The 21st Century Learning Initiative’s essential purpose is to facilitate the emergence of new approaches to learning that draw upon a range of insights into the human brain, the functioning of human societies and learning as a community-wide activity. We believe this will release human potential in ways that nurture and form local democratic communities worldwide, and will help reclaim and sustain a world supportive of human endeavor.
The 21st Century Learning Initiative was established in 1995 by a group of English and American businessmen and organizations to make sense of research on learning and learning processes that were fragmented in many different disciplines and embedded in many different universities, research institutions and businesses around the world. It has now reached the stage where it is offering training programs to organizations and groups in the United Kingdom and Canada.
The Initiative believes that the more that is discovered about how the brain works and the various motives which drive human behaviour, the more we are convinced that education has to be about much more than intellectual development, and that learning and schooling are certainly not necessarily synonymous. What politicians and commentators in many lands describe as being “a crisis in schools” is, we believe, better understood as a crisis in society’s commitment to young people. All this is aggravated by a materialistic agenda that degrades the spiritual needs of individuals and nations in the single-minded drive towards economic profitability.
The 21st Century Learning Initiative has more than 15 years of experience working directly with community leaders and educators at the grassroots level on issues of educational reform. This experience goes back to the efforts of Education 2000, which was established in 1983 and worked in nine communities around the United Kingdom on “mobilizing the full resources of the community, the power of new technology and the most recent research on effective learning strategies.” Since 1995, the Initiative has worked with communities and organizations in countries around the world.
Fifth graders told they would be graded on how well they learned a social studies lesson had more trouble understanding the main point of the text than did those who were told that no grades would be involved.
Programs at Work