Design of an authentic innovation project in Swedish upper secondary technology education

Joachim Svärd, Konrad Schönborn, Jonas Hallström


Recent studies on the Swedish work force show that about half of all jobs demand a high degree of self-governing. In preparing students for the future, the World Economic Forum suggests that schools should also teach social skills, creativity and critical thinking. According to the Swedish upper secondary curriculum, the subject of technology should allow students to develop entrepreneurial skills, defined as supporting curiosity, confidence, creativity and courage, resulting in the ability to act, in innovation and problem solving. This vision is related to the notion of authentic learning. Reeves, Herrington and Oliver define authenticity through nine key elements, namely, authentic context, authentic task, presence of expert performances, multiple perspectives, collaboration, reflection, articulation, metacognitive support and authentic assessment. The aim of this study is to map these key elements of authentic learning onto the development and design of a five-week innovation project for implementation in a Swedish upper secondary school context. The mapping process involved first synthesising literature in the area of authentic learning in conjunction with studying Swedish technology education curriculum materials. This was followed by describing the characteristics of each key element of authentic learning in terms of proposing activities for implementation as an innovation project (IP). The results of this study show how criteria of nine elements of authentic learning could be used in designing an innovation project (IP) module in an authentically cogent way. Thus the authenticity framework served as a valid theoretical tool to produce the authentic learning module.


authentic learning; Swedish upper secondary education; technology education; module; entrepreneurial skills; 21st century skills

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