Shifting the paradigm Learning and Reform on Sundry Waves | digitalLEARNING Magazine
August 2006

Shifting the paradigm Learning and Reform on Sundry Waves

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Unlimited, continuous improvement and successes are the aims of the learning community. Learning is a journey, and has intrinsic merit if moves on in the right direction, thus requiring frequent shifting in   many things. Developing the right paradigm is most important of all. A new triplization paradigm  of learning has  been proposed and  discussed largely in this  article where triplization refers to the process including globalisation, localisation and  individualisation.

In facing the challenges of globalisation and international competitions, there seem three waves of educational reforms in different parts of the world, representing paradigm shifts in redefining the nature and  effectiveness of learning, teaching and integration of Information and  Communication Technology in education.

Three waves of educational reforms integrating ICT
Assuming that education is knowledge delivery and learning is mainly a process of students receiving knowledge and skills from  their previous generation such as teachers and other senior people, the  first wave of educational reforms introduced since the 1980s focused on enhancing ‘internal effectiveness’  of educational institutions. The role of ICT and other technological  innovations in education aimed to   improve the internal performance of educational  institutions, particularly the methods and processes of  teaching and learning.
In the 1990s, as a response to the worldwide success of marketisation  and business management, the second wave of educational reforms  came up which was mainly concerned with interface effectiveness of  educational provision that was often determined in terms of stakeholders’  satisfaction and market
competitiveness. Implicitly or explicitly the role of integrating ICT in  education was to add values to the educational service, enhance the marketability of educational provision, and ensure the process of  learning, teaching, and schooling meeting stakeholders’ expectations.  In the second wave, the greater satisfaction of stakeholders with ICTrich  educational provision represents the greater effectiveness of  integration of ICT in education. In facing the tremendous impacts of  globalisation and knowledge economy at turn of the new century, people began to doubt if the initiatives of the first and second waves are sufficient for revitalising  schooling and pedagogy so as to ensure that the younger generation  can meet the challenges of rapid transformations in such a new era. In  particular, even though the first and second waves of educational reforms  emphasised the role of ICT in delivery of knowledge and satisfaction of  stakeholders, both failed to address some key concerns of sustainable development of individuals and the  society in the future, such as whether the application of ICT can contribute to learners’ sustainable developmentand effectiveness in future and  whether ICT can be used to facilitate paradigm shift in learning and  teaching in a fast changing context of globalisation.    third wave of educational reforms focuses on future effectiveness of education,  efined in terms of the  relevance to the future development of individuals  and the society as well as the relevance to the new paradigm  of education concerning  contextualised multiple intelligences (including  technological, economical, social, political, cultural and learning intelligences) and triplization (an integration of  globalisation, localisation and individualisation) in education  (Cheng, 2005 in New paradigm for re-engineering education:  Globalisation, localisation and  individualisation). Differently  from the first and second  waves, the nature of learning in the third wave is to develop contextualised multiple  intelligences (CMI) of  learners for multiple and  sustainable developments (including technological,  economic, social, political,  cultural and learning  developments) in both local and global contexts.  Paradigm Shift in Learning  According to the previous research, there is a paradigm shift in learning  from the traditional site-bounded  paradigm to the new triplization  paradigm of learning. In the traditional thinking as in the first wave, students’  learning is a reproduction process of the knowledge and manpower  structure to sustain the existing society, particularly in the social   nd  economic aspects. But, in the new paradigm, learning should be borderless and characterised by  individualisation, localisation, and globalisation with the support of ICT  and networked environment. It is a  triplization learning. Individualised Learning: Student is  the centre of education process. Students’ learning should be  facilitated to meet their needs and personal characteristics, and develop  their potentials particularly contextualised multiple intelligence
(CMI) in an optimal way. Individualised and tailor-made  programmes (including targets, content, methods, and schedules)  with the support of ICT for different students are necessary and feasible.  Students can be self-motivated and  self-learning with appropriate guidance, ICT literacy, and
facilitation. Learning is a selfactualising,  discovering, experiencing, and reflecting process. Since the  information and knowledge are accumulated in an unbelievable speed  but outdated very quickly, it is nearly impossible to make any sense if  education is mainly to deliver skills and knowledge, particularly when   tudents can find the knowledge and information easily with the help of information technology and  Internet. Therefore, the focus of learning is on how to learn,  think, and create. In order to sustain learning life-long, learning should be facilitated  as enjoyable and selfrewarding. Localised and Globalised
Learning: Students’ learning should be facilitated in such a  way such that local and global  resources, support, expertise, and network can be brought in to maximise the opportunities  for their CMI developments during learning  process.  Through localisation and  globalisation, there are multiple sources for learning.  Students can learn from multiple sources such as  teachers, experts, peers,  scholars and all types of experienced people inside and outside their schools, locally and globally, not limited to a  small number of teachers in their own schools.  Participation in local and international learning  programmes (e.g. learning activities conducted in the local community;  overseas study visits or language immersion) can help them achieve  the related local and  global  utlook beyond schools. They are  grouped and networked locally and internationally with the  support of various types of ICT networks. It is expected that learning happens  everywhere and is life-long. Education is just the preparation for a high-level  life-long learning and discovery. Learning opportunities are unlimited.  Students can maximise the opportunities for their learning from  local and global exposures through Internet, web-based learning, videoconferencing,  cross-cultural sharing, and different types of interactive and   multi-media materials With thesupport of ICT and networking,
students can learn from world-class teachers, experts, peers, and learning materials from different parts of the world. In other words,  their learning can be a world-class  learning. New vision of teaching:With the  paradigm shifts in learning, there  should be a new vision of teaching that includes at least three major key  components: (1) to facilitate students  to experience paradigm shift towards the triplization learning; (2) to provide  a triplised environment (including a  networked human and IT environment) for students’ selflearning;
and (3) to develop students’ triplised independent learning ability  and contextualised multiple intelligence.
Learning in a networked human and ICT environment
According to the new paradigm, students’ continuous independent learning and development of CMI should be globalised, localised and  individualised with the support of ICT and various types of  international and local networking. Mok and Cheng (A theory of self  learning in a human and technological environment: Implications for education reforms,  2001) has proposed a theory of selflearning  in a networked human and technology environment to show how students’ individualised  self-learning can be motivated, sustained and optimised through the  wide local and international support from the borderless and  networked human and technological environment. This networked environment can create  unlimited opportunities for students’ triplized learning because it  re-defines and optimises (1) the boundary and nature of the  learning context; (2) the  composition of players involved in the learning process; (3) the  format, speed and nature of communication and feedback to learning; and (4) the generation,   management, sharing and utilization of knowledge during the  learning process.

Paradigm shift in application of ICT
Given the paradigm shift in learning,   here is also a corresponding  paradigm shift in applying ICT in education, as discussed above.  Since the traditional paradigm of  the first and second waves emphasises delivering knowledge within the site boundary and satisfying the multiple stakeholders’  expectations in the local community,  the role and effectiveness of ICT in education are very limited. But in the  new paradigm, there is extensive application and integration of ICT in  education that can create unlimited opportunities for students’ learning.  The effectiveness of ICT in education is mainly based on the following considerations that are  completely different from the  traditional thinking: 1. How well can the application of   CT help to globalise, localise and  individualise students’ learning? 2. How well can the application of  ICT maximise students’  learning   opportunities through the locally and globally networked human and ICT environment and various innovative learning programmes?  3. How well can the application of   CT ensure students’ learning to be sustainable as potentially life  long? 4. How well can the application of  ICT facilitate the development of  students’ ability to triplicate their  learning and development?
5. How well can the application of  ICT facilitate the development of a CMI-pedagogical environment,  in which students are immersed and inspired to be self-actualising  and developing CMI themselves? The implications for paradigm shift in applying ICT in education are  substantial. The effectiveness of
applying ICT depends mainly on   hether they can facilitate students to develop themselves successfully in  terms of CMI and ability for triplization in learning

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