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European School Education Platform

Alternative approaches for innovative teaching and learning

Practice article

Alternative approaches for innovative teaching and learning

There is no exact shortcut or magic trick to make a classroom more innovative. Innovation can be a part of small choices a teacher makes, or part of the wider context in which learning happens.
Illustration: Colourful lightbulb
Adobe Stock / CROCOTHERY

In this article, we will take a look at some pedagogical approaches that are not necessarily new, but that can make a difference for learners when used properly.


Embodied learning


Embodied learning emphasises the involvement of the whole body in the learning process, including mind, body, physical action, cognition, and emotions. Embodied learning can get pupils more emotionally involved than a sedentary environment can. Physical activities can have a positive impact on pupils’ cognition faculties and learning outcomes.


The ENABLES project focuses on developing distributed leadership in schools through arts-based and embodied activity. The project proposes different methods, including collage and embodied movement, creative writing and reflection, drama and improvisation, and vignettes.


Another project, INTELed, uses embodied learning and multisensory techniques for inclusive education. The main outputs of the project are a training handbook, collection of best practices, and an online repository of ICT multisensory games.




Adaptive learning


Adaptive teaching considers the strengths and needs of all pupils. Unlike differentiation, which focuses on individual pupils, adaptive teaching focuses on the whole class. It should create opportunities for all pupils to experience success, for example by grouping pupils effectively, reframing questions to provide greater scaffolding, or providing additional pre-teaching.


The AILE project seeks to provide a technological tool that can be customised to each pupil's needs. The tool is built on the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Implementing this tool helps teachers to create a curriculum that is tailored to the requirements of pupils, from a single platform.



Active learning


The key principle here is that teaching methods are student-centred, truly engaging pupils in the learning process and encouraging them to achieve their potential during lessons. The role of a teacher is to create opportunities for the pupils to achieve their potential in the classroom. Active learning can often be supported with innovatively designed learning spaces.


The Novigado project supported schools and teachers in the transition from the traditional classroom to flexible learning spaces through student-centred active learning and teaching methods. It developed a training programme that helps schools apply the principles of active learning, providing guidelines for flexible learning environments and a learning scenario tool.


In addition, the 2Smile project offers a student-centred learning perspective suggesting a different approach to the learning process and explaining each actor's function within it. This new perspective takes into consideration a whole-school strategy, in which all parties are involved in the educational process with a holistic style of thinking and pupils are at the centre of the learning process.



Blended learning


In formal education and training, the term ‘blended learning’ refers to schools, teachers, or students using more than one method of teaching or learning. It may combine multiple digital and analogue learning tools, as well as physical venues like outdoor locations, historical or cultural sites, businesses, and more.


The SMART-MT project succeeded in decreasing pupils’ under-achievement in maths by providing them with attractive digital learning tools. The project took a blended learning approach, using the reversed/flipped training methods, micro learning, gamification and Open Educational Resources.


The FERTILE project supports modern teaching methods that value cross-disciplinary learning by fusing artistic expression with educational robotics to develop computational thinking in a blended learning environment.




Additional information

  • Education type:
    Early Childhood Education and Care
    School Education
  • Evidence:
  • Funding source:
    Erasmus+ programme
  • Intervention level:
  • Intervention intensity:
  • Participating countries:
  • Target audience:
    Head Teacher / Principal
    Student Teacher
    Teacher Educator
  • Target audience ISCED:
    Early childhood education (ISCED 0)
    Primary education (ISCED 1)
    Lower secondary education (ISCED 2)


Blended Learning
Learning space
Non-formal learning

School subjects

Informatics / ICT

Vocational subjects


Key competences

Technology and engineering