Part of the Responsible Subversives Network Beta

Equipping future generations to shape a better world Who are we?

About the Initiative

Welcome to the 21st Century Learning Initiative, which represents the ideas in our Responsible Subversives Network. We are an organisation that synthesises research and articles on learning and learning processes. In this site you will find research into learning spanning 30 years – more than 400 articles, interviews and presentations. We also have a library of more than 5,000 books and have published half a dozen books on learning.

The initiative started life in 1983 as Education 2000 and became the 21st Century Learning Initiative in 1995. The initiative was set up 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.

For the better part of thirty years, meetings, lectures, seminars, presentations and reviews of numerous pieces of research, have been made in some 40 countries. Our most recent Animations have been downloaded in some 145 countries upwards of 300,000 times.

We are constantly adding to our knowledge base by synthesising the emerging findings from a variety of disciplines and social programmes concerned with human learning, and the building of sustainable community as a support for human endeavour. This synthesis is published from time to time in various articles, books, and broadcasts.

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.

A note from John Abbott, the initiative’s founder and research curator
As the only person who has been actively involved since the start, it falls to me to provide this introduction to what is a quite enormous Archive that, in one way or another, involves several hundred thousand pages of text.

This starts with the thoughts of ancient thinkers, such as Confucius with his explanation of why Showing is better than Telling, but nothing like as good as Doing, through to St Augustine’s observation that he learnt most not from those who taught him but from those who talked with him, up to the emergence of neuroscientific explanations for the operation of the brain in terms of what is now called Neural Darwinism.

To make much of this readily accessible, stimulating and eminently useable this has been organised into a Timeline comprised of some two dozen “folders” (each a period in time) each covering either a specific time period, or a self-contained topic.

Each folder opens with a short explanation of the issues to be covered and then the key document that best exemplify the contents of that folder’s topic, using a visual hierarchy to show their significance.

Find out more about John Abbott, his work in education and the evolution of the Initiative.

Also in the Responsible Subversives Network

The Responsible Subversives network consists of three inter-linked sites that aim to provide the ideas, the inspiration and a community of people interested in equipping future generations to shape a better world.

The ideas
The 21 Century Learning Initiative website is an archive of material selected from the past 30 years broken down into meaningful chronological eras as well as sorted by tag and category.

We facilitate the emergence of new approaches to learning that draw upon a range of insights into the hum a brain, the functioning of human societies, and learning as a community-wide activity.

We are constantly looking to share the ideas of our 21st Century Learning Initiative archive in ever-more accessible ways. To see the animations we have produced, take a look at our inspirational animations on our Born to Learn site.

Our Responsible Subversives community
We also have a growing community of Responsible Subversives, a place for people who want to connect and discuss how to change the world by changing the way we raise our children.Please join in in the discussion.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.