Towards New Learning Networks

Tim Rudd, Dan Sutch, Keri Facer

01 January 2006

What should the educational landscape of the future look like? What types of institutions, spaces and places for learning should we see develop? Where, and with whom, should learning happen? Our argument in this paper is that, if we are interested in achieving a fully personalised education system designed around the needs, interests and aspirations of each learner, then we need to challenge a number of fundamental assumptions which have historically underpinned the organisation of education:

  • First, we need to challenge the assumption that expertise and knowledge reside only within the walls of the educational institution, and to ask instead, what might be gained from tapping into the resources that exist in the wider community and within the networks that people are already connected to?
  • Second, we need to challenge the assumption that ‘learning’ and ‘schooling’ are different words for the same thing, and to ask instead what different approaches to and models of learning are also in evidence today in people’s work and leisure lives?
  • Third, we need to challenge the assumption that the most ‘equitable’ education systems are those which offer a one-size-fits-all approach, and instead examine how the recognition of learners’ diverse voices and experiences can enhance inclusion, aspiration and achievement through the creation of personalised educational trajectories.
  • Finally, as digital resources increasingly offer opportunities for networked, collaborative and distributed learning and interaction, we need to challenge the assumption that the easiest and most costeffective approach to organising learning is within the walls of the school.