Towards a Community of Learning

  1. What is the mission of education in the 21 century?
    • Series of UNESCO reports on future education suggest that image of a successful education system is the one that built on four pillars: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together.
    • In particular, as we are moving into the new era of post-industrial global world where holistic interdependence and inter-connectedness is the norm, the educational paradigm primarily based on “learning to be” and “learning to live together” will be highlighted.
    • Noticing the drastically different characteristics of educational goals of these newly emerging paradigms of “learning to be” and “learning to live together” from their traditional counter parts of “learning to know” and “learning to do”, successfully managing the transformational model of education will remain as the most critical challenge for educators of our time. And such transformational model will include three important dimensions; 1) people (i.e., educators), 2) pedagogy, and 3) educational institution.
  2. What are the substances to be learned in the 21 century?
    • The educational goal of “learning to be” emphasizes the development of the human potential to its fullest and being truly independent.
      • In essence, this concept of developing the human potential to its fullest, or Self-Actualization, invites the totally different kind of substance to be learned in any given learning process; that is Consciousness.
      • Consciousness pertains two dimensions of awareness; 1) question of who we are (i.e behavioral impact toward the world (i.e., impact or justice).
      • Conscious learning processes may include the following in their list of agenda for learning;
        1. self-awareness and awareness of others
        2. cultural empathy, inclusivity, globality (an emotional, spiritual, aesthetic sense of the Globe; McIntosh, 2015)
        3. principled decision-making
        4. social responsibility (reflecting upon human dignity, common good)
        5. ecological sustainability
    • The educational goal of “learning to live together” is seen as needing to develop an understanding of others, of their history, their tradition, and their spirituality. If the goal of “learning to be” is about being independent, the goal of “learning to live together” is about being inter-dependent; and these two educational goals are interconnected in a sense that only the independent human being can construct inter-dependent social and ecological community.
      • Within the goal of “learning to live together”, the substance in the learning process can be boiled down global citizenship and responsibility, which may lead to include the following in the list of agenda for learning
        1. Holistic thinking capacity with trans-disciplinary approach
        2. Integrative thinking capacity that makes students to deal with complexity (System thinking)
        3. Leadership multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration
        4. Capacity in dealing with pressing complex issues particularly deals with Sustainable Development of Global Community (SDG)
  3. Challenges ahead: Towards the Transformational Model of Education and Learning for the 21st Century.
    • The emerging educational paradigms of “learning to be” and “learning to live together” will require today’s educators and their institutions to go through the unprecedented challenge of transformational processes. And the transformational model of education and learning for the 21st Century can be analyzed on the three dimensions; people, pedagogy, and educational system.
    • The transformational model of the new learning process will require transformation in people in terms of their paradigm about education, attitude toward education and learning, and their corresponding behavior in the education and learning process.
      A selected list of agenda for Professors’ paradigm, attitude, and behavior in education and learning for the 21st Century may include;
      1. consciousness in teaching and researching (e.g., mission and purpose of today’s education and learning)
      2. planned learning vs. emergent learning (e.g., improvisation, empathic listening, active communication)
      3. value of values in learning (e.g., beyond positive analytical learning; normative and ethical framework)
      4. stakeholder participation in the learning process (e.g., public, private, NGO, community, etc.)
      5. referent power based leadership.
    • In terms of pedagogy for the emerging paradigms of “learning to be” and “learning to live together”, where highly inter-connected complex system view prevails, the pedagogical notion of structuralism will be highlighted.
      A selected list of agenda for pedagogical issues for the 21st Century education and learning may include;
      1. emerging knowledge and experiential learning (i.e., reflective knowledge and engagement)
      2. trans-disciplinary teams (e.g., sustainable development)
      3. from hypothesis testing to sense-making exploration
      4. holistic system approach (e.g., integrated approach encompassing technological /economic system, earth system, social system, and governance system)
    • Finally, educational system itself should be prepared in order to provide an effective platform for transformational model of learning process.
      A selected list of agenda for necessary institutional change will include;
      1. redefining the purpose, vision, and values of education system
      2. creating a new teaching and/or research program in the complex system approach,
      3. multi-stakeholder participation (e.g., global collaboration; privatepublic partnership facilitated by the academia)
      4. becoming a community of learning
  4. Concluding Remarks
    • As we are moving into the new era of Sustainable Development (Sachs, 2015) the emerging educational goals of “learning to be” and “learning to live together” warrant genuine attention from educators, especially those of Higher Education. New paradigm requires with new mindset of consciousness and compassion.
    • Academia, the provider of education and learning, therefore, remains as the pivotal stakeholder in the new era of Global Collaboration where public-sector governments, private-sector business organizations, and civil societies’ cooperative network must be coordinated in the most effective, efficient, and equitable manner, so that it can generate creative and sustainable solutions to the pressing Global Agenda.
    • Building conscious and responsible community of learning in Academia will be the key to Sustainable Development of future humanity and the Earth.

Delors, J. et al. (1996) Learning: The Treasure Within, Paris, UNESCO.,
Faure, E. (1972) Learning to Be: the world of education today and tomorrow, Paris, UNESCO.
McIntosh, Malcolm (2015), Thinking the 21st Century, Greenleaf Publishing
Maslow, Abraham H. (1968) Toward a Psychology of Being, Van Nostrand Reinhold
Pope Francis, (2015), Laudato Si, Vatican
Sachs, Jeffrey (2015), The Age of Sustainable Development, Columbia University Press