OTTER Lab Approach

OTTER Lab offers teachers a flexible approach with pedagogical underpinnings to build awell-thought educational EOC activity to suit different classes and curricula.


The OTTER Lab: 

  • is tied to the socio-constructivist view of learning and based on current research on learning.
  • is an easy approach to start with if you have no or little experience of EOC. Furthermore, it offers a structure for those teachers who already have experience in EOC and want to develop their EOC practices further.
  • does not include ready-made contents and methods on how to implement it. It is the teacher who decides the contents and methods within the OTTER Lab approach.
  • is easily connected to real-world issues of sustainability and can be harnessed to create deeper connections with the issues of today’s world - in any subject.
  • is adaptable to different countries and curricula. 
  • encourages teacher collaboration in planning and implementing the EOC practices.
  • offers the capacity to involve the students in designing OTTER Lab activities.

It is noted in several scientific studies that in order to gain a deep learning experience, EOC must involve meaningful pre and post learning. Pre-learning and post-learning are important parts of the OTTER Lab process as well. Pre-learning means orientation to the topic, mapping students’ pre-existing knowledge, and setting research questions for the EOC activity (Orientate step of the approach). Post-learning includes deepening the learned new topics, reflecting the whole learning process, analyzing what has been learned, and setting new learning goals for the future (Make an impact and Reflect steps of the approach). 


In the OTTER Lab process, it would be useful to create a path during which 1) the student is involved in self-assessment and reflects on what they have learned (for example using learning diary or other writing assignments), and 2) the students evaluate their work in groups and as a group, and give each other constructive peer feedback on joint work and achievements. Receiving encouraging feedback promotes the holistic development of the students. In addition, self-assessment and peer assessment skills are an important part of 21st century skills. By using these assessment methods during the OTTER Lab, individuals’ metacognitive and reflective skills, and their working skills are developed.


One of the novelties of OTTER Lab is the youth initiative, which aims to develop students' active participation and citizenship skills. The youth initiative is a student-led activity that enables students to participate, makes them active agents of their own learning and actions, and gives them the opportunity to influence their own environment and current environmental issues.

The youth initiative is a student-led activity that enables students to participate and gives them the opportunity to influence their own environment.

The youth initiative helps the students to incorporate the curricular objectives and use the competencies they have gained to solve an environmental or sustainability challenge. They will understand the reasons why the EOC activity has been carried out and realize that skills and information learned during the EOC activity are useful to face environmental problems. While students are carrying out the youth initiative, they train and practice skills and competencies to become active agents of change and to act as ambassadors that raise awareness among the people around them.

This "action" piece of the OTTER Lab seems to be the most impactful and novel part of the approach.
What is observed and learned through EOC is put into further practice and knowledge generation through an action (no matter how small).


Here you can see two videos of how the OTTER Lab approach has been implemented in Spain and Finland.


You will find several examples of OTTER Labs in the Best EOC practices section linked below. 


Best EOC practices