education model from a neuroscientific perspective and how it impacts the brain’s learning centres. 

The Neuroscience of Progressive Education

Active engagement, critical thinking, logical analysis, experiential learning, individual capacity, creative & artistic freedom, and a democratic learning environment are key characteristics of Dewey’s progressive Education Model. With time, educators and institutions across different education systems have dedicated themselves to developing varied pedagogical approaches that are grounded in psychology.

  • Progressive educators, institutions, and even policymakers have translated relevant psychological principles into specific educational conventions, such as student-centred curricula, ungraded schools, alternative schools, and responsive environments. 
  • Excellence in education for disadvantaged students, the need for social and emotional learning, the emphasis on self-efficacy and & motivation, and a particular focus on cooperative learning have been hallmarks of contemporary progressive learning practices. These practices were developed in light of research on the psychological & cognitive impact of progressive learning.
  • In 1919, the Association for the Advancement of Progressive Education (AAPE) established the seven general principles of progressive education, which was called The New Neuroscience Progressive Standards Framework. 

The Neuroscience Progressive Standards Framework 

The framework aligns the standards of progressive education with the generally accepted understanding of the neuroscience of learning. Together, they set standards for educators to explore, understand, and elaborate on the philosophy, psychology, & neurobiology of learning. The standards also aid teachers in designing effective and efficient delivery practices for diverse student groups. 

The AAPE proposed the following 12 progressive neuroscience education standards 🡪 

  • The Unique Learning Child 🡪 How genes as well as the development environment influence the development of one’s brain and eventually their learning processes; 
  • Learning Community & Transactional Learning 🡪 How early language acquisition affects perception and reception of information, facilitates information exchange, and creative thought processes during development. 
  • Cooperation & Collaboration 🡪 Understanding the complexity and criticality of proper communication in learning, interaction, collaborations, and cooperation
  • Emotional Learning 🡪 How progressive learning plays a role in the development of self-regulatory neural circuits
  • Active, Experiential & Social Learning 🡪 The importance of interactions and experience in knowledge development
  • Intrinsic Motivation 🡪 Determining how experiential learning and exposure to differing perspectives leads to holistic knowledge acquisition and change the structure, function, & plasticity of the human brain
  • Social Justice, Democratic & Critical Thinking 🡪 How progressive learning fosters critical thinking and develops the centres of the brain responsible for making accurate & unbiased judgements.
  • Discovery Learning & Scientific Inquiry 🡪 Understanding how curiosity, a scientific approach to investigation & interpretation, and the discovery of new insights help the brain to grow new synapses
  • Project-Based Learning  🡪 How the nature of events and experiences determine the ability of the human brain to remember & recall information
  • Integrated and Flexible Artistic Curricula  🡪 How different kinds of perceptions, thoughts, actions, and behaviours relate to the combination of information from neurons
  • Authentic Assessment 🡪 Determining how the brain learns from experience and can make predictions in response 
  • Lifelong Learning 🡪 Understanding how the brain can recognise signals and recall associated memories that can last an entire lifetime

And those were the twelve standards of the neuroscience-based progressive education framework. And with that, we wrap up this write-up. Hope this was an interesting and informative read for everyone. 

Some of the most critical aspects of John Dewey’s Progressive Education Model were the emphasis on experiential learning, discussion & interactions, and the need for critical, interdisciplinary, unbiased thinking. To a thinking mind, the benefits of these factors should be quite obvious. Engaging in progressive learning is one of the most prominent ways to nurture your brain and its myriad faculties. Anyone who does so gets one step closer to becoming a truly enlightened individual. 

Become a progressive learner, and if need be, get the experts of MyAssignmentHelp to help you out. All the best!