What you find below are extracts from "Book in Progress" from Asian Development Bank, ADB.
Book in Progress is interesting because
it combines knowledge and perspectives from different fields like
education, learning psychology, management, industry, agriculture, economy and politics. It is also open in
that it encourages people to make their contributions. The book has a very broad and inclusive perspectives
even if it may have a slight tendency to use economy as a frame of reference.
I have used colors on those parts I found most
central and interesting, so you may skim through reading
only those parts.
Bjarne Fjeldsenden May 21, 1999
Who should be learning what, where, when, how and for what purpose?
The learning capacity of a society,
to a large degree, shapes its economic, political, and cultural destiny.
does so because learning is a central element in the reception, interpretation, transformation and sharing of
experience. A society's learning processes serve as the nerve center of its adaptive capability, allowing it to
learn from the past, engage the present, and imagine the future. Whether one is talking about economic
growth, the preservation of cultural heritage, social problems, citizenship, the acquisition of new knowledge,
the degradation of the environment or rights and responsibilities, one is ultimately talking about learning. The
use of the term learning, in contrast, for example, to words such as schooling or education, in this context, is
deliberate. It is meant to convey that learning occurs when and wherever people encounter experience and
engage in its reception, interpretation, transformation, and communication.
Schools, and other institutional locations for formal
education, are only one context in which learning occurs.
A society's learning resources are much broader and deeper than its systems of formal education. People
learn in families, in churches, mosques and temples, in libraries, in movie theatres, on subway trains, at
work, at play, in markets and bazaars, over coffee and tea, at the computer, and in and through the
multiplicity of conversations in which they engage. Learning is a purposeful process that unfolds in a diversity
of contexts over a lifetime. Learning is a limitless resource for any person and society, and is constantly
refreshed through engagement in the process.
While ubiquitous, learning is also increasingly becoming
strategically important to individual and national well
being. The reason is that learning is the link to information, knowledge, and skills that are at the core of
modern economies. Successful learning, as a result, is an individual's ability to apply the appropriate tools,
information, and knowledge to the solve problems and pursue opportunities during a lifetime.
Learning can be linked to the pursuit of at least four types of goals:
efficacy goals, such as self improvement, personal mastery, participation and spiritual fulfillment;
economic goals, such as gaining marketable skills
and knowledge that enable individuals to support
themselves and their families;
social goals that lead to greater civic participation, collective caring, and engagement; and
cultural goals that shape the ways in which people establish their identity and ways of living together.
Lifelong learning is, in part, a constant search by individuals
and societies, to strike a meaningful and
satisfying balance among these learning goals. All too often policy and social discourse pits these goals
against one another when, in reality, they exist in a systemic and mutually interdependent relationship. The
social goals of learning are vitally important to the fulfillment of economic goals, which, in turn, are dependent
on cultural and efficacy goals. In the same vein, the pursuit of cultural and efficacy goals assume that certain
types of economic and social goals will be met. In a systemic relationship, like that existing among the goals
of learning, the effects of actions are always multiple.
In this regard, it is perhaps fruitful to approach this
matter from what can be called thelearning architecture,
or learning design, of given societies and nations. A learning architecture unfolds from a particular society's
way of addressing, either consciously, or through cultural practices, the question: Who is learning what,
where, when, how, and for what purpose? All societies demonstrate a learning architecture; that is, through
their conscious intentions or historical practice, they establish the boundaries, enabling and limiting
structures, and rules for who learns what, with whom, where, when, how, and for what purpose. The
existence of a learning architecture is, thus, common among societies and nations. Within this commonality,
however, there is an immense range of variability, based on different ways in which nations and societies
provide enabling, or limiting structures, for whom is involved in learning what, where, when, how, with whom,
and for what purpose.
In attempting to comprehend the structure and dynamics
of a nation's learning architecture, it is important not
to confuse parts with the whole. A nation's learning architecture is a system that is different from the sum of
its parts; that is, it has emergent properties, born of the interaction among parts, but that are not contained in
individual components. Just as the properties of benzene cannot be predicted from knowledge about oxygen,
hydrogen and carbon, so too the properties of a nation's learning architecture cannot be predicted from
knowledge of individual schools and other institutions. The emergent properties, for example, of a distance
education system cannot be determined, let alone understood, from a detailed knowledge of such component
parts as tutors, course packages, subject matter experts, communication technologies etc. To understand a
distance learning system, one has to comprehend the nature of the interactions among components of the
system and the new functions that can be performed as a result of these interactions. In understanding a
nation's learning architecture, therefore, it is important to understand the parts, or dimensions, of that
architecture. However, it is equally important to understand the ways in which the parts interact with each
other to form a particular configuration that allows particular goals to be pursued and functions to be
In today's dynamic world, significant change forces and
socio-economic needs are coalescing with new
intellectual points of view, to exert strong pressures on the shape, sturdiness, and sustainability of many
societies' learning architectures . New findings about the human brain and learning processes significantly
raise the threshold of human potential for thinking and learning, and offer new insights into the optimal
environments for learning. The structures of human populations are also changing, not only through the
elongation of the life span, but also in the relative concentration and balance among age cohorts, and the
ethnic diversity within societies. Educational systems in many countries are struggling to cope with these
shifts and diversities.
At the same time, the world is being connected through
the globalizing force of new information and
communications technologies that offer radically new ways of accessing, interpreting, and communicating
knowledge and ideas among people.. Added to these changes are concepts of development, which move
beyond economic growth, encompassing such goals as freedom, choice, well being, capability, and
participation. Moreover, all of these changes are occurring within a context in which knowledge is becoming
the critical and central dynamic in both economies and societies. These pressures, and others which could
be detailed, are of such a force and significance today, to cause many nations to seriously examine their
current learning architecture and to engage in an equally serious process of redesign.
Critical question: How is knowledge related to actions?
One of our greatest needs, now, is for what can perhapsbe
described as "strategic imagination": the
willingness and ability to envision new possibilities for the development of human potential, and, in parallel,
to conceive, explore, test, and demonstrate innovativestrategies that can contribute toward making these
possibilities a reality for all.
The Learning of Nations
is a book in progress that describes the learning architecture
in terms of its key
elements, or structural features, and their associated dimensions. An element of the learning architecture is
built around each society's response to one of the component questions contained in the larger question of
"who is learning what, where, when, how and for what purpose". All possible dimensions of each element of
the learning architecture have not been explored, and, indeed, this is one of the functions of The Book in
Progress: to stimulate the imagination of our virtual audience to explore, deepen, and extend, both the
dimensions and elements, of the learning architecture. The Learning of Nations, in addition to outlining the
key elements and dimensions of the learning architecture, also proposes a number of shifts, or changes, that
are currently underway in core dimensions of these elements. These shifts, when examined collectively,
systemically, and cumulatively, suggest that many societies' learning architecture is undergoing, or will
undergo, a transformation that has significant and profound implications for how one sees the relationship
between learning and development.
The architectural element that flows from the question
of "who is learning?" centers on the
role of the
person(s) in the process. Two dimensions of this element are explored: patterns of participation and human
learning capabilities. The second architectural element that is examined addresses the question of "what is
being learned?" Two dimensions of this element are explored: the primary content focus of learning, and the
competencies that are to be developed as a result of engaging the content. The third architectural element
focuses on the question of "how, where, and when learning is occurring?".This element is probed by
examining the process, spatial, contextual, and temporal dimensions of learning. The final element in the
learning architecture addresses the question of why learn"?". This element is analyzed in relation to two
dimensions: personal reasons for engagement in learning and public policy support for learning.
To stimulate the strategic imagination, you are invited
to consider and contribute your thoughts and ideas to
the core elements of the learning architecture, the key dimensions of each element, the ways in which the
pressures of change and new knowledge are impacting each, and the implications of this for the process of
development. It is our hope that the book in progress will provide you with a challenging and satisfying
opportunity to make a difference.
The question of who is learning can be approached from at least two perspectives: patterns of participation and human learning capabilities. The first is a question of access and the second a matter of efficacy. Both are essential for learning to maximize its contribution to development and both are undergoing a transformation driven by new knowledge and new necessities. As an illustration, consider the following shifts in this dimension of one of the key elements of the learning architecture:
Patterns of participation in learning in various societies, are driven by a complex combination of personal, social, cultural, and economic factors. The mere availability of the opportunity to access learning does not necessarily guarantee that people will, in fact, take advantage of these opportunities and engage in active participation. Individual choices concerning relative priorities in their lives and the allocation of their attention resources often affect decisions to participate in learning.1: FROM ELITE TO MASS CUSTOMIZED PARTICIPATION
From the perspective of social roles, different societies enable, or constrain, the participation in learning of various types of people. In this regard, there appears to be a global consensus emerging that societies, in order to energize and sustain development, must shift from elite to mass models of participation in learning. Investment in education, as Robert Barrohas demonstrated through comparative factorial analysis across nations, provides one of the few enduring, cross-national indicators and sources of economic growth and development.
ADB Institute Interest No. 1
The Institute is interested in knowing more about the interrelationships between
participation in learning and relative patterns, and gains from, participation in the labor
market by various groups. Labor market policy, in other words, may be a key ingredient
in affecting the nature, duration, and effect of learning participation by various social
groups in a given society.
ADB Institute Interest No. 2
The Institute is interested in knowing more about how such a nonlinear participation
model can be developed and implemented in developing countries.
Architectual element: Who is learning
Dimension: Human Capability,
Capacity and Potential
This dimension of the architectural element, who is learning, centers on human capability, capacity and potential to learn. It addresses various images of the mind and its processes and how these are expressed in the design of learning in various social and cultural contexts
The past twenty-five years have witnessed a virtual revolution in conceptions of the human mind and its potential for learning, as well as a re-thinking of the grounds and nature of human intelligence. These new insights, derived from interdisciplinary research in cognitive science, linguistics, neurology, artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, pose serious questions about, and present new approaches to, the entire process of learning and education.
ADB Institute Interest No. 3
The Institute is interested in both the validity of these views of learning, the human mind
and education and the degree to which they should and can inform the relationship
between education and development.
For most of this century views of learning and education have been dominated by what has been described as an associationist view of mental functioning. The mind, in this view, is a device for detecting patterns in the external world and operating on them. A person's knowledge of the world flows from the combination of patterns, which are observed, and operations, which are performed, in that process. Learning is the process that generates knowledge, while development is described as cumulative learning. Intelligence, within the associationist perspective, is a trait of individuals and sets limits on the rate of cumulative learning. Education is depicted as a process of controlling the contingencies in the person's environment to achieve socially desirable learning goals. The central educational technique, in the associationist model of the learner, is direct and systematic instruction followed by supervised practice.
The mind, in the constructivist model, is conceived as an organ whose primary function is the acquisition and creation of knowledge. Learning is the process that takes place when the mind applies an existing structure, or set of categories, to a new experience, in order to understand it. Development is the long term process through which cognitive structures change allowing the mind to construct ever broader meaning. Intelligence, rather than a limiting and unevenly distributed trait, is seen as a many- faceted, adaptive capacity to change cognitive structures, which is possessed by all human beings, and which changes over time. Education is pictured as a learner centered process that involves the provision of an environment that will stimulate the construction of knowledge and promote reflection on that process. These educational goals are seen as being best pursued through a form of guided discovery, rather than direct instruction. In constructivist classrooms, or other learning settings, learners actively engage in inquiry and interaction, on an individual and group basis, with the teacher acting as a guide, mentor, and stimulator of the process.
ADB Institute Interest No. 4
The Institute is interested in whether or not constructivist conceptions of the learning
process are reflections of a given culture's image of what it is to be human and whether
such conceptions can or should be transported across cultures? Moreover, the Institute
is particularly interested in whether the tendency toward individualism, within
constructivist conceptions of learning and education, stand in the way of their ready
adoption in certain developing countries.
3: FROM COGNITION TO CONFLUENCE
The conventional learning architecture is also being re-examined
in relationship to new findings about the functioning
of the human brain that flow from the cognitive and neurosciences. In very
general terms, the human brain, in light of this research, is pictured
as modular, with the various separate regions acting in concert to allow
a person to hear, smell, feel and think. These capacities, moreover, mature,
at varying speeds and to varying degrees. The
capacities of the human brain are not fixed at birth, but actually grow
and mature partly in relation to the degree to which the person exists
within a stimulating physical and social environment. Childhood,
from conception to adolescence, is ithe optimal time for neural development,
due to the "exuberant connectivity" and neural pruning that occurs during
Renate and Geoffrey Caine have
summarized this research into a set of what they describe as mind/brain
The brain is a complex adaptive system: It has the capacity to function on many levels and in many way simultaneously.
The brain is a parallel processor engaging thought, emotions, imagination, predispositions, andphysiological processes, all at once.
The brain is a social brain: Our brain/mind continuously changes in response to engagement with others and individuals, as a result, must always be seen as integral parts of larger social systems.
The search for meaning is innate: We are purposeful human beings constantly engaged in a process of searching for meaning or making sense from our experiences. The search for meaning occurs through patterning: Our brain/mind registers the familiar and creates patterns in the unfamiliar.
Emotions are crucial to patterning: What and how we learn is strongly influenced and structured by emotions and such mind set mechanisms as expectancy, personal biases, self esteem, and the need for social interaction.
Every brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes: The brain/mind engages in serial thinking, breaking things into their component parts and holistic thinking creating new and higher order syntheses.
Learning involves both focussed attention and peripheral perception: The brain/mind absorbs information, which is the focus of immediate attention, and information on the peripheries of that attention.
Learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes: Much of our learning is unconscious, in that experience and sensory input are processed below the level of our awareness and at times other than its first encounter.
Meaningful and meaningless information are organized and stored differently: Taxonomies are used to store unrelated information and autobiographical frames are employed to store information from known experiences.
Learning is developmental: While the brain is plastic, there are windows of opportunity for laying down the structures for later and higher levels of learning.
Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat: The brain/mind makes maximum connections when appropriately challenged in an environment in which risk taking is encouraged.
Every brain is uniquely organized: Within a general framework there is a range of different learning and thinking styles that vary by person, genetic inheritance and culture.
From these principles, there emerges a set of educational practices which, it is argued, match the complexity, parallelism, and potential of the human brain:
Education must rethink its
standardized model of learning and come to grips with the complex, multi-faceted
nature of the human learner.
Learning is profoundly affected by the nature of the social relationships within which people find themselves and the degree to which
these relationships enable the brain/mind to exercise its true potential.
Learning is enhanced when learners are involved in experiences that are meaningful to them.
Effective education involves giving learners the opportunity to formulate their own patterns of understanding in terms of a range of experiences.
A supportive emotional climate is indispensable to effective education.
Effective education provides a context in which the learner can engage in analytical, synthetic, association, intuitive, and
Developing the structures and heuristics of memory, through teaching and curriculum, are as important as what is stored in the memory.
Understanding may not always occur at the point of teaching and may be delayed.
Learners have multiple ways of knowing and multiple styles of learning and thus require multiple avenues within education through which to learn and demonstrate that they have learned.
Research into brain functioning, the long assumed seat of cognition, has ironically led to a broadened picture of mental functioning in which emotions, physiological processes, social settings and interactions and cognitive processes function in parallel and mutually amplify each other. A new confluence has emerged to challenge traditional dualisms that have pervaded particularly Western conceptions of the mind and body.
ADB Institute Interest No. 5
The Institute is interested in the relationship between new findings related to human
brain functioning and long standing holistic conceptions of the mind and consciousness
in many Asian cultures and traditions. Are we at a point in which there a new common
ground is emerging between Eastern and Western conceptions of the mind and does
this common ground offer a way to move ahead together in educational thinking and
9: FROM BREADTH TO DEPTH
One of the historic functions of educational institutions,
as was noted earlier, was to serve as a conduit for passing on information
and knowledge. The information explosion, albeit that it has yet to fully
reach developing countries, has called into question this basic view. As
more and more information has become publicly available on more and more
things, however, educational institutions have tended to respond by enlarging
the breadth of material covered in the curriculum, or lengthening the amount
of study time required to complete school years and degrees. This has led
to a situation in which observers note that students
are learning less about more things and that their conceptual abilities
and true understanding of how knowledge is developed is suffering.
Ference Martin and Roger Saljo, two Swedish investigators
who examined students' approaches to study using ethnographic methods uncovered
an interesting pattern. The researchers noted that Swedish students did
not really understand the points that they were studying, since they were
"not looking for it". What they were doing was cramming facts into their
heads. They were doing this because they knew that was what they were being
tested for. What was missing was the meaning of the texts they were studying
and how those texts might relate to their own evolving thinking about the
world. Their approach to the study of the texts was termed, by the researchers,
to be a form of "surface learning". Very few of the students who were studied
evidenced what Martin and Saljo called a "deep" approach to learning, in
which students seek meaning in study, reflect on what they read and hear
and undertake to create their personal sense of understanding.
Deep learning, as Marchese has suggested, is a prerequisite to a student's movement from knowledge to understanding and to restructuring the mental models, which guide that transition. Further findings have emerged in this line of research, that suggest that surface learning increases in intensity as one progresses through the educational system and, depending upon a host of factors, students will switch between deep learning in some courses and surface learning in others, and in other cases engage in these approaches simultaneously. Entwistle recently has suggested that fear of failure, anxiety, and low self-esteem are associated with surface approaches to learning. Ellen Langer has added further insight to this stream of thinking by describing the process of "mindless learning" as a student being on "automatic pilot" during most of the schooling years.
The third volume of the TIMSS report of the IEA international performance studies in mathematics, called " A Splintered Vision", has been recently released and has proposed a set of recommendations for mathematics education that reflect the growing concern about the balance between breadth and depth in the curriculum and their associated surface and deep approaches to learning. The report stresses the need for mathematics curriculum to;
Focus on powerful, central ideas
Pursue greater depth, so content has a chance to be meaningful, organized, and linked to other ideas that the students acquire or possess.
Provide rigorous powerful, meaningful content-producing learning that lasts.
One of the intriguing and understandable aspects of education and development is that there tends to be a concern, bordering on fear, in developing countries, that they are in danger of being "left behind" the so-called developed world or that they must undertake efforts to "catch up". In education, these concerns often get translated into a cumulative process of packing the curriculum with ever-increasing amounts of information on an ever-widening range of topics. This process has gone so far in some countries that students must attend extra tuition classes, in the evenings and on weekends, to cover the curriculum in place.
ADB Institute Interest
The Institute is interested in knowing more about the tendency in developing countries
to excessively broaden and extend the range of topics, areas of study and information in
the curriculum and the degree to which this process may, not only be working against
the possibility of depth learning, but also negatively intruding on the process of
childhood and youth development?
The last recommendation of the TIMSS report noted above is especially poignant for education's role in development. One of the guiding ideas in development, in recent years, is the concept of sustainability. This idea does not strictly mean that development should be undertaken in a way which can be sustained by the natural environment, but that it be sustainable or capable of being pursued, deepened and enriched over time.
ADB Institute Interest No. 18
The Institute is interested in knowing whether a shift in emphasis in the curriculum from
breadth to depth, and its associated assessment and teaching systems, would
contribute to a greater degree of "learning sustainability" for development purposes.
10: FROM THE CONTRIVED TO THE REAL WORD
Against this tendency there has arisen a view, driven by forces more outside than inside education, that students are "experienced deprived"; that is, lacking in understanding of some of the key dimensions of life which they will be expected to participate in and contribute to. The world of work provides a good example. Students tend to be remarkably uninformed, unrealistic, and in some cases ill informed, as to the working world and what will be expected of them in that world, let alone what types of careers, with what types of skills, are and will be available to them.
Students learn about the world of work in the context of the workplace and use the school as a forum for reflection upon what they have learned. In universities, one can notice the same pattern emerging in cooperative education, in which students rotate between study and work throughout their careers. This educational model is gaining momentum, particularly in engineering and the helping professions. In the field of workplace training, one can also witness these shifts with the introduction, in countries such as the USA, of individual training accounts, or skill grants, tied to performance expectations linked to job placement and advancement.
Rearranging the relationship between education and work alters fundamentally the lock step and preparatory role often attached to education. Education becomes a recurrent process in which a person alternates between reflection in school and experience in various contexts of the world. Teaching becomes less focused upon telling and more linked to reflecting, clarifying and interpreting.
ADB Institute Interest No. 19
The Institute is interested in knowing whether, and to what degree, this movement
toward designing the educational process as a recurrent relationship between thought
and experience in the real world has applicability to education for development? Is there
a better way to gain a knowledge and understanding of the process, challenges, and
problems of development than to participate in it as part of one's educational
It is not only in the world of business that "what gets measured gets done". This adage has perhaps even more relevance, and exerts even more power, in the field of education. For this reason alone, the basis of assessment has been front and center in recent efforts to reform educational systems.11: FROM RECITATION TO PERFORMANCE
The first development of note inassessment
reform has been a move away from the input assumption, that the curriculum
indicates what a student knows and can do, toward a more output focus which
directly assesses knowledge and skill outcomes, regardless of their generative
This shift toward output measurement is not without controversy, since some argue that trust in the professional judgement of teachers has suffered within what is described as a "mechanical production model" of educational institutions and that certain understandings are not amenable to display by performance. The retort, of course, is that the new system of assessment is fair to the student, since he or she now knows the basis of evaluation and can set goals accordingly, and that such systems hold teachers, administrators, and indeed government, accountable for the results claimed for educational investments.
To what degree do such performance driven output systems apply to, and have relevance for, the process of education in development? Development assistance, in the field of education has, to a large degree, ignored the question of performance objectives and performance outcomes for investment. This can be partially attributed to the fact that educational investment and extending the years of schooling, have been seen as a form of investment in human capital that will inevitably make positive impacts on the economic growth of a nation. The tendency to gloss over performance outcomes has also been colored by the fact that development assistance has not, until that is the arrival of the concept of conditionalities, intruded upon the internal polices of recipient nations.
ADB Institute Interest No. 21
The Institute is interested in knowing more about the appropriate place of performance
objectives and outcomes assessment in education for development? Are these
strategies useful and implementable, or does the stage of development of a nation's
educational system preclude their development and value? If they are appropriate, how
should such systems be developed and how should the information, which is produced,
Of perhaps even more importance in the shift in assessment systems from recitation to performance, has been the change in focus in the ways in which students are evaluated. In essence, there has been a movement in assessment away from a stress on the knowledge that students can display through a process of recitation, toward a stress on students demonstrating their knowledge and skills through reflective performances. This requires that students be able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills on increasingly higher levels of understanding, as measured by such taxonomies as that developed by Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues.
Moreover, students in the new approach to assessment demonstrate their understanding in assessment situations in which they are called upon to apply, show and create knowledge using the skills that are appropriate to the problem. This form of performance assessment occurs in what are called "authentic" contexts; that is, contexts that replicate the ways in which a person's knowledge and abilities, are tested in the real world. In such authentic assessments, students are asked to use knowledge to solve ill-structured problems, carry out exploration work in and through the disciplines, and to use a repertoire of knowledge and skill to negotiate a complex task.
Assessment reformers argue that such an approach to assessment evaluates whether indeed students have acquired designated knowledge and skills and pushes forward their desire to engage in higher order thinking. They also argue that many students who engage in surface learning strategies will have difficulty with such assessments and can modify their learning strategies accordingly. So too, many students who do not possess "good memories" will have an opportunity to display what they know through what they can do. As part of this reform of assessment entire curricula, in both education and training systems, in some countries, are being redesigned and rewritten using specific performance metrics, and applying such techniques as portfolios, project learning, and case based learning.
The move toward more performance driven and authentic systems of assessment rests upon a view of the human mind and human learning. Memorization and surface learning reflects a faculty psychology of the mind. Authentic assessment and performance driven demonstration of knowledge and skills reflect a constructivist and, to a degree, a cultural view of learning. This raises to the question of the degree to which these approaches to assessment, and other dimensions of the recent efforts to reform educational systems, may be products of a particular culture and preferred way of learning and evaluation? We have, thus, come full circle. While the mind exists in culture, is it merely a product of culture? And if so, must all prescriptions for educational change be seen in that light-as the importation to one culture of concepts of mind and learning from another?
13: FROM INWARDNESS TO GLOBAL VALUES
The pursuit of regard, is very much a matter of choice among values. So too is the pursuit of development that is ecologically sustainable. Some of the most intense disputes in the field of development as a result, are reflections of disagreements regarding the values that should be pursued in the course of, and through, development.
A second dimension of the role of values in development is process, or procedural, in orientation. Values infuse the process of development; how it is undertaken, who is or is not involved in the process, and the depth and meaning of that involvement. Here again there are debates and differing perspectives. Historically, development has tended to be undertaken by elites and some would argue in the interest of elites. Elites, of course, can be defined in terms of wealth, power or expertise. More recently, within the international community, the value focus in the procedural dimension of development has shifted from elite-based models toward one's that reflect people and community involvement in guiding and directing the process. Participation, in other words, has emerged as a new value in relation to development.
A third dimension of the role of values in development relates to the context in which it is pursued. Blind and exponential growth of economies, geared to the values of production and consumption, tended to dominate development for much of this century. Here again there is a change in perspective. The concept of sustainability suggests strongly that the pursuit of growth for the sake of consumption alone can actually work against the development project if it does irreparable harm to the life sustaining systems of the natural and cultural world.
In substantive, procedural, and contextual terms, consequently, development poses and rests upon values. Values, in this regard, are at the heart of development. So too is culture, since it provides the ambient in which peoples' values are shaped and nurtured. Attempts to relegate culture and values to the backstage of the development discourse merely reflect the momentary triumph of a particular set of values.
…. values are reflective of particular cultural traditions of people and have integrity in and of themselves. And since there is no accepted general standard by which one can, or should, assess the ultimate validity of particular cultural values, then these values can rightly guide the process of development. Indeed, the relativist position would assert that a failure to incorporate the particular value orientations of a people into the process of development, as guiding principles in the endeavor, means that development itself is not possible.
At the other pole is what can be described as a universalistic position. While recognizing the existence of cultural differences, combined with varying degrees of understanding, the universalistic position asserts that there is, nevertheless, a set of core values, which should guide the process of development, regardless of the purpose, or context in which it is undertaken. To a degree, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights represents a universalistic view. Some would suggest, as well, that Western notions of development are also cloaks for a universalistic value proposition.
A second dimension of the role of values and culture in education can be seen in the emergence of a renewed interest in the concept of world citizenship. In its 1995 report, Our Global Neighborhood, the UN Commission on Global Governance captured this interest in the idea of world citizenship with the following statement: "Never before have so many people had so much in common, but never before have the things that divide them been so obvious". "A thickening web of interdependence", in the words of the Commission, increasingly requires that countries and peoples find ways to work together. People, according to the Commission, are being forced to come to terms with the new circumstances of a "global neighborhood"; they find themselves living among people previously considered strangers. For the Commission, one of the challenges of development, if not the challenge, involves the development of, and commitment to, a global civic ethic to guide action within the global neighborhood.
The UN Commission, while recognizing
the sovereignty and self-determination of nations, proposed the following
the core values of what it termed a global civic ethic:
People should treat others as they would wish to be treated.
Respect for life and non-violence.
A commitment to basic liberties: to define and express their own identity, to choose their form of worship, to earn a livelihood,
freedom from persecution and oppression, free speech, free press, the right to vote, and freedom to receive information.
Justice and equity.
Mutual respect and tolerance.
Integrity and trust in human relationships.
The Commission also recognizes that the global civic ethic that it proposes must be pursued while recognizing and respecting the reciprocal rights of others. This proviso, while consistent with the substance of a global civic ethic, of course, raises the problematic issue of how to accommodate difference within an overarching, global civic ethic.
The UN Commission, as well as others, has suggested that the idea of global citizenship can serve as an important guiding principle in development. However, the exact meaning, which one wishes to give to the concept of a global citizenship, is challenging to say the least. Martha Nussbaum, in this regard, suggests a helpful distinction. World citizenship can, according to Nussbaum, be understood in at least two ways. The first is the ideal of a citizen whose primary loyalty is to human beings through the world and whose national, local and varied group loyalties are considered as secondary in importance. One could say that this represents the idea of "global citizenship", with emphasis being on global as the context in which civic values and duties are defined. The second concept of global citizenship recognizes a wide diversity in the ways in which we order our priorities, but says that, however we actually do order those priorities, it should be based on a recognition of the value of human life and the fact that we are bound in our present and futures to peoples all over the world. One can call this approach "global citizenship", in which citizenship is paramount, but deriving meaning and direction from its global context. In each conception, however, a new sense of inclusion and breadth of vision is introduced into the definition and understanding of citizenship.
What are the educational implications of the concept of global citizenship? The primary implication speaks to the purpose of education and the curricular expression of that purpose. If taken seriously, the concept of global citizenship sets a new learning challenge for education, what Martha Nussbaum calls the "cultivation of humanity". Global citizenship asks that a person no matter where he or she lives in the world be willing and prepared to engage in a sympathetic and critical examination of oneself and one's traditions. This requires an understanding of the source of one's traditions, of their pattern of evolution over time, and of their meaning and significance in the modern world. It suggests, moreover, a willingness to examine these traditions in the light of reason, fact and argument, and to be open to a dialogue about their significance and the grounding of that significance.
World citizenship implies that citizens who "cultivate their humanity" have the ability to perceive and understand themselves, not solely in terms of their membership in a local, ethnic or regional group, but also as human beings tied inextricably to other human beings. The world around us is interdependent and becoming increasingly so. The values, attitudes and actions of others, regardless of their distance from us, have real consequences. Understanding "the other" is a central challenge of the modern world. This suggests that all educational processes, regardless of where they are rooted, should include the development of an understanding of other cultures, traditions, and points of view. This need for inter-cultural and cross-cultural understanding applies regardless of the stage of development of a given country. Without a commitment to opening the cultural mind, the concept of world citizenship remains a hollow and abstract notion.
A third challenge of the concept of world citizenship for education is to find ways to develop the capacity of people to imagine the world from the perspective of others. This requires the ability to place oneself in the shoes of others from cultural traditions distinct from one's own, to suspend judgment, and to see the world from that vantagepoint. Central to this process of role taking is building a sense of the internal meaning and intent that informs various perspectives on the world. This requires cultural imagination; the capacity to understand the world through the mind and feelings of another.
The concept of world citizenship often finds expression in policy statements of the United Nations, voluntary organizations, and other agencies. It also appears frequently in the writings of academics and journalists around the world. Much of this, while positive and encouraging, remains at the level of exhortation. Moreover, when the idea of world citizenship is pursued in education, it is often developed as the study of other cultures within the confines of particular institutions in a given national context.
What has not occurred in any substantive and broad based way, is a truly international collaborative effort to design a curriculum and learning framework for world citizenship. That is, to bring together educators, and other voices from various cultures, to grapple with the central elements of a curriculum for world citizenship and to test its validity and applicability across cultures.
One interesting foray in this direction has been provided by an UNESCO International Bureau of Education research project entitled Learning To live Together Through The Teaching of History and Geography. The project involved a number of countries throughout the world and part of its focus was a detailed analysis of school textbooks. Based upon this analysis, supplemented by country studies, the project offered five suggestions for the teaching of history and geography that have applicability to the idea of global citizenship:
If world citizenship, as a concept and emerging ideal,
has true significance and importance in the modern world, then it
needs to be tested in a global context.
ADB Institute Interest No. 23
The Institute is interested in knowing more about the degree to which the concept of
world citizenship is valid and supported across cultures in both the industrialized and
developing world and whether or not a global curriculum initiative provides one way of
giving it living expression in world educational and learning systems.
15: FROM INSTITUTIONS TO LEARNING COMMUNITIES
The institutional dominance of learning in societies, when set against the span of world history, is a relatively recent phenomenon. In Western industrialized societies, institutions, like schools and universities, captured learning, just as the factory captured production. Each institution, in its own way, represented a growing press for specialization and division of labor in society and the economy. Institutions like schools "fit" the industrial economy.
But today the world is moving toward a new type of economy that demands not only new intellectual and social skills, but also the opportunity to acquire such skills on a lifelong basis. Institutions, such as schools and universities, have been relatively slow in adapting to the imperatives of lifelong learning and the co equal rise in "consumer" or "client" awareness about where and how to acquire knowledge and skills. Over the past decades, learners have increasingly sought various learning opportunities and with people of like mind. In this process, learning communities of like-minded, or perhaps a better word is like-interested people, have emerged as contexts in which people come together to acquire information, knowledge and skills and to do so in a collaborative way. So too, institutions such as corporations that have felt most immediately the knowledge and skill pressures of the new economy, have created their own internal learning communities, some going as far to create universities within their own boundaries.
Adult educators have long pointed out that adults were developing their own learning projects outside the boundaries of formal education and these involvement's were providing people with a sense of meaningfulness which they did not experience in more formal learning settings. Today, whether one wants to learn how to fix a car, discuss a major book, understand a social or political issue, learn how to invest or whatever, there is a community of learners available to you. Increasingly, in industrialised countries, learning communities are virtual, existing as conferences, chat rooms, and discussion forums on the Internet and participation in them is growing exponentially. To illustrate this exponential growth on 3 September 1998, CNN reported a new record on contacts, or "hits", to its specialised Web page, CNNfn that deals with business and economic issues. During August that CNNfn web page had 100,000,000 hits from around the world.
One of the common traits of learning communities is that participation in them is voluntary and sharing, rather than competitive, and this appears to be the norm of interaction. People are drawn to learning communities because they appear to offer meaning, relevance, choice and sharing.
ADB Institute Interest
The Institute is interested in knowing how these voluntary learning communities can
serve the process of development? Are they repositories of knowledge and skill that can
serve a nation? Do they offer insights into how adults cope with change, through
learning and the styles of learning, which they prefer? Should development planning in
education incorporate learning communities into their designs or is it preferable, in order
to actually preserve their creative inspiration and innovativeness, that there be a "hands
off" approach to the phenomenon? Finally, do learning communities represent a
rejection of institutional education or a reaffirmation of the value of learning, or both?
.The Learning Without Frontiers Program of UNESCO has recognized this global/local dimension of the new learning technologies through an exploration of the idea of using them to create open learning communities. Open learning communities are conceived of as spaces that house valuable knowledge systems and encompass a range of contexts from voluntary associations, extended families, religious institutions, income-generation groups, youth clubs to villages and cities. Educational institutions, depending upon their openness to the world around them may or may not be open learning communities.
The UNESCO Program, in this regard, poses a number of challenging questions related to the development of such open learning communities:
What would learning environments look like if they were constructed from the perspective of each learner-sensitive to the learning needs, pace, local culture, values, interests and aspirations-and geared towards developing each human being's individual and collective potential?
What would learning environments look like if they were constructed and managed by the learners and communities and linked to dynamic processes of continually identifying and realizing their development priorities?
What would learning environments look like if they were comprised of dynamically inter-connected diverse learning communities that shared information, culture and experiences and supported the evolution and construction of local knowledge systems?
What would learning environments look like if they allowed learners the flexibility to move in and out of them and encouraged wider social interaction?
What would learning environments look like if they tried to engage in their own organizational learning?
16: FROM HIARCHIES TO LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
The idea that the learning potential, or knowledge-generating capacity, of organizations is a key component in confronting and adapting to the new challenges of the information economy has spawned the concept of knowledge management as one of the new tasks of leadership.
Knowledge management is a dynamic process of creating the conditions and enabling mechanisms for the generation, codification, sharing and application of the knowledge and competencies that reside within an organization's processes, systems, and people. Knowledge management views the organization ecologically as a set of dynamically interrelated parts and processes. More particularly, from the perspective of knowledge management, there is a tendency to manage the flow of people, ideas and processes through a set of practices and perceptions that differ radically from control oriented hierarchies:
To see the organization as a human community capable of
providing diverse meanings to information outputs
generated by technological and other systems.
To de-emphasize the adherence to the way things have always
been done so that prevailing practice can be
continuously assessed from multiple perspectives and in terms of their fit to a changing environment.
To encourage and stimulate greater proactive involvement of the human imagination and creativity.
To give more explicit recognition to tacit knowledge and to such issues as values, ideals or emotions.
To design and implement new flexible technologies and
systems that support and enable communities of practice, both
formal and informal, to emerge and thrive within the organization.
To make the organizational information database accessible
to all as a way of encouraging shared problem solving
and the development of a transparent organizational memory.
ADB Institute Interest No. 27
The Institute is interested in the implications for the process of development, of
organizations emerging as major contexts for generative and shareable learning and the
knowledge management focus that has emerged as a consequence. There is much talk
today in development circles, and among economists, of the need for effective
governance structures as a way of increasing transparency in market relationships. The
ADB Institute is interested in the degree to which such structural reforms must, in order
to be effective in the long run, be underpinned by a conception of management in which
knowledge creation, learning, and participation are guiding principles?
Many organizations in the developing world, as indeed in the industrialized world, are heavily bureaucratic and control oriented. These organizations, regardless of the sectors in which they are to be found, must find better ways to manage what they know, what they would like to know, and how to create absorb and apply knowledge. One does not have to be in the midst of an information and knowledge driven economy to recognize that knowledge is an increasingly vital source of organizational advantage and effectiveness. It is important that developing countries do not find themselves in a situation in which they replicate yesterday's institutions and forms of organization that may not be relevant to, or help them participate in, the emerging global knowledge economy. New institutions and new styles of management are very important if developing countries hope to use the knowledge resources at their command and those that they can potentially access.
It is instructive to note that very recently the World Bank has decided to call itself the "Knowledge Bank". This turn of phrase is more significant than it seems, for what the World Bank has committed itself to is the development of its own knowledge management system that will provide knowledge, best practices, and experience directly to clients through online communities. The World Bank is undertaking this initiative in recognition that the information economy poses the serious possibility that a "knowledge gap" will emerge between the so-called developed and developing world.
While it is laudable that the World Bank is developing its own knowledge management system, it perhaps deserves mention that developing countries are not devoid of knowledge creating or management systems. These systems may exist, but be quite different from the highly explicit forms of knowledge management envisaged in much of the thinking that underpins this area. This point has been made in a very detailed and powerful way, in the context of Japan by Nonaka and Takeuchi the authors of the thought provoking study, The Knowledge-Creating Company.
In their study of knowledge creating processes within Japanese companies, Nonaka and Takeuchi argue that knowledge creation in these firms involves a spiraling process of exchange between tacit and explicit knowledge among individuals, groups, and organizations in which four modes of knowledge conversion are operative depending upon the nature of the knowledge which is being exchanged. Knowledge is created and converted, they argue, through socialization (tacit knowledge acquired through tacit means), externalization (making tacit knowledge explicit), combination (combining different bodies of explicit knowledge), and internalization (transforming explicit knowledge into tacit understandings).
This study is an important milestone in gaining an understanding of how organizations, and people within organizations, create and manage knowledge and the role that culture plays in structuring these processes. One implication of this study for the development of knowledge management systems, particularly those intended to be accessible to developing countries, is the danger, and perhaps arrogance, of automatically assuming that such systems do not exist. In other words, as in the case of the Japan study, it is vitally important not to confuse "explicit practices" with "best practices". The starting point in this area of activity then, is to be clear as to the knowledge management and knowledge creating processes that do exist in a given context, and the processes that are at work in such systems.
ADB Institute Interest No. 28
The Institute is interested to know the degree to which explicit knowledge management
is demanded in the new information economy, and whether the faster such processes
become explicit, the better organizations will be able to compete and thrive in this new
economy? On the other hand, the ADB Institute also contemplates that there are
alternative, non-explicit modes of knowledge creation and sharing which, if understood,
can broaden the impact that knowledge can make on development. How these two
worlds of knowledge creation, the explicit and the tacit, are best balanced in the face of
a new knowledge driven economy is a matter of central concern to the ADB Institute.
There is little question that a focal issue in development today increasingly relates to the degree to which various countries are prepared for, and able to participate in, the knowledge and information revolution. The US National Research Council and the World Bank have recently developed a promising methodology for the conduct of what is termed a National Knowledge Assessment: a framework designed to improve the use of knowledge for social and economic development. Specifically, the knowledge assessment is a tool for assisting developing countries, and indeed any nation, to analyze their capabilities for participating in the knowledge revolution. The knowledge assessment process is a learning experience for the country and for the agency that facilitates its implementation.
The knowledge assessment model developed by the National Research Council draws upon a technique used in industry for analyzing new business investments and making location decisions: the venture capital investment model. The knowledge assessment has four linked components:
1.Construction of a National Knowledge
2.Virtual case studies of "sentinel enterprises"
In the methodology as it has evolved to date, a national symposium is used as the vehicle for constructing what is termed a National Knowledge System Model. The National Knowledge System of a country comprises those institutions that control and regulate the flow and use of knowledge in the economy and society, together with the linkages among them and with the outside world. A map of the knowledge system includes the stocks and flows of knowledge, its sources and uses, and identifies leverage-points-those institutions, processes or systems whose creation, redesign or strengthening is likely to promote the wider diffusion of knowledge and lower barriers to its assimilation and use. While the knowledge system is national in focus, it necessarily elucidates how the national system is embedded in, and interacts with, systems defined beyond the boundaries of the nation state.
Specifically the National Knowledge System Model is built around six fundamental functions:
Motivation for engaging in knowledge-based activities
Creation of knowledge, both fundamental and applied.
Access to knowledge, the physical
means available within the country for obtaining knowledge from
sources inside and outside and the pattern of access by people to the resultant knowledge pool.
The capacity for assimilation of knowledge, its election, and understanding.
The diffusion of knowledge to those who can make use of it.
The capacity for the productive use of knowledge for both economic and social benefit.
The development of the National Knowledge System Model represents the "supply" side of the knowledge equation. A complementary element of knowledge assessment focuses on the demand side and this is where the virtual case study of sentinel enterprises comes into play. A virtual case study entails a feasibility study for a hypothetical, sentinel enterprise conducted by a team composed of local entrepreneurs and managers, foreign experts drawn from or familiar with global industries, and persons knowledgeable about the governmental and legal structure of the country. The sentinel enterprise could be one that might be found in the new knowledge-based industry or a hypothetical existing firm developing a new product or process or expanding into a new market. The elements of the sentinel enterprise plan may include information about access to capital, siting, licenses, market information, training needs etc. For each item in the plan, or class of items, baseline data is provided by the local participants that include exemplary benchmarks furnished by international participants on the team and drawn from global databases.
The difference between what seems currently achievable in the country and global best practice is considered to be a gap, and the sources and causes of this gap are identified and examined. The last stage in the process involves the crafting of strategies to close gaps, or a rethinking of launching into particular sentinel enterprises. It is important to underline the fact that the conduct of a National Knowledge Assessment can be through a simulation or real experience; that is, it can be a preparatory assessment, as part of anticipatory planning, or an actual assessment for an actual industry in an actual country setting.
ADB Institute Interest No. 29
The Institute is interested in the opportunities and challenges posed for development by
the emergence and intensification of knowledge and information based economy. Does
such an economy inevitably mean that the gap between the developed and developing
world will grow even wider? What are the basal requirements needed for a given nation
to be able to productively participate in, and gain from, the knowledge based economy?
What tools exist, or should be developed, to assess a nation's preparedness for such
an economy? What type of learning system will enable the people of a nation to
productively participate in the knowledge economy?
17: FROM INERT TO ACVTION LEARNING
One of the perennial challenges that face training and learning design is how to insure a transfer of new knowledge, perspectives, and skills to the strategic plans and actual practices of an organisation or other setting. Traditional training systems have tended to "assume" transfer by virtue of the fact that a person possessed new knowledge and skills. For this reason, and others, most training was conducted in classrooms separate from the workplace and dealt with theories, or cases, that it was assumed would broaden the codified knowledge base of the employee or manager. Billions of dollars have been spent, on a worldwide basis, on this training and learning model. This model of transmitting inert knowledge, and assuming the individual would give it life when in the organisational context, is now under very serious scrutiny, if not dramatic challenge.
Action learning is project based: The learning is centred on the need to find solutions to problems.
Action learning is for real: There is an explicit contract between the organisation and the recommendations to be implemented.
Action learning is learner-driven: All of the tutorials and "teaching" are in response from requests from participants who "need to know".
Action learning is a social process: Participants in action learning work in groups, learning from each other as well as from tutors and facilitators.
Action learning has high visibility: Action learning projects are not undertaken in secret but a conducted publicly within organisations and draw on many segments of the organisation for advice and ideas.
Action learning takes time: Action learning is in-depth learning about real problems.
Action learning is guided by a conception of learning, which was formulated by its inventor Reg Revans, a scientist by training. It can be expressed as an equation: L=P + Q + I. In this equation, P is called programmed knowledge that is stored in books, files, and other devices in the organisation and its environment. It is the expert basis of what is known about a problem. Q refers to the process of asking the right questions when things are uncertain and no one knows what to do next. These questions include:
What am I or my organisation trying to do first and last?
What is stopping me or my organization from doing it?
What can I or my organisation contrive to do about it?
Who knows about what we are trying to do -- who has the real facts and can put things into a proper perspective?
Who cares about getting it implemented -- who has a vested interest in getting the problem solved as opposed to merely talking about it?
Who has the power to get it implemented -- who controls the resources that can make change happen?
With these questions as a guide, the action learning process proceeds as a form of team based problem solving and organisational change. Participants work in what are called sets, groups of usually five to eight, who form an action learning project team. Where larger numbers are involved sub sets are formed. The set works on a real problem in an organisation and with a manager or other individual who is defined as "owning" the problem; that is, committed to implementing workable solutions in real time. Each set has a set adviser, a person who "services" the set by steering it through the action learning process and arranging for organisational logistics. Each set also has a tutor; an expert who packages and delivers workshops on action learning processes and programmed knowledge during the course of the investigation by the set. The action learning process concludes with a detailed action plan addressed specifically to the issue identified at the outset.
What sets action learning apart is how learning is interwoven with action within a compressed time frame. The action learning process incorporates and integrates a number of elements essential to individual and organisational learning:
Data collection on problems and strategies
Team effectiveness workshops and team building processes
Developing and sharing of new ideas and perspectives
Evaluation and assessment
Presentation development and reporting
Implementation and management of change
Participants learning journal that
records on going learning during the action learning cycle.
What action learning creates is a temporary system. It is a temporary environment that resembles the real world of work in a number of ways, but it is also one in which team members and sponsors are able to experiment and take risks that they may otherwise not contemplate. What keeps this from being just a learning experience is the front-end commitment to action in relation to a real problem.
Action learning, as the above outlines, provides a way for an organisation to convert individual learning into organisational knowledge through the hands-on resolution of real problems. Since the projects are conducted in teams, learning is shared across members, networking is reinforced, and new perspectives are encouraged. Action learning, when functioning in a highly effective manner, provides the conditions for the creation of a community of learners in which the distinction between work and learning all but disappears.
Action learning is increasing in use in corporate training contexts, professional development initiatives, community development, and leadership development programs. Training initiatives often form an integral part of the process of development and, in this regard, such programs face challenges associated with the transfer and relevancy of new knowledge and skills to development problems.
ADB Institute Interest No. 30
The Institute is interested in knowing the degree to which action learning processes and
techniques can and are being employed as key components of technical assistance
and as part of a learning framework for problem solving in development.
18: FROM CENTRAL PLACES TO DISTRIBUTED NETWORKS
One of the profound impacts of modern communications and computer technologies has been to alter the meaning of place and distance in society. In terms of the generation and communication of ideas and information, place is increasingly disappearing as a barrier. Most other spatial barriers to information exchange are also dissipating in the age of instant connectivity. In no area of social activity has the impact of the "disappearance of distance" begun to be felt more than in the worlds of training and learning.
Schools and other institutions of formal learning, like
universities, have been constructed on the assumption that economies of
scale flowed from people coming together in one central place in order
to learn. A given institutional location could be resourced to provide
a range of learning experiences and access to expertise that no single
individual, acting on his or her own, could obtain. New information technologies,
and the learning highways which they create, reverse this historic process:
knowledge and learning experiences are taken to the person, regardless
of their "place" or "space". Learning, the opportunity to learn, and expertise
are being distributed across space and time. In such environments, people
can increasingly learn anytime, anyplace, and with "virtually" anyone.
21: FROM FACTOR ENDOWMENT TO INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL
It is increasingly posited today that the engine of growth of the economy in the information age is knowledge and the competitive advantage of both firms and nations resides increasingly in intellectual capital. While there are different ways in which one might define and unravel the concept of intellectual capital, one way of thinking about the concept is that it represents human capital plus the vision and organizational and relationship processes to deploy it for productive and innovative purposes. Like all forms of capital, intellectual capital, unless deployed for some purpose, remains an inert resource.
Intellectual capital is of increasing
importance as economies begin to transform themselves from a focus on the
processing of resources to the processing of information,
from application of raw energy to the application of ideas. Brian
Arthur, an economist associated with the Santa Fe Institute, has suggested
that, when this shift occurs, the mechanisms that determine economic behavior
begin to shift from one's of diminishing returns
to one's of increasing returns. Increasing returns are the tendency for
that which is ahead to get further ahead and for that which loses advantage
to lose further advantage. Increasing returns generate
not equilibrium, but instability and demand constant adaptation and the
management of change on the part of organizations
and indeed nations. Diminishing returns continue to hold sway in the traditional
part of the processing industries, although even here the knowledge content
of process products is growing. Increasing returns reign in the newer part
of the knowledge-based industries.
Arthur argues that modern economies have become divided into two interrelated and intertwined parts--two worlds of commerce corresponding to the two types of return. In the economy devoted to bulk processing of grains, livestock, heavy chemicals, metals, forests, and foodstuffs, operations are largely repetitive. When companies in this sector try to expand, they usually run into some limitation related to market demand, access to raw materials or competition from substitute suppliers. That is, diminishing returns set in at some point. In sectors like high technology, however, increasing returns and unpredictability are the key traits. The sectors in which increasing returns predominate in Arthur's words are "heavy on know-how and light on resources". Unit costs fall dramatically as scale increases.
Thus, Arthur argues that there are two economies: a bulk production economy yielding products that are essentially congealed resources with a little knowledge operating according to the principles of diminishing returns and a knowledge-based part of the economy yielding products that essentially are congealed knowledge with a little resources and operating according to the principle of increasing returns. The new knowledge sector of the economy, because of the different basis of competition, moreover, demands flat hierarchies, a mission orientation and above all a sense of direction. It is as Arthur claims a commitment to "re-everything" and constant adaptation and innovation:
As the economies of the world shift steadily away from the force of things into the powers of the mind, from resource-based bulk processing into knowledge-based design and reproduction, so it is shifting from a base of diminishing returns to one of increasing returns. While we currently see the existence of two economies, there are strong signals that knowledge is penetrating and altering the basis of bulk processing itself. Products are becoming "smarter" and the knowledge content of natural resource processing is increasing.
This shift toward a knowledge based economy and a world of increasing returns has significant implications for the process of development and the design of learning systems. The first is that the bulk processing economies of the developing world will not be immune to the growth and expansion of the knowledge-based economy. As knowledge intrudes upon bulk processing, developing countries will need to enlarge and deepen their intellectual capital as a way of remaining competitive. If developing countries hope to avoid the ghettoization of being locked into bulk processing, then they will have to do even more to develop their intellectual capital, for this is the entrance ticket to participation in the knowledge economy
Moreover, in developing its intellectual capital, a nation, somewhat like a company, needs a new set of strategic monitoring tools and metrics. Typical measures used in national budgets and planning documents typically relate to gross development measures such as GNP, per capital GNP, deficits and surpluses in various accounts etc. What is missing in these national report cards is a framework and set of measures to chart the development of a nation's intellectual capital linked to the strategic policy initiatives of a government.
Nations in the developing world, if they intend to take intellectual capital seriously, need the equivalent of what Robert Kaplan and David Norton refer to as a "Balanced Scorecard: a framework for examining a nation's activity performance from four perspectives: financial, customer, innovation and learning. In each of these perspectives, a nation can establish goals, targets, benchmarks and performance measures." Development planning and policy making, in the context of a renewed interest in the centrality of intellectual capital, must develop new tools and frameworks for understanding these linkages and creatively and strategically guiding investment and assessing results. In terms of education, this calls not only for a dramatic extension in participation, but a transformation in the nature of the educational process in which adaptive problem solving and creative skills have a new premium.
In its recently released 1998 World Development Report entitled "Knowledge for Development", the World Bank has begun the process of articulating what one could describe as a new paradigm for development. Indeed, in the report the Bank suggests that "knowledge is development". In this context, the Bank pinpoints two dimensions of knowledge that are critical for the process of development: Knowledge about technology, or know-how and knowledge about attributes, such as the quality of a product or the credit worthiness of a firm. In each instance, the World Bank argues that there are gaps between developed and developing countries which, if left unaddressed, will handicap, and potentially reverse the gain of development over the past twenty years.
The first gap noted by the Bank is what it describes as a knowledge or know how gap. To close this gap, the Bank suggests that developing countries need to develop strategies in three areas:
Acquiring Knowledge: Tapping into and adapting knowledge available elsewhere in the world through, for example, the adoption of open trading regimes, foreign investment, creating knowledge locally through research and development and building upon indigenous knowledge.
Absorbing Knowledge: Insuring a solid and universal foundation in basic education, with special emphasis on girl's education and other disadvantaged groups, designing lifelong learning systems and supporting tertiary education, particularly in mathematics and science.
Communicating Knowledge: Taking advantage of and leveraging new communications and computing technologies to expand access to knowledge.
The second gap identified in the Bank's Report is a gap in information or awareness. Information, the Bank argues, is essential to the efficient functioning of markets and through proper and focused institution building these gaps can be addressed. The Bank suggests that such information gaps be closed first in the processing of financial information, knowledge of the environment and particular knowledge gaps that affect the poor.
The 1998 World Development Report of the World Bank provides a new and refreshing perspective on the process and challenges of development. Indeed, when viewed from the perspective of knowledge, the process of development begins to emerge as a more generic process and one that is not as easily categorized into stages and types. Moreover, knowledge places a renewed emphasis upon the creative intelligence of human beings as the centerpiece of the entire project. This too is a welcomed insight.
Without disputing the value of approaching development from the perspective of knowledge gaps and information problems, it might be suggested that, in addition to the gap in know-how and the problems of information awareness, there is another dimension to a knowledge perspective on development that deserves examination. This concerns the question of knowing why and speaks to the central issue of the purposes of closing knowledge gaps and overcoming information problems. Answering "knowing why", moreover, will strongly affect not only the types of knowledge gap one wishes to close and information problem to be overcome, but also will impact how one wishes to use the new found knowledge that has been acquired. Knowing why, in other words, provides the framework within which knowing that" and "knowing how" derive their meaning and significance.
Intellectual capital and the knowledge based economy out of which it grows, is strongly influenced today by the new information and communication technologies
( ICTs) and networks. The new ICTs, central as they are to the spread of global knowledge based industries and economies, are not of marginal concern to developing countries. It is interesting to note that the concerns of developing countries today increasingly focus less on whether ICTs should be accorded a high priority and more on how to effectively apply information technologies to development in order to reduce, rather than widen, what is seen as a potential gap between the information "haves" and "have nots".
The new ICTs provide teachers and learners alike with an immense and growing array of tools to enhance learning. These technologies, if located in a learner sensitive design, have been shown to enhance learning in a number of significant ways:
Enhance discovery through simulation and exploration of new concepts.
Connect learners to new people and ideas and expand content beyond what was previously available.
Promote equity by providing a diverse array of resources and experiences to those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
Adapt to and accommodate different learning styles through modularized, self-paced, just-in-time learning and non-threatening learning environments.
Increase the self-motivation of learners.
Promote collaborative learning.
Promote a readiness to participate in the technology-rich workplace of the future.
Improve learning productivity by delivering more opportunities for learning to more people at a potentially reduced cost.
Overcome time and spatial barriers in access to learning.
Promote the value of individual creation and distribution by permitting people to share their own learning processes and results with others.
Enhance professional development.
Facilitate communication between teachers, parents, and students.
Create learning channels through which people can participate more easily in local and national policy debates and action.
Integrate knowledge across fields of practice and sectors of activity permitting the development of more integrated and holistic perspectives on problems and opportunities.
One of the interesting aspects about the new ICTs is that they are agents of change powerful enough to make significant impacts on the social and economic contexts in which they operate. They actually present societies with potential opportunities to question fundamental assumptions and institutions and to rethink existing approaches in whole fields of endeavor. The new ICTs present the chance to engage in "opportunity-driven" rather than "crisis-driven" planning. In this style of planning, there are at least two linked questions of importance: access to technology and access to people and information. The first, of course, is a requisite to the second, and strategies and investments are needed to facilitate it. The second is of equal importance and relates very much to learning and the formation of intellectual capital.
In the field of educational development, ICTs present developing countries with a host of strategic issues, questions and opportunities:
Should the nation be a primary recipient of information from others or a developer of information to share with others or both simultaneously?
Should a nation focus its strategic access policies and funding of ICTs on primary schools, secondary schools, the tertiary sector or adult education?
Should ICTs be used to reduce the cost of education?
To what degree should the application of ICTs in education function on a commercial model?
What place do the emergence of global digital libraries have in the process of development?
To what degree should developing countries apply ICTs at the community level through such innovations as multiple service telecentres?
What measures if any should be taken as part of development policy to "regulate" the cultural content delivered through ICTs?
What institutional and other rule systems need to be developed to protect the developers of indigenous knowledge?
What role and relative priority should be assigned in development policy to participation in virtual scientific libraries and research projects as well as access to databases?
These, and other questions that can be raised, make it clear that the emergence of ICTs stands as a critical element in any serious thinking about development and the role of education in the formation of a strong foundation in intellectual capital. ICTs, while they have potential to significantly enhance learning, are not immune from downsides that can flow from technology being ill applied and not equally distributed. One of the emerging trends in the use of ICTs, even in industrialized countries, has been an increase in inequities in particular strata of society. These inequities arise, in part, from differential abilities to pay for ICT access and, more importantly, from less intellectual preparedness to use and exploit the technologies.
There is an important distinction, in this regard, between equal access that concentrates on quantitative equivalents in the access to pieces of technology (computers per child or learner) and equitable access which encompasses those factors (teachers knowledge, learning environment, information literacy) that affect the ability of learners to learn effectively with the technology. Furthermore, one must be cognizant of the fact that a "wired society may not be a civil society". It may atrophy our social skills, erode our affinities and sense of community and contribute to what Raul Yzaguirre has called "a modem on the mountain top" mentality.
ADB Institute Interest No. 40
The Institute is interested in the degree to which those who do not have access to
electronic information resources are excluded from participating in the new global
culture that is empowered by those very resources? Access to basic schooling has long
been seen to be a fundamental policy principle in a national development. It may well be
that equal opportunity to access electronic information will be the next century's version
of the common school.
Knowledge dissemination, in any society, is affected by the combined impact of economic incentives and cultural attitudes. From an economic perspective, the system of rewards and punishments for trying or not trying new things, and the system for organizing production and exchange, affect how fast new knowledge is adopted and diffused in practice. From a cultural perspective, value orientations, scientific frames of mind, and openness to change also affect the degree to which a given society exhibits a readiness to adopt new knowledge. In this regard, there is an important relationship between education and the willingness to adopt new technologies.
ADB Institute Interest No. 41
The Institute is interested in knowing more about those social and economic structures
that facilitate openness toward new knowledge and the capacity to diffuse that
knowledge throughout society. What, in other words, do we know about the social,
economic, and institutional enablers of knowledge reception and diffusion? Moreover
what should be the knowledge strategy of developing countries: local knowledge
production versus acquiring it from abroad; incentives tied to the production versus
dissemination of knowledge; processing and validating knowledge versus unfettered
dissemination; investments targeted to the private versus public sources of knowledge
In all of the recent talk and focus upon the knowledge economy and the role of intellectual capital within that economy, it is possible to be lulled into thinking, and assuming, that developing countries are devoid of intellectual capital, or that the intellectual capital which they have is of little competitive economic or social value. No society is devoid of intellectual capital or the problem solving and other skills that energize it. This is increasingly recognized in the research and policy work related to what has become known as indigenous knowledge. Indigenous knowledge is local knowledge, derived from the interactions between people and their environment and it is a characteristic of all cultures. It encompasses the entire range of human experience, including history, linguistics, politics, art, economics, administration and psychology. Its technical dimensionsinclude agriculture, medicine, natural resources management, engineering and fishing. In many communities in the developing world indigenous knowledge is tacit and encoded in proverbs, stories, riddles, music and praxis.
The research literature on indigenous knowledge, and its relationship to agricultural development and environmental management, provides growing evidence that this knowledge and its associated activities use complex, but implicit scientific principles. It is becoming increasingly clear, moreover, that the exclusion of such knowledge from development activities, through processes in which outsider knowledge is imposed without regard to local knowledge, can have disastrous consequences.
In the field of education, indigenous knowledge systems have been found to provide a resource for expanding scientific thinking. This may seem odd given the oft assumed view that indigenous knowledge may, indeed, be "knowledge", but not ". Richards, for example, found that the principle of classification that is central to Western science, is also part of indigenous knowledge. In his research, he found that farmers classify crop varieties according to such criteria as soil and water requirements, cropping season, crop duration, and time of sowing.88 Warren also found that farmers practice soil classification and distinguish crops according to their suitability for each soil type. Working with farmers in Niger, McCorkle found that farmer's design, implement and evaluate farm trials using steps, which correspond to the scientific method. These insights have led to the development of innovative approaches to science education in developing countries in which local knowledge is utilized alongside formal science to introduce students to the working of the world around them.
As noted above, much of indigenous knowledge remains at the tacit level and beyond the local community it is rarely shared. What, if anything, should be done in light of the findings regarding indigenous knowledge and its potential role in the process of development? It is possible to argue, as some do, that codifying and communicating indigenous knowledge beyond the context of its development will destroy the creative process, which produced it in the first place. This leads to the strategy of finding ways to insure an in situ preservation of indigenous knowledge. A "hands-off" approach, if you like.
Others argue that indigenous knowledge has demonstrable
value in working toward the goal of community-based and sustainable development
through the solutions in practice, which are contained within such understanding.
In this view, development, not only of the local community, but of similar
commentates around the world can be assisted if ways can be found to record,
document, validate, field test and share the understanding and wisdom that
is inherent in indigenous knowledge systems. Proposals in this area call
for the establishment of electronically accessible indigenous knowledge
networks and locally based indigenous knowledge centers.
25: FROM EXCLUSION TO INCLUSION
One of the paradoxical qualities of the educational system in most countries is that it is simultaneously a vehicle for reproducing the existing structures of society and a generative source of change in those very same structures. This paradox has particular potency in relation to the question of education's role in generating greater equality in a given society. Access to education, and to various levels within the system, strongly affect the individual earnings and social mobility prospects of individuals. This effect applies in both industrialized and developing countries. In this way, education functions as a potential equalizer of opportunity in society. At the same time, education in many societies functions as a sifting and sorting machine which tracks individuals to various slots in the social hierarchy. In this way, education performs a counter-equity function. This counter-equity function of education has, until recently, been the dominant effect. This effect has been intensified in many developing countries due to the scarcity of resources to fund and put in place a universal system of education. However, even universal systems of education contain within them competitive structures that impact the differential mobility of individuals and, in some cases, entire groups.
The standards for culturally responsive schools
address students, teachers, schools,
curriculum, and the community:
Cultural Standards for Students
Culturally knowledgeable students are well grounded in the cultural heritage and traditions of their community.
Culturally knowledgeable students are able to build on
the knowledge and skills of the local cultural community as a
foundation from which to achieve personal and academic success throughout life.
Culturally knowledgeable students are able to actively participate in various cultural environments.
Culturally knowledgeable students are able to engage effectively
in learning activities that are based on traditional ways
of knowing and learning.
Culturally knowledgeable students demonstrate an awareness
and appreciation of the relationships and processes of
interaction of all elements in the world around them.
Cultural Standards for Educators
Culturally responsive educators incorporate local ways of knowing and teaching in their work.
Culturally responsive educators use the local environment and community resources on a regular basis to link what they are teaching to the everyday lives of students.
Culturally responsive educators participate in community events and activities in an appropriate and supportive way.
Culturally responsive educators work closely with parents to achieve a high level of complimentary educational expectations between home and school.
Culturally responsive educators recognize the full educational
potential of each student and provide the challenges necessary for them
to achieve that potential.
Cultural Standards for Curriculum
A culturally responsive curriculum reinforces the integrity of the cultural knowledge that students bring with them.
A culturally-responsive curriculum recognizes cultural knowledge as part of a living and constantly adapting system that is grounded in the past, but continues to grow through the present and into the future.
A culturally responsive curriculum uses the local language and cultural knowledge as a foundation for the rest of the curriculum.
A culturally responsive curriculum fosters a complimentary relationship across knowledge derived from diverse knowledge systems.
A culturally responsive curriculum situates local knowledge
and actions in a global context.
Cultural Standards for Schools
A culturally responsive school fosters the on-going participation of elders in all aspects of the schooling process.
A culturally-responsive school provides multiple avenues
for students to access the learning that is offered, as well
as multiple forms of assessment for students to demonstrate what they have learned.
A culturally responsive school provides opportunities for students to learn in and/or about their heritage language.
A culturally responsive school has a high level of involvement
of professional staff who are of the same cultural background
as the students with whom they are working.
A culturally responsive school consists of facilities that are compatible with the community environment in which they are situated.
A culturally responsive school fosters extensive on-going
participation, communication and interaction between
the school and community personnel.
Cultural Standards for Communities
A culturally responsive community incorporates the practice of local culture traditions in its everyday affairs.
A culturally supportive community nurtures the use of the local heritage language.
A culturally supportive community takes an active role in the education of all of its members.
A culturally supportive community nurtures family responsibility, sense of belonging and cultural identity.
A culturally supportive community assists teachers in learning and utilizing local traditions and practices.
A culturally supportive community contributes to all aspects
of curriculum design and implementation in the local school.
The cultural standards developed by the Alaskan Native Educators Assembly are each underpinned by a set of competencies which describe the specific knowledge and capabilities which flow from the given standard. The concept of cultural responsiveness as articulated within the standards, unlike notions of cultural hegemony, moreover, provides a dynamic view of culture and its importance to individual identity and well being, community concern and caring and the learning process. It is an idea that allows the self and other to cohabitate in a mutually enriching relationship.
The ADB Institute is committed
to the ideal of integrated development. That is, development which is people-centered,
people involving and that meets the economic, learning, social, cultural
and spiritual needs of all people. At the core of integrated development
are the principles of equity, cultural responsiveness, sustainability,
efficacy, social integration and the capacity to choose. Education and
learning are central to integrated development, since they provide one
of the few contexts in which all of the principles underpinning it dynamically
ADB Institute Interest No.46
The Institute is interested in knowing more about how such a nonlinear participation
model can be developed and implemented in developing countries.