Publish at October 12 2021 Updated October 20 2021

What Do Invisible Architectures in Education Imply and What Do They Entail?

What Is Missing Is Sometimes as Important as What Is There

spider web, two fuchsia flowers,

What Are Invisible Architectures?

In the field of education, invisible architectures can regulate entry or access to training and studies, scholarships, or competitions in our favor or against us, whether we want or not.

Invisible architectures have diverse origins, which are based on an initial reason, a need, a constraint, a more or less understandable and logical a priori fear that gradually created a funnel effect: from then on, access that was supposed to be open to everyone beforehand is no longer so, it is filled with obstacles of all kinds discouraging those who coveted a choice of studies in a specific institution that will no longer be within their reach. And most surprisingly, this funnel effect has even been able to create itself in spite of the institution, such as; some inappropriate requested requirements, failing to adapt to the changing life demands of students and instructors.

Understanding and knowing how to decode these invisible architectures in education can be compared to seeing, finding, and understanding the organization of spider webs in the most unlikely places.  Despite the fact that these invisible architectures do imply a significant constraint, by refining our knowledge and equipping ourselves with new strategies. However, these constraints can be surmounted. 

To do this, strategies such as Myles' SOLVE (2004) cited by Africa Center shows where to fix our attention to better decode these invisible architectures:

SOLVE Strategy

  • Search: Seek to understand all aspects.
  • Observe what people do and what they DON'T do.
  • Listen: Listen to what people say and what they DON'T say.
  • Vocalize: Ask questions, check for understanding.
  • Educate: Teaching and acquiring knowledge.

What Does Invisible Architecture Entail in Education?

The effect of education on the development of an individual and the life of a collective is more powerful than we think. In the book "La France Invisible", there are many examples that show the great difficulties faced by those who are confronted with invisible architectures in all fields.

With regard to the educational sector, Laurent Ott presents and describes the situation and the consequences involved in the solitude of children from working-class neighborhoods who feel enclosed doubly within and outside of schools.

Claire Bernot-Caboche in her study on IRES states:

"Too many young people between the ages of 15 and 29 encounter many obstacles to their integration into adult life. A description of this generation and a focus on disenfranchised young people allow us to affirm, in a general way, that they are confronted with a deficit of confidence, experience difficulty finding their place in society, and that a non-negligible part of them has entered invisibility (neither in education, nor in training, nor in employment, nor in support). "

The existence of invisible architectures that go from the organization of an educational center to all their relationships and interactions as to the curriculum used imply avoidances, dropouts, slackness, and failures that can go beyond the framework of educational institutions and relationships since the constraints suffered do not remain on paper. The students live them intensely, making the continuation, resumption, and success of studies and the professional future of these students really complicated.

Vincent Houba, who has a site devoted to them and speaks in training sessions to better understand them, talks about them saying that the effects of these invisible architectures are particularly energy-intensive underground life that generates a number of psycho-social disorders (loss of meaning, demotivation, relational problems, stress, harassment, burn-out, absenteeism, suicides,...) and that negatively affects the very performance of the organization in question. He suggests the following ways to deal with it, or to equip oneself and see beyond appearances:

    1. Returning to the hidden root of the organization's problem: identifying in the system (family, personal, professional...) the conscious or unconscious spaces or situations where the flow of life is blocked or impeded.

    2. Decoding the components of the problem rather than focusing on it: in "what is wrong", what is preventing its "betterment"?
    3. Stop bringing solutions to organizational problems from the outside (through external advice that will help improve a situation piecemeal but not sustainably) and instead offer access to internal individual and collective resources by offering the "experience" of transmutation.

Thus, it is really a question of open-mindedness, values, and outlook for the well-being of our students and our educational centers that makes sense already in the present moment and even more so in the long term.

Many answers can reveal themselves when we facilitate and have a real listening to the school experience of each one.

Image of Tanteloe on Pixabay


Africa Center for Strategic Studies. URL:

BEAUD, S., CONFAVREUX, J., LINDGAARD, J. La France invisible. Éditions La Découverte.

BERNOT-CABOCHE, C. Les jeunes "invisibles" : Ni en education, Ni en formation, Ni en emploi et Ni en accompagnement en France et en Europe. IRES. URL:

HOUBA, V. Les architectures invisibles. URL:

HOUBA, V. Education: Is there an ideal method? FemininBio. URL:

PASSEGGI, M., LANI-BAYLE, M. - Raconter l'école: À l'écoute de vécus scolaires en Europe et au Brésil. Éditions L'Harmattan.

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