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The Second Paradigm
Transcript of The Second Paradigm
How the Brain Learns
In the last 4 years our understanding of how the brain
learns has changed dramatically. This emerging new model of how the brain learns confronts the anecdotal and urban myths associated with thinking and learning and focuses on emerging research surrounding the interplay between neurons (7% of the brains cells), astrocytes (76% of the brain cells) and the resonance and/or interference of brainwaves. This emerging model also integrates the role of the trillions of dendritic spines and their possible ‘memristic’ memory storage qualities. The emergoing new rmodel opf how the brain learns provides a model that answers many of the questions surrounding the nature of memory storage and how memories are subsequently retrieved.
In this emerging model of how the brain learns there are three discrete learning systems that integrate to create our overarching capacity to learn.
• Rote learning & Sensing – (neural centric)
• Concept development - (astrocytic/neural centric)
• Creativity & the ‘imagination’ (brainwave centric)
The 2nd Paradigm Shift
The 1st Paradigm Shift
The Next Stage
I am looking for a group of schools that are interested in taking on the challenge of transforming their practice in line with some of the ideas shared here today. If you are interested then you can contact us at
Competencies are the foundational concepts that provide us with the capacity to apply the learning process in the most effective and efficient way possible..
The five key competencies include understanding the underlying concepts for how we
Engage in learning
Each of the competencies have a set of essential concepts that contribute to the capacity
building that competencies enable.
Prior to the 13th-14th century most learning took place via oral communication and an apprenticeship approach to learning. Following the invention of the printing press and the popularisation of books, the centricity of learning gradually shifted from being oral/apprenticeship centric to become text centric. Over the last 500 years the text centric paradigm for learning has slowly come to dominate how we learn and how we demonstrate understanding. Reading and writing was a more efficient and effective medium for learning even though oral language still played a critical role in the learning process. The innovation of the book-based paradigm did not render oral language redundant but the centricity of formal learning shifted from oral to an increasingly text based paradigm. Texts made information easier to get access to. Learners had to cross the chasm of learning to read and write to access these improved efficiencies
We are currently experiencing a second paradigm shift in learning. This is the transition from a primarily text centric learning paradigm to an Internet centric one. Learning has dramatically transitioned from a poorly ‘resourced information and communication learning landscape’ to one that is now multimedia, vibrant and available 24/7 at relatively low cost – a learning landscape of enormous diversity and opportunity – albeit not perfect. The emerging Internet based learning paradigm is dramatically changing every aspect of learning for everyone. The chasm learners have to cross now ir the development of the competencies - Thinking, Communication, Managing Self, Collaboration and Engagement.
Learning to read and write is a very different task from learning to drive a car, however from a cognitive perspective they are both very demanding. From this cognitive perspective it is possible to roughly equate the two in terms of learning difficulty. Interestingly though, after only a few hours in the driver’s seat the learner driver is managing the driving process with relative ease, while our emergent reader/writer is still struggling to remember the shape of just a few letters of the alphabet. What could possibly explain the vast difference in success of these two learning processes?
learning to Drive
Learning to Learn
The learning process is a theoretical framework underpinned by the inquiry learning process and clever questioning. The learning process is by its nature, a very cognitively ‘messy’ process and it is by no means linear and predictable. By mapping the learning process what become obvious is the critical importance for learners of all ages to be able to apply:
• Effective prompts to initiate learning
• Clever questioning
• Inquiry processes
•The constant application of the thinking process - Reflect – Review – Iterate
• Synthesis and distilling processes
•Creativity – allowing the mind to wander through its stockpile of knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks looking for unique combinations that have value
Above all, this process requires creative educators who can stimulate curiosity through the imaginative and creative application of prompts that encourage the learner(s) to want to learn through that innate curiosity present in us all. These expectations require a substantive change to the contemporary pedagogy of practice applied in most schools but the consequences of not making those changes would be tragic.
The learning process is initiated by a prompt. The prompt, which can be an experience, event or need immediately stimulates an emotion and that in turn that develops our curiosity. As the learner(s) asks and applies clever questioning the solutions to those questions are generated through the Inquiry process. At each stage there a constant reflect – review - iterate process is applied in order to build a
relevant knowledge base.
By applying further clever questioning and interrogation of he knowledge the learner(s) can form idea(s). Ideas are a relationship between processes that are dependent on each other (variables). If you want to do a hill start on an incline then you have to gently press the accelerator as you take your foot off the brake. You now have an idea about how hard you press the accelerator and how quickly you take your foot off the accelerator on a small incline.
By applying further clever questioning and interrogation the learner(s) can apply that/those ideas to a number of contexts (different inclines. After you practice on a number of different inclines you form a conceptual understanding. Once you understand a concept of hill starts you can predict the pressure required to be applied and released on each pedal for any incline. You do not have to learn each and every possible incline; you can predict. This is a very efficient learning system. The alternative would be to rote learn every single incline slope from 0-90 degrees (okay, maybe 0-35 degrees in practice). Concept formation saves us a lot of
excess learning and is extraordinarily
efficient and effective.
By reflecting on existing ideas and concepts the brain forms links between different combinations of knowledge, ideas and concepts to create conceptual frameworks. A concept framework is an interlinked network of knowledge, ideas and concepts such as driving or playing a sport.
Having a network of ideas, concepts and concept framework allows the learner(s) to predict new possibilities for other contexts. By synthesizing and distilling existing knowledge, ideas and concepts it is possible to be creative and combine these in unique ways, using reflective and contemplative thinking processes to come up with totally new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks
Creativity is a process whereby we can synthesise, distil and ask clever questions and interrogate and remix the knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks the learner has developed. There is a lot of science sitting behind the creativity process but the raw material (knowledge et all) has to be in place and creativity requires contemplation, sleep and the willingness to let the mind drift for periods of time (seconds to a few minutes) and allow the hippocampus to check out those different combinations for fruitful and productive outcomes.
Innovation & Ingenuity
Innovation is about creating new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks that have the potential of becoming new products, systems and environments. Ingenuity is taking those creative and innovative notions and creating them into the practical outworking of that innovative outcome that meet needs & opportunities.
The Technology should support learning processes that the school, district, state, or country aspires to. The technology components that are required to facilitate this change in learning practice include:
1. A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) - This environment integrates a database driven set of tools that include both educator and students learning tools. These tools provide the capacity to transfer the agency of the learning to the learner whether that learner is an educator or a student. For that purpose the VLE must provide:
• The ability to capture learning artefacts in any media form via any device that represent knowledge, ideas, concepts, creativity, innovation or ingenuity and achieve that simply and dynamically using an app
• The artefacts need to be sent to the VLE database to be used in reflective practice for the learning that is happening
• The artefacts need to be able to have peers, educators and parents comment on them so that the learners thinking can be reflected on, reviewed and if necessary iterated
• Provide a place for open discussion forums• Provide a range of apps to assist the learning process including a questioning, collaboration and an inquiry learning app to support and guide learners through the inquiry process
• A diary/scheduling app that communicates with the database
• T he curriculum framework, complete with a conceptual developmental pathway that the learner
• Can add their learning artefacts to
• Map their progress across the competencies and the disciplines
• Present the next learning step in the cognitive sequence for each concept and concept
framework for each competence and discipline
2. Interfacing with that VLE will be Google docs and these should also be compliant and be able to be embedded within the VLE
3. An ultrafast broadband environment
4. The Student Management System (SMS) that displays data about the students progress against expectations. The SMS should be interoperable with the VLE allowing data from both to move from one to the other.
5. Single Sign On (SSO) should be achieved with a virtual dashboard with each of the key learning environments and tools being able to be displayed in that dashboard.
The learning intention of this session is to provide an overview of the second paradigm shift in learning and the major implications of the that shift.
The consequences of this and our understanding of how the brain learns allows us to pass on the agency for learning to the learner and allow them to learn more efficiently , effectively and successfully.
I may say that this is the greatest factor—the way in which the expedition is equipped—the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.
— from The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen
True, why make a fuss over something that's done anyway? I was never one to obsess about the past. Too much to do in the future!
— Edmund Hillary,