The Re-imagine Learning Challenge

The Re-imagine Learning Challenge


Tune in to our series of live-streamed, roundtable discussions led by educator-innovators from around the globe!
HANGOUT #2 on March 11 at 11 a.m. EST: What Makes Playful Learning Work? .

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Did you know that to date, over 2,000 innovation reviews have been exchanged on ideas from 63 countries?

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As part of a three-year partnership with Ashoka, the LEGO Foundation has pledged more than $200,000 to challenge prizes alone.
Connect with us on Facebook and at @LEGOfoundation #play2learn on Twitter for the latest news about the challenge. For any other questions, email
Join a global network that's challenging the conventions of learning.
See Winners
There are 632 entries

Challenge Launch

Early Entry Deadline

Entry Deadline

Announcement of Pacesetters & Peer Review

Secondary Entry Opens

Secondary Entry Closes

Pioneers Announced

Champions Announced

About the Challenge

In the face of critical and complex challenges, we believe that children and young people need to better develop creativity, imaginative problem-solving, teamwork, empathy, and inspiration so they can step into leadership roles in pursuit of purpose.
Play is one of the brain’s favorite ways of learning. It allows us to practice, experiment and test how we might tackle similar challenges in the real world as we develop creative and critical skills along the way. There is also a playfulness in invention and innovation, two things we need more of in a world where solutions must outpace problems. Science proves that. Why not encourage more playful, enthusiastic learning everywhere we can?
The LEGO Foundation and Ashoka are teaming up in an effort to transform the way the world learns and you’re the most important player.
Up for the challenge?
Here’s the big incentive: everyone is a winner. As you share your ideas to help us map the landscape of innovation in education, we’ll give you personalized feedback and support to help bring your vision for change – what you’re most passionate about – to life. We’ll also welcome you into a global network of like-minded parents, educators, administrators, and social entrepreneurs—both online and on the ground—who are challenging the conventions of learning because changemaking can’t wait for future generations.
That’s not all: In November, 2014, 10 star Players will be named Champions of learning through play and will receive cash prizes totalling $200,000, as well as technical assistance and in-kind support.
This challenge has been designed to allow everyone to contribute, connect and benefit. If you're designing environments where kids and adults learn through play, whether at home, in a classroom or on a playground, we want to hear about it. So share your ideas and energy wherever you are: submit a proposal, comment in an online conversation on Twitter and Facebook, or attend one of the face-to-face meetups that we’re hosting around the world.


  • This challenge is open to all individuals, organizations, and partnerships from around the world who are using play or playful approaches to enrich learning.
  • All Players should be interested in joining a global network of change agents dedicated to re-imagine learning.
  • Players should have a specific and thoughtful idea for re-imagining learning.
  • Ideas must focus on transforming learning for children and young people using play, playful learning approaches, hands-on and minds-on strategies, or other innovative approaches.
  • Entries may be specific and well-planned: new ideas, or established strategies with proven impact.
  • Entries must be submitted in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French. 

Benefits and Prizes for Participants

All Players will receive: 
  • A structured opportunity and audience to articulate their project or idea
  • Three pieces of native language feedback on their project description from Ashoka staff
  • Invitations to virtual Twitter chats and Google Hangout panel discussions
  • Invitations to face-to-face workshops and networking events with Ashoka teams in their region
  • Access to a network of bloggers covering the effort to re-imagine learning
  • Exposure to original LEGO Foundation research (previously private) and Ashoka’s Discovery Framework, which stems from data collected and analyzed during the competition process
  • Access to the project leaders behind the competition’s most compelling entries, along with a structured way to solicit top entrants’ feedback
  • The opportunity to suggest questions for the competition’s secondary entry process
  • Eligibility for other incentives, prizes and giveaways
2014 “Players to Watch”
Two Players who submit their project before May 21, 2014, will receive all of the above, plus: 
  • $500 cash prizes
  • private consultation sessions with LEGO Foundation and Ashoka Staff
  • exclusive opportunities to inform the construction of the competition’s supplementary entry form
  • feature stories on their work distributed through media channels like Forbes and Huffington Post
  • invitations to be  featured contributors to a Twitter chat and participate in a Google+ Hangout promoted and broadcast to the broader network of competition participants
  • early consideration for Ashoka’s Venture pipeline (the process by which Ashoka Fellows are elected).

Note: Entrants who submit their projects or ideas before May 21, 2014, are eligible to win one of two Early Entry Prizes. Being named a Player to Watch does not preclude an entrant from being named a Re-imagine Learning Challenge Champion. All entries will be evaluated based on the Changemakers criteria at the completion of the entry period.

About 40 percent of the total entry pool of Players will be named Pacesetters and will receive all of the above, plus:
  • The opportunity to network and receive feedback on their projects through structured peer exchange opportunities to cash-in on “offers” specified by peers in their initial entry form
  • Access to an exclusive semi-finalist Facebook group
  • Representation of their work and perspectives in the data collected and analyzed for a competition white paper
  • A structured opportunity to offer strategies for regional learning and education reform, and 
  • Additional feedback from Ashoka staff on their full entry form
25 to 30 selected Pacesetters will be named Pioneers and receive all of the above, plus:
  • Invitations to participate in syndicated Google+ Hangouts for competition finalists during the final evaluation period
  • Structured opportunities to motivate existing benefactors to contribute to their work
  • Access to a competition Finalist Facebook group
  • Personalized feedback from official competition judges
  • Opportunity for a structured interview with one or two competition judges during final review period
  • Consideration for Ashoka’s Venture pipeline (the process by which Ashoka Fellows are elected)
2014 LEGO Foundation Re-imagine Learning Challenge Champions
8-10 selected Pioneers will be named Re-imagine Learning Challenge Champions and receive all of the above, plus:
  • Cash prizes totalling $200,000
  • Opportunity to present their innovation at the 2015 LEGO Foundation IDEA Conference in Billund, Denmark, with the LEGO Foundation covering travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Featured representation in competition-related media coverage
  • Access to regional gatherings (where available) among practitioners in the play and learning space
  • A private meeting with a representative of the LEGO Foundation to share their idea and vision

Assessment Criteria

Champions of The Re-imagine Learning Challenge will be those that best meet the following criteria: 

  • Innovation: The best entries will be those that demonstrate a substantial difference from other initiatives in the field. Distinctiveness will be given a high ranking by the judges. Innovation does not necessarily involve inventing something entirely new. It may comprise new products or processes, as well as new applications or hybrid combinations of existing tools. Entries should describe how their solutions are driven by original, ground-breaking ideas.
  • Social Impact: Entries should describe how the innovation is able to produce universally desired learning outcomes through play. Entries should reflect an understanding of the systemic barriers within the innovation’s specific context, and should describe how the innovation impacts these barriers. The best solutions will have demonstrated impact, as well as the potential for scaling-up and replication. Entries should explain how the solution measures social impact through both quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Sustainability: Entries should have a clear plan for reaching long-term goals and securing financial backing—they should describe not only how they currently finance their work, but also how they plan to finance it in the future. They should also have a realistic time frame for implementation. The most successful entrants demonstrate that they have strong partnerships and support networks to address on-going needs, and to aid in scalability and the maintenance of a clear financial strategy. 

Deadlines and Procedures

Online competition submissions are accepted until 5 p.m. EST on June 25, 2014. At any time before this deadline, competition participants are both able and encouraged to revise their entries. There are a handful of key milestones in the challenge:

  • Challenge Launch / April 10, 2014: The challenge launches and innovators are invited to share their ideas on
  • Early Entry Deadline / May 21, 2014: Entries received by 5 p.m. EST are eligible for one of two Early Entry Prizes.
  • Announcement of the “Players to Watch” (Early Entry Prize recipients)
  • Entry Deadline / June 25, 2014: Entries, ideas or solutions submitted after 5 p.m. will not be accepted.
  • Announcement of Pacesetters & Peer Review / July 23, 2014
  • Secondary Entry Opens / August 20, 2014: Selected Pacesetters are invited to complete a secondary entry form.
  • Secondary Entry Closes / Sept. 17, 2014: Supplementary entry forms must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. EST.
  • Pioneers Announced / Oct. 15, 2014
  • Judging and Evaluation / Oct. 15 to Nov. 4, 2014
  • Champions Announced / Nov. 5, 2014


Challenge Judges



There’s a growing demand in the workplace, and at almost every level of our global society, for innovative solutions to serious challenges.


Philadelphia will host its first city-wide day of play in the spring of 2015—organized not by city government but by 200 “play experts.” They will include young people who will design games while rallying teachers, mobilizing parents, teaming up with after-school program leaders, and encouraging their friends to take part.


by Anne K. Glick, One Globe Kids founder

In 2030, my third grader will be 25 years old. With certainty, I can predict that he’ll be taller than me. But that’s about it.

8 Entrepreneurial Patterns for the Future of Learning

The following report, "Social Innovation Mapping: Entrepreneurial Patterns for the Future of Learning," is an invitation to join Ashoka and the LEGO foundation to help us further map the landscape of innovation. Share feedback on the report, enter the challenge, or submit a nomination to help us build a global network of parents, educators, researchers, administrators, and social entrepreneurs!


Re-imagine Learning Challenge Evaluation Pilot & Trusted Reviewers

For the Re-imagine Learning Challenge, Ashoka piloted a new approach to the first stage of entry evaluation.  The objectives of this approach were three-fold:

  1. Tap the experience and expertise of practicioners in the field to yield a more thoughtful and legitimate selection of Challenge Pacesetters,
  2. Increase connectivity and collaboration opportunities among people passionate about learning, and
  3. Create the chance for researchers and educators to survey the landscape of projects and analyze trends.

You can read much more about our specific methodology and results here, but at a high level we created a reviewer network of more than 300 people from partner organizations like Results for DevelopmentAshoka U's Changemaker Campus Network, and organizations entered in the Re-imagine Learning Challenge. 

A subset of about 70 people established a track record for giving high-quality entrant feedback; thoughtful, nuanced reviews; and consideration to the Social Innovation Mapping summarizing the LEGO-Ashoka perspective on “innovation”. We are calling them "Trusted Reviewers".   

If your project received feedback from any of the following people, we'd encourage you to reach out; it might be awhile before you encounter thought partners as eager to invest in your success and that of the broader movement. Our congratulations and gratitude go to all those on the list below.  


And we would like to thank our...


Thought Partners support the Reimagine Learning Challenge through technical support and strategic partnership. This may include providing feedback to entrants, participate in moderated discussions, mobilizing the broader Reimagine Learning Network and/or other strategic support. Thought Partners and their employees are not eligible to enter the challenge. To find out more about how to become a Thought Partner, please contact us.


Network Partners are community-based organizations that use their networks to spread the word about the Reimagine Learning Challenge. They share information about the Challenge through their constituents and contacts using a variety of means, including email, social media and/or contributing to the discussion. Network Partners do not have access to the evaluation or selection process and so are eligible to enter the Challenge. To become a Network Partner, please contact us.
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