Putting the Learning Philosophy into practice

The Learning Philosophy is the DNA of Activate Learning, creating a strong organisational culture.

The Learner's Cycle

We aim to provide continuous support throughout our learner's journey at Activate Learning. Using the Learning Philosophy, our students feel safe and supported in our learning environment. 

Activate Learning supports its students in numerous ways, following our learner cycle and using the Learning Philosophy.


Through wellbeing lessons and college services, students have differentiated opportunities to learn about taking care of their wellbeing in several contexts, including: occupational, emotional, intellectual, social, financial, spiritual, environmental and physical wellness. Understanding that work can be stressful and being able to manage moods and emotions is an important part of being employable.

Some of our students may display challenging and disruptive behaviour caused by adverse childhood experiences. Post pandemic, many individuals will have experienced different levels of trauma. When individuals have an experience that triggers a memory and emotion, the brain can react making them feel angry or fearful. By using the principles of trauma-informed practice, we can empower our students to overcome these challenges, through building trusting relationships, creating safe learning environments and offering choices about what and where they can learn.

Most of our full-time students have a Progress Coach, who they work with to review their progress and performance, every term during progress review weeks. Our Progress Coaches use the GROW model of coaching: Goal, Reality, Options and Will. During one-to-one Progress, Review meetings, they jointly review a learner's progress, based on their targets. Their performance is assessed as: Exceeding Potential, Meeting Potential, Developing Potential and Limiting Potential. Coaching conversations are designed to not only support those who require additional help, but also to stretch and challenge individual students to achieve the highest grades possible for their qualification

To build confidence and self-belief, it is important for our students to experience small successes early on in their programme. Teachers and students work in partnership, checking their learning and understanding with different types of formative assessment, including quizzes, activities to demonstrate practical skills, modelling answers short exam questions, students are more likely to develop higher levels of motivation and resilience. Further into their studies, as assessment becomes more challenging, students will develop higher levels of resilience. Students are encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, fail and learn from those experiences. Increasingly, students see failure as a stepping stone to success.

We plan ways in which teachers and students can evaluate their progress which are authentic, reflect real-world scenarios and accessible to all students irrespective of learning needs. It provides a balance of automated and teacher marking and feedback, with ongoing opportunities for students to improve through effort and practice. JISC research shows we are 70% more likely to remember a skill if we have learnt it using virtual reality technology.

We encourage two-way feedback between staff and students, students and their peers, based on design thinking. By offering feedback in this emotionally-safe way, the individual is more likely to receive and learn from it. It is provided with the intention of motivating and challenging the individual.

Our second-year and third-year students are experts in engaging in their own learning and development. They are best placed to become mentors of our first-year learners. Other examples include high-needs learner mentors helping to develop students doing supported internships.

Through neuroscience research, we know the impact of peer pressure and social influence is greatest on the behaviour of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. By training volunteer second-year students in mental health awareness, they are likely to have a greater impact on our younger students, than more mature teachers.

Our staff work together and with employers to co-design and in some cases co-deliver projects based on real-world challenges. This provides a powerful means of communicating to our students the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to be successful in their chosen career

Our learning company model immerses learners in simulated commercial environments as they train. These real-life working environments mirror those in industry to provide opportunities for learners to practice their vocational skills. These environments provide the space for students to fail safely, learn from mistakes and build confidence.

Mark Tempest - Putting it into practice

Mark Tempest, a bricklaying tutor with 18 months of experience at Activate Learning, underscores the importance of the learning philosophy for educators. He appreciates how it focuses on three vital elements that aid in preparing learners. Mark utilises this philosophy for effective planning, understanding his students' learning styles, emotions, and motivation. By tailoring his approach to individual students, he embraces the adaptability of the learning philosophy.

In terms of planning, he designs activities that stimulate learning, tailoring them to suit specific learners. For motivation, Mark employs activities that offer praise and quizzes, using small rewards to keep students engaged. He believes that Activate Learning's learning philosophy stands out by targeting each student's unique needs, whether they are pursuing apprenticeships, further studies, or higher education, ensuring a positive learning journey.

Giving and receiving feedback

We encourage two-way feedback between staff and students, students and their peers, based on design thinking. By offering feedback in this emotionally-safe way, the individual is more likely
to receive and learn from it. It is provided with the intention of motivating and challenging the individual.