How to Implement Authentic Learning in Your Classroom


Authentic learning is an instructional strategy that enables learners to explore, discuss, and construct concepts and ideas in a context that involves “real-world” problems and challenges that are applicable to the learner.


  • By learning a task within its real-world implications, a learner will understand its value for them outside the classroom.
  • Engagement: Learners may be more engaged in a task if they understand its practical application rather than just its hypothetical goal.
  • Cognition and Memory: Learners may find it easier to remember information if they can reflect on an instance in which they may apply the knowledge or skill to a real-life task.


  • Authentic learning tasks are often too challenging to perform in a traditional classroom.
  • Authentic classroom settings may or may not be “authentic.” A mock clothing store experience for practicing customer service or counting money, for instance, lacks the distractions of a real-life store situation.

Implementation Example

  1. An ESL instructor provides learners with a set of conversational tasks to complete during a day’s field trip to the city.
  2. Learners complete the tasks in the real world by walking around the city asking for directions, buying lunch, etc.
  3. The class comes together at the end of the learning activity to discuss and reflect on their experiences of applying their knowledge and skills in the real world.
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