Towards a new theory of learning and development

Patrick Bradbery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


The Western education system has been criticised by Rupert Murdoch, among others, as a Nineteenth Century system failing to cope with the demands of the Twenty-first Century. Over the course of the Twentieth Century and beyond, research has revealed insights regarding the way in which humans learn. In fields as diverse as neuro-science, quantum physics, psychology, developmental theory and spirituality these insights have tumbled onto the stage. However, few of these insights have impacted significantly on the praxis of education. There is a disturbing sameness about the way in which learning is facilitated in educational institutions and other organisations. In particular, the confusion of knowledge acquisition and memorisation with learning, and narrow conceptions of development have contributed to the situation so harshly judged by Murdoch. In this paper, a new and more comprehensive theory of learning and development is presented. By integrating some of the insights revealed by Twentieth Century research, the process of learning is dissected and reimagined. Similarly, the process of development of the psyche is dissected and reimagined. The two are then integrated into a new theory which, among other things, takes account of the need to unlearn as part of the learning process, and the developmental nature of learning. Implications for educational praxis are discussed and recommendations made for changes in that praxis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of the Humanities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a new theory of learning and development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this