An introduction to thematic learning

Thematic learning and project-based learning

In the classical teaching methodology, rote learning was highly valued. In the past it was understandable to take all these data with you since the Internet did not exist like the one we have now and many times, the source of the knowledge was in an encyclopedia in the furniture of our houses. Companies today, value what a person can do, not memorize. Therefore teaching has to be more practical, research-oriented and the student should apply the knowledge acquired in real projects or activities of daily life.

Research and experimentation must be part of the learning process as well as cooperative work, expressing your ideas or points of view in public, defending or arguing them, analyzing and treating information, etc.

For the teachers that are working on the DEMETER project, thematic learning is project-based learning and these projects have a known theme and a specific purpose. We should not create a project to store them in a drawer, but these may be a piece of another more ambitious project.

With thematic learning we will not only be working on project-based learning, but the outputs generated in each activity or mini-project make sense in a more global vision (the theme). Many subjects benefit from synergies and the students are aware about the objective they want to achieve. This approach transform passive students to active students who reflect and who pose answers to the problems that arise during the development of the project.


Effective learning.

In this world is valued what you can do, therefore, rote learning loses importance. With the generalization of the Internet on any device, rote memory loses part of its value since any professional has the Internet in their work. 

What we professors working on this project aim to promote is “applied knowledge”. Teach students how to obtain the information they need, which is critical to filter and value information, how to transform that information and how to apply it to solve a problem in everyday life or the real world.

Integration of key competences in the curriculum

In our DEMETER project we have always wanted to integrate those competences that make the student understand and improve their skills and abilities.

With this kind of projects it is easier for the student to assimilate new concepts and educational growth. Below are the competences that we have integrated into the DEMETER project:

  • Communicative competence. Communication between students not only in their mother tongue but in a foreign language such as English is basic. In DEMETER, groups of students of different nationalities have been created to work together on parts of the project. In addition, all communication has always been preceded by a group presentation.
  • Mathematical, science and technology competence. This DEMETER project is basically a technical project. In it, the use and development of scientific methodology and knowledge is necessary.
  • Digital competence. DEMETER students use new technologies as the basis for communication, learning, analysis, production of results, etc.
  • Learn to learn. Working through projects based on thematic learning allows students to improve their organization and collaborative skills.
  • Social and civic competences. In the DEMETER project, many ethical dilemmas have been debated and through many activities the student will understand and rethink concepts such as justice, human rights, solidarity, etc.
  • Initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. The student has to be responsible for their own learning and has to make decisions regarding problem solving. The student will have to manage and plan in order to solve the problems that the DEMETER project is posing.
  • Cultural awareness and expression. Art is one of the fundamental pillars of the DEMETER project. The members of the project have included this discipline because we consider it basic in the student training.
The Demeter Project