The Paradigm Shift

    "We are about to enter the most dramatic series of Paradigm Shifts in how we learn... ever!" Mark Treadwell 1998 (adapted)

his site contains the online notes for Mark Treadwell's conference, seminar and workshop presentations. The seminars and these notes are a brief summary taken from the 'Global Curriculum Project.' This 16-year project synthesises the educational transitions being made available through the effectiveness and efficiency gains brought about by two successive global paradigm shifts in how we learn.



The first paradigm shift in learning was the development of increasingly complex oral language which took place slowly over the last 2 million years.

The second paradigm shift in learning was our ability to form representations of our language using symbols, enabling us to communicate visually; initially using glyphs which then slowly morphed into writing. Humans created stories using images as far back as 25,000–30,000 years ago, with the notion of counting appearing about 9,000 years ago. Sequences of pictographs appeared about 4,000 years ago and these morphed into icons, and finally ‘letters’ with symbols for sounds finally emerging 2,500–3,000 years ago.

The third paradigm shift was the invention of the printing press and the reduced cost of the printed book, allowing new worlds to be opened, but only once the owner of the book had learned to read (and some knew how to write). 

The fourth paradigm shift in learning is far more recent, arriving in the form of the internet, whereby we could access information in any combination of media at almost no cost. The internet has substantively changed many aspects of our lives, specifically, how and what we learn.

The fifth paradigm shift is now on our horizon, and it will challenge the very notion of how schools will more successfully meet their purpose of having at least 80% of learners enjoy success in school and establish the belief, based on capability, that they can learn almost anything, anywhere, anytime with anyone (A4). Learners will gradually move from primarily learning through the use of reading and writing to primarily learning through the watching of video and creating videos to demonstrate their understanding. Mark Treadwell 2019