Sora Schools

Trends in Education • 2024

Trend 05

Shattering Silos

The Rise of Cross-
Disciplinary and
Project- Based Learning

In many traditional schools, student engagement is at an all-time low and parent dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. Students feel disconnected from the purpose behind what they are being asked to do in school, and parents are seeking a more personalized connected experience for their children. Schools are seeking opportunities to deepen the application and meaning of learning. As more and more information is available at our fingertips at all times, and AI allows for increasingly sophisticated searches for facts and even arguments, schools are being called to develop new ways of teaching and learning, and often to reimagine the meaning of “class” itself.

A response to the increasing disconnect between traditional education models and the needs of today’s students and families, and accelerated by recent advances in AI, this trend marks a departure from traditional, siloed learning methods, embracing a holistic and integrative approach to education. The focus is shifting toward curricula that blends various subjects, intertwining areas like science, technology, humanities, and arts, to provide a more cohesive and real-world learning experience.

A significant trend in 2024 in the educational sector is the evolution of curriculum design, characterized by a surge in interdisciplinary, phenomena-based learning approaches. Phenomena-based learning in science and engineering uses real-world phenomena or complex problems as the basis for teaching to enhance students’ engagement and foster critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

The student can safely test forms of interaction and action, and is not left alone in moments of uncertainty or failure, because the teacher is there all the time to accompany and safeguard the growth process.

Sirkku Lähdesmäki, University Lecturer, University of Eastern Finland

The rise of phenomena-based learning is driven by a growing understanding that the complex challenges of the modern world require an educational approach that mirrors the interconnectedness of different knowledge domains. Let's face it, memorizing facts from a textbook isn't exactly thrilling or relevant. Phenomena-based learning, built around captivating questions like "How does climate change affect food production?" or "Can music heal the mind?" grab students' attention and makes learning an exciting journey of discovery. Students are encouraged to undertake comprehensive projects that require them to draw upon and integrate multiple disciplines. This method not only makes learning more engaging and relevant but also prepares students to think and work in ways that reflect the realities of the professional world.

A staggering 96% of families are looking for innovative and project-based learning experiences for their children. Families responded very favorably to an example project that blends science, music, and history to tell the story of climate change. 


Very Important



Source: Sora Schools Survey, 2024

Perhaps even more exciting than career preparation is the promise that this educational approach holds in building a brighter future for our society and planet. There can be no doubt that our world faces complex and deeply impactful challenges that the generation currently in school will need to tackle. The solutions to these problems have not yet been invented, but the ways of thinking and habits of creativity and exploration taught in interdisciplinary and phenomena-based programs like Sora will enable students to create real-world solutions to the great problems of our age. This starts by learning the design-thinking process and connecting their education to real-world problems from the very beginning.  

As we move forward, this trend toward cross-disciplinary and phenomena-based learning is likely to gain momentum, driven by technological advancements and a deeper understanding of effective teaching and learning strategies. This shift holds the promise of transforming the educational landscape, making it more adaptable, integrated, and aligned with the evolving needs of students and the broader societal context.

It paves the way for an educational future where learning is not just about acquiring knowledge in isolated subjects but about developing a comprehensive, interconnected understanding of the world. Based on these experiences, a person then mirrors information and constructs their own perception of the world.

91% of families want their school to teach 21st century skills like problem solving, design thinking, story telling, and entrepreneurship as part of their curriculum.


Very important




Not important

Uncharted Waters

The rise of cross-disciplinary and phenomena-based learning presents both challenges and exciting opportunities. It's not just about teaching subjects, it's about empowering students to be curious explorers, capable problem-solvers, and citizens of a complex, interconnected world. 

Learning is a journey that involves experiencing, experimenting, and discovering. Collaborative exploration, the student's needs, and personal goals will resonate with the objectives of learning.

This trend will certainly see challenges as educators and curriculum designers will need knowledge and skills to facilitate and craft phenomenon-based learning experiences that blend various disciplines, requiring careful planning and collaboration.

Traditional education no longer adequately prepares students for the rapidly-changing world, necessitating a shift toward a more integrated and holistic approach that emphasizes cross-disciplinary and project-based learning. This approach, known as ‘Shattering Silos,’ breaks down traditional academic boundaries and encourages students to tackle real-world problems through hands-on projects, enhancing critical thinking, collaboration, and preparation for modern workforce challenges.

Elizabeth Davis, Director of School Operations, Sora Schools

Our view at Sora

Our team of curriculum designers and educators is committed to developing innovative and engaging educational experiences for our students. The team is focused on identifying diverse pedagogical strategies and collaborating with global educators and innovators to craft project-based learning expeditions. With over 400+ synchronized expeditions and asynchronous activities, we offer our students unique learning journeys. These carefully-designed experiences not only help students achieve their academic goals but also ignite their curiosity and interest along the way.

At Sora, we view our obligation as not simply to prepare students to be successful as individuals, but also to build a better future for our society and the whole globe. This can only be achieved by helping them to engage as curious, creative, and respectful citizens of a democracy. Our students grapple with complex problems, share opinions, and most importantly, iterate solutions from their first day at Sora. We believe these are the very skills they will need not only as they move on from Sora, but also as they engage with their families, towns and cities, and the world as a whole.