Towards a learning planet: 3 questions for François Taddei

Written on 26 Jun 19 by Learning Portal Team
Philosophy of education


A Polytechnique graduate, François Taddei is also a Chief Engineer of Bridges, Water and Forests, as well as Director of Research at the National Institue of Health and Medical Research (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, INSERM). With an interest in interdisciplinarity, in 2005 he co-founded the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) with Ariel Lindner, a fellow Director of Research at INSERM. The Centre, which is part of the Université Paris 5, pilots and implements new learning, teaching and research methods via decompartmentalized courses. The objective is to demonstrate that lifelong learning through play is essential for human societies. 

Pedagogical innovation and transforming learning methods are at the heart of François Taddei’s approach. He has been honoured for his work in basic science, and was also appointed a UNESCO Research Chair for Learning Science in 2014. He has written several publications on education and learning, such as Apprendre au XXIe siècle (Calmann-Levy, 2018), and Un plan pour co-construire une société apprenante (French Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, 2018). 

We spoke with him about the launch of his new MOOC entitled “Towards a learning planet”.

francois taddei

You’re asking the world to co-build a learning society, but aren’t all societies already learning societies?

Human, and even animal societies, are partly learning societies. For example, ants share information about food sources, and people have sat around fires talking about what they learned during the day since time immemorial. However, at a time when even machines are learning, we must further develop the learning capacities of all individuals and groups by developing individual and collective reflexivity, as well as systematizing research on the best ways to learn and on learning to learn.

How can countries facing the greatest challenges in terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] embody this learning society?

All societies need to address the SDGs. An important dimension of any learning society is being able to learn from others. At the international level, we need to create free, open platforms where we can share the best ways of learning, innovating and meeting the challenges of achieving the SDGs. Societies, territories and communities can work together at the local level, while also collaborating with others facing similar challenges, by pooling innovative approaches to meet the challenges of the SDGs through the public goods.

How can UNESCO and other international institutions that influence learning policies intervene at their level through collective intelligence?

UNESCO, whose mission is to contribute to peace and sustainable development by promoting education, science and culture, and the CRI, (which I manage) that seeks to reinvent ways of learning, teaching and research, and mobilizing collective intelligence to meet today’s challenges, have decided to create an alliance on the future of learning. For all those who are interested, regardless of where they live on the planet, we want to share the best ways to learn to respond to the challenges of the SDGs, and conduct participatory research in these areas. One way to do this is to get involved in the Learning Planet Festival held on 24 January, International Day of Education, where individuals and groups are invited to recall what they have learned about better caring for themselves, others and the planet. Everyone will also be able to think about what they want to learn in the future and be put in contact with those who have learned similar things in the past to facilitate peer-to-peer learning. We also want to create sustainable development Olympiads to mobilise the media, public opinion and funders, as well as honouring innovators, young people, educators, scientists, sportsmen/women and artists committed to saving the planet.

Towards a learning planet MOOC

The aim of the ‘Towards a learning planet’ MOOC, an individual and collective action and acculturation training journey, is to help you discover, analyze and discuss learning initiatives: yours and those happening around you. This MOOC also aims to help you co-build and consolidate your collective learning at different levels.

From 20 June to 16 August 2019. Registrations deadline: 31 July 2019. Audience: open to all (no prior conditions). Free.

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