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Innovative teaching and learning – CNL

Creating new learning

What is the CNL initiative?

CNL is an ETF multi-annual, multi-thematic initiative that aims to encourage the development, implementation and dissemination of innovative teaching and learning practices in the EU's neighbouring countries, to develop more effective education and training systems.

CNL studies what innovations work well in what contexts, and designs tools applicable across various parts of the lifelong learning system – from formal education to adult training, reskilling and upskilling. The CNL team actively searches for innovative practices and provides educators with resources and peer learning opportunities that inspire them to innovate.

For CNL, the concept of ‘innovation’ means something that is new in a given context, with the aim of improving the teaching and learning process.

The context is essential. What is common practice in one country might be innovative in another. The ETF contextualises its work and interventions in line with the development stages of its partner countries.

We support innovation in teaching and learning across a number of thematic domains, namely:

infographic with CNL thematic domains

What are the key CNL activities?

Research on innovation in teaching and learning: The objective of CNL research is to discover what pedagogical innovations might work, and what they might change for the better, in ETF partner countries. The main research questions are:

  • Which specific characteristics of innovations in teaching and learning contribute to better learning experiences and outcomes, and are also useful in explaining the success of the innovation?
  • What factors facilitate or hinder the initiation, development, implementation, sustainability, and wider uptake of innovations in teaching and learning?

Tools and guidelines for educators: The CNL team systematically develops tools and creates new learning and development opportunities for educators – teachers, trainers, mentors, coaches, and all those who professionally support learners in their learning journey. Try CNL tools and resources designed to support teaching and learning innovations, such as the Teacher Booster series of videos, the Scaffold card game, the READY model.

Innovative practices: We support innovative partnerships among vocational education and adult learning providers, and collaboration among education and training professionals. We support the co-creation of innovations, the exchange of know-how relating to innovation, the design and sharing of innovative practices, approaches and tools collected from across the ETF’s partner regions, the EU and beyond. We link up with partner practitioner networks, projects and platforms, and invite practitioners to share their success in innovation with peers.

Community of Innovative Educators 

Who can benefit from the CNL initiative?

Professionals working in education and training, both in formal and non-formal learning: teachers, adult trainers, school managers and all those actively engaged in the design and organisation of learning. We work to connect grassroot initiatives with policymakers and other system-level actors to create a policy-practice nexus. 

How can I get involved?

You can contribute to the CNL initiative by joining its online community on ETF Open Space. Through the community you will be able to share your innovative practices, be inspired by other practitioners’ ways of teaching, and collaborate with peers who are facing the same challenges in terms of teaching innovation. Through the community, you can also propose activities (both in your local context and internationally) that the community could undertake, and share findings, research results and impactful initiatives.


CNL identifier


To cooperate with us, please contact the ETF's Creating New Learning team: