From Effort to Agency in the Learning Landscape:

James Anderson
Engaging and thoughtful
Develop Learner Agency and explore the Learning Landscape!
Target Audience
Primary and Secondary teachers

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Learn how to develop Learner Agency using the powerful metaphor of the Learning Landscape.

In The Learning Landscape, James Anderson outlines a powerful metaphor for visualising learning. Mapping the abstract concept of learning onto a physical journey in the real world, the learning process is made tangible and accessible to learners.

Discover the importance of setting appropriate challenges using the four Challenge Pits. Prepare your learners to climb the highest peaks of expertise by filling their backpacks with Habits of Mind. Along the way, use the Mindset Continuum to help students develop a more growth oriented mindset.

The Learning Landscape gives teachers and learners a concrete practical way to talk about the learning process, and helps students become better learners!

Shift your focus away from conversations about “effort”. Focus instead on helping students develop learner agency!


Primary and Secondary teachers

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

COVID-19 Event Information

All TTA venues continue to work with advice provided by the NSW Health Department in managing the risks associated with the current COVID-19 situation. While the current risk is low, TTA venues will be taking steps to help provide a safe environment for our courses. There will be increased cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, and venues will be providing ample hand sanitiser pumps. While venues will be taking all the care that they can, we also stress the need for course participants to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. If you are not feeling well or showing symptoms of COVID-19, please don’t attend this event. Wash your hands regularly. Avoid shaking hands where possible. Practice cough etiquette, coughing into a tissue or your elbow and washing your hands afterwards. Thank you for your understanding.

Due to the escalation of COVID-19 the session running on April 3 will be an online workshop

Teaching Standards
1.2.2 Proficient Level – Understand how students learn
3.3.2 Proficient Level – Use teaching strategies
5.1.2 Proficient Level – Assess student learning

Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you

Completing this course will contribute 6 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 1.2.1, 3.3.2, 5.1.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

TTA (Teacher Training Australia) is endorsed to provide the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient and Lead Level Teacher.

This course contributes to 5.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of 1. Face to Face in Australia (NSW) at this time.


Introduction to the Learning Landscape

2 hours

This session lays the foundation of the workshop by introducing the metaphor of the Learning Landscape.

We explore how knowlege, understandings and difficulty are represented in the learning landscape.

We explore how learners perceive the learning landscape, unpacking a learners mindset.

Importantly we introduce 6 different types of learners and describe how Learner Agency can be interpreted as the learners ability to move through the Learning Landscape.

Participants will be explosed a blend of presentation, small group discussion and short collaborative activities during this session.

Challenge Pits

1 hour and 30 minutes

A central part of the Learning Landscape is the Challenge Pit. There are 4 different types of Challenge Pits: Learning Challenge, Downhill Challenge, Performance Challenge and Aspirational Challenges. How learners related to, and engage in different types of Challenge Pits is central to both developing expertise, and becoming better learners.

This session will engage participants in small group discussion, personal reflection and whole group presentation.

Developing Learner Agency

1 hour and 30 minutes

This session answers the question: How do we develop Learner Agency in students?

Participants will engage in the examination of different assessment mechanisms commonly used to assess “effort” in schools. They will then be introduced to a model to shift the conversation from effort to agency.

The role of parents, and how to engage them in the discussion of Learner Agency will be explored.

Opportunities to role-play classroom scenarios and discuss school-based approaches to including assessment and development of Learner Agency be provided.

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About the team

James Anderson


James Anderson is the director and principal consultant of Mindful by Design. An experienced and successful teacher, James began working with Art Costa’s Habits of Mind in his own classroom in 2000. James is a highly experienced and engaging presenter with experience at all levels of schooling from early learning through to tertiary.

Check out the Habits of Mind website