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Learning to Learn and Think

We live in a world of turbulent change and ever increasing complexity. The ways in which we view the world and interact with it, particularly through technologies, now change faster than the time needed for one human generation to take over from the previous one. This has critically changed the role of learning, away from its traditional emphasis on the preparation of members of the new generation for the rest of their lives, to a lifelong dialogical disposition of individuals and communities resulting in intelligent behavior to interact responsibly and constructively with change on a continuous basis. The capacity to learn throughout life is thus a crucial one. Consequently, learning to learn has become one of the most important things for young people to engage in. Moreover, at any age one will derive great benefit from reflecting critically on one's own learning and thinking behavior and perfecting one's skills to learn and think. This includes knowing one's own cognitive and metacognitive strengths and weaknesses as well as personal preferences of style. It also comprises being able to manage one's motivational disposition to learn.

The above referred competencies can, in part, be acquired in school and, indeed, it is an important responsibility of the school to structure itself around, among other needs, the requirement that graduates leave the school adequately equipped for a life of lifelong learning. However, much of this set of competencies is also acquired, maintained and continually further developed outside the school context. The important question for any society then is how it can best create the conditions in the learning environment at large that allow people of any age to continually learn to learn and think.

Learning to Learn and Think (LLT) focuses on research and action in response to the above question. The need to improve capabilities to learn and think cuts across the boundaries that distinguish parts of the world with different levels of development. On the other hand, resources (knowledge, practice, tools, etc.) are unevenly spread around the world. In addition to contributing to improving and expanding the range of resources for LLT, particular emphasis will also be placed, as part of LDI's international development interest, on working towards a more equitable distribution of these resources. At this stage we are therefore interested in the identification of partners competent in the above areas who are willing to team up across boundaries to create a transnational resource base for LLT. Those interested, including relevant funding agencies, are invited to contact <ldi@learndev.org> and to clarify the nature and extent of their interest in, and intended contributions to, this area of collaborative work.

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