The knowledge-based society with its rapid technological developments
and information explosion impels changes in the purpose and nature
of education, particularly higher education. The old pedagogical
framework of de-contextualised instructionism and fixed curriculum
is clearly inappropriate. With information having increasingly short
shelf life, education must empower learners to learn for themselves,
and to continue to do so continuously. Our graduates must be learning-enabled
The most socially useful learning in the modern world
is the learning of the process of learning; a continuing openness
to experience and incorporation into oneself of the process
—Carl Rogers, Freedom to Learn
More important than learning a finite body of knowledge is learning
how to learn so that continued, self-directed knowledge acquisition
and construction can be negotiated. Traditional pedagogies that
are prescriptive and enforce passive reception do not develop such
autonomy. Education must be recognised as not an end but a means,
and should focus on process rather than product.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those
who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn,
The traditional, inflexible ‘life phase approach’ with
its compartmentalising of learning and working life will no longer
serve. Education must move to a recurrent, with learning freed from
being a formal and time-tied activity to become an on-going process
that will refresh knowledge and ensure lifelong viability.
The Learning Paradigm
The shift from teaching/teacher-centredness to learner/learning-centredness
involves major changes in our assumptions about and approach to
the teaching/learning transaction.
Even from this summary it is evident that the differences are very
real and as educators we need to think of their many and profound
implications for why, what and how we teach.
Barr, Robert & Tagg, John. (Nov/Dec 1995). ‘From
Teaching to Learning’, Change, 13–25.
Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered:
Priorities for the Professoriate (a special report
of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). Princeton,
NJ: University Press.
Rogers, Carl. (1969). Freedom to Learn.
Columbus, Ohio: Merrill.