Making Learning Visible - Children as Individual and Group Learners

Reggio Children

What is a learning group? To what extent is individual learning reinforced and enhanced or, on the contrary, stifled and inhibited, in a learning group? Can a group construct its own way of learning? To what extent can documentation foster new ways of learning? what is the relationship between documentation and assessment? To what extent can a relational group really be a learning group?

These are some of the questions that have been examined in the research project "Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners", carried out from 1997 to 1999 by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and by Reggio Children, which involves teachers and pedagogistas from the Municipal Infant-Toddler Centres and Preschools of Reggio Emilia and researchers at Project Zero.

Numerous studes on individual and group learning can be found in the literature, but few have focussed on individual learning strategies within the group and the learning of the group, particularly when it consists of young children. Moreover, little has been published in the pedagogical-educational sphere on the relationship between documentation and assessment.

The encounter between Reggio Children and Project Zero has provided an important opportunity to study these issues in greater depth. The hypothesis put forth by the research is that documentation can foster both individual and group learning creating a relationship between them.

The differences and points of contact between the Reggio educational experience and that of Project Zero have made it possible to construct an competent and attentive meeting of minds and experiences. Together, Reggio Children and Project Zero have tried to identify methods and processes that will enable educators to reflect not only on the learning processes of children but also on those of adults, supporting their thinking and action in relations to the children's processes and their dialogue with colleagues.

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