The Professional School’s Learning Model

Academic continuous education for persons remaining in employment at the Professional School of Leuphana University of Lüneburg qualifies would-be and experienced experts and managers with various biographies for the current and future challenges of professional life. The study promotes the development of a culture of the discovering spirit, of the courage to embrace novelty and questioning old beliefs. While learning, one develops the capacity to responsibly and sustainably shape one’s own life and to overcome societal tasks and challenges.

Life-Long Learning

Within the framework of the studies, next to expert knowledge, what is important is the development of personality, the capacity for critical reflection and the readiness to take responsibility for oneself.

The higher-education didactic self-perception of the Professional School centers around a teaching concept, which rests on the principles of good teaching described in what follows, thereby reaching beyond the mere exchange of expertise.

Imparting skills: Practical & action oriented

In its method, the Leuphana training model relies on a practical and action-oriented acquisition of technical and transferable skills for coping with future situations. At Leuphana Professional School, this is done according to special standards and in the following manner:

  • Learning dimensions: The ERAS Model
  • Discovering theories as maps for practice
  • Applying the findings of observation and reflecting on experiences
  • Learning as interaction
  • Practice experience: source of reflection and thematic impetus
  • Learners take responsibility
  • Our teaching staff accompany the learning process on a par with the students
  • Learning location and learning time know no borders

Learning dimensions: The ERAS Model

Learning at the Professional School is understood as a process, whose dimensions are illustrated by the ERAS-Model:

  • Discovering, reflecting, applying and social interacting all stand in a reciprocal relationship.

The learners acquire new knowledge (theories, concepts and methods) during taught components. With their respective heterogeneous past experiences, they all reflect from different perspectives on this new knowledge, they apply it to solution their assignments and case studies, make simulation plays or they implement what they learned directly in their professional practice.

Because learning is not only an individual, but actually, also a social process, various forms of social learning are promoted. Thanks to team projects, role plays and discussions, various ideas and experiences are reflected in groups, thus enabling you to realize the value that your individual experiences have for you and to further develop your competences.

In order to further this process, the type of work changes between whole learning groups, as well as small groups and individual work.

Discovering theories as maps for practice

Through the widely employed case studies used at Leuphana Professional School, experienced practitioners can observe their experiences in other contexts and categorise them better. The scientific theories and concepts imparted by our teaching staff bring complex realities to light. It is about discovering theories, which learners can apply as maps and which can help them analyse, structure, and treat this complexity. By doing so, they learn to understand unknown situations better, and to competently and responsibly deal with unknown situations. The theories and concepts imparted by the teaching staff can be applied sensibly in practice and also support the students in reflecting their own professional practice.

"Managers live in the territory while the faculty provide the maps."
Henry Mintzberg

Applying the findings of observation and reflecting on experiences

A decisive factor in the learning process is the constant reflection on concepts, theories and methods, as well as their application in view of the students’ heterogeneous practical experiences, different biographies, ages and academic levels.

Then, reflection takes place from an array of extremely varied perspectives. By this, students learn to always look beyond their own horizons and “wear different glasses”, thereby confronting ancient prejudices with new opinions and putting them into question.

In this, learning is a constant discovery process leading to new findings, their reflection from various points of view, application of newly acquired knowledge and renewed reflection on the experiences acquired through their applications. Doing so, the students develop real competences in dealing with their knowledge and experiences and can take on more responsibility for their learning processes in their studies and beyond.

Learning as interaction

Learning and teaching at Leuphana Professional School constitute social processes within a group, in which emotions also play an important role.

It is through the conscious interaction and communication of learners among themselves and on par with the lecturer, that curiosity and love of learning arises. Learners are purposely confused to force learning and reflection processes over and over again, so that they experience the restrictions deliberately strewn by the teaching staff or ideas expressed by fellow students. This forces them to question common beliefs.

The others’ opinions or "stories" are a very decisive factor in the skills development of students who already possess professional experience. This enables them to evaluate their own experiences and get to know alternatives in new or familiar situations.

In order to strengthen the exchange of professional experience with practice, the majority of teaching staff bring in their own management experience or practical knowledge. They are employed in areas relevant to the programs of the Professional School. Practitioners are also invited to speak in Courses.
There is also ample opportunity to practice with experts to discuss course content, theory and application outside Courses.

Practice experience: source of reflection and thematic impetus

Teaching staff at Leuphana Professional School have the task to insure they explain the link between academic theories and the world of work of their students and flexibly enter into their students’ thematic suggestions.

The experiences, which the learners have gathered in their professional practice and continue to gather parallel to study, are a particular feature of our group of participants.

Not only the wealth of experience, but also current professional practice in parallel to the study are recognized by the Professional School as a valuable resource for the learning process and taken into account in the design of teaching / learning scenarios. Therefore, learning consciously includes the place of work. There, the newly acquired knowledge affects the behavior of learners, who in turn, gather new experiences through it.

Learners take responsibility

Becoming conscious of one's own experience from the outset leads learners to taking more responsibility for their own learning and communicating about their individual learning needs. They use the constructive feedback of teachers as an impulse for their personal development. Through specific questions and suggestions, they bring in their professional experience and issues relevant to them, thus actively planning and organizing their learning process.

For example Learners frequently choose presentation topics, projects or term papers related to their own professional practice and the completion of work provides the opportunity to comprehensively tackle a practice-oriented problem – for instance, from within the company from an academic point of view.

Our teaching staff accompany the learning process on a par with the students

Leuphana Professional School focuses on learning together, not on a teacher-student relationship. The development of the learner is of paramount importance to us. Teaching staff and students work at the same level, shaping the learning process together.

Our teaching staff is composed of inspiring experts. They stimulate and bring themes into motion; they impart knowledge in the form of theories and concepts. They mediate the targeted exchange of experience among students.

They prepare the paths and make sure that the students become aware of various perspectives, that they exchange their experience from professional practice between themselves and learn from this within the group. They listen and respond flexibly to the needs of learners. They surrender a part of responsibility for the content to the students.

They act as coaches and accompany the learners and offer assistance and regular feedback on their performance within the learning process. This feedback is concrete, detailed and constructive. It shows where, and in what shape, the potential for improvement exists.

Teaching staff mark the students’ examination work and select examination methods in such a way that they support the relationship to the professional practice of the learner and support the learning process, instead of merely asking questions on taught knowledge.

Learning location and learning time know no borders

Through the use of flexible taught-components, concepts and modern learning techniques for communication and collaboration, Leuphana Professional School promotes the dissolutions of borders surrounding learning processes, thus concretely supporting CPD and lifelong learning.

Attendance days and virtual-learning phases are complementary in the Professional School’s study programs. Course material is available to learners on our learning platform independently of time and place.

E-learning elements are used in many study programs and especially embraced by the Professional School.

Tell me and I'll forget.
Show me and I'll remember.
Involve me and I'll understand.

Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551 BC - 479 BC