Before K and Beyond 20: The Sustainable Learning Paradigm

Before K and Beyond 20: The Sustainable Learning Paradigm

Judith E. Parker
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4249-2.ch026
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The concept of sustainability has reached numerous areas of our culture today. Learning, however, has been described as lifelong or continuous but not sustainable. This chapter investigates the ideas of sustainability and a continuum model of learning that expands both the length and the breadth of the current system. It describes the importance of a learning culture and the influence of technology in implementing this new paradigm. It then suggests that a new paradigm of sustainable learning is a more appropriate description for learning in the twenty-first century.
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The vocabulary around continuous or lifelong learning is not new. In fact many would argue that the idea and necessity of lifelong learning is an accepted norm. But that idea is punctuated by the reality of events that suggest closure. However, moving to a new school for the next grade level or graduation ceremonies can no longer be viewed as the end or accomplishment of a packet of learning. They are indeed a milestone of accomplishment but only one milestone in a series that will commemorate and comprise learning.

This chapter is driven by two main issues: Learning must be ongoing; but even more so, learning must be sustainable. This idea of sustainable learning might take some investigation. The term sustainable has become part of a catch phrase when applied to such topics as development, energy and agriculture. So why hasn’t it become part of the language of learning? This chapter will investigate this applicability and how and why it should be added to the lexicon of terms like adult learning, transformative learning, etc.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Culture: The shared attitudes, beliefs, practices, and values that characterize a group.

Dimensions of Learning: Refers to Illeris’ identification of 3 dimensions of learning as cognitive, emotional, and social.

Sustainable Development: Is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World, 1987 AU24: The in-text citation "World, 1987" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ; UN, 2005 AU25: The in-text citation "UN, 2005" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Learning Style: The preferred style by which a person learns best; often connected to Kolb.

Online Learning: Students engaged in learning are not in same physical location but are separated by some physical distance.

Critical Reflection: The process of analyzing and questioning experiences and assumptions in order to learn from them.

Learning Community: A group of students committed to learning collaboratively.

Social Networks: Informal groups of learners who interact regularly for the purpose of learning.

Lifelong Learning: Learning across one’s entire lifespan rather than the limited K-12 structure of formal learning.

Educational Technology: Those tools that are used in an attempt to improve student learning.

Leadership: The quality displayed by anyone who facilitates progress toward some desired outcome within an organization or group.

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