A Systems View of Teaching and Learning

Technological Potential and Sustainable, Supported Open Learning
  • Simon Bell
  • Andrew Lane


The central theme of this paper is the current interest amongst educational institutions in moving from teaching to learning as their main paradigm and the implications which technology media have for unravelling the debate and influencing the resulting practice (for example see Active Learning: Using the Internet for Teaching, Number 2, July, 1995). A second theme is how we use language, metaphor and models to describe systems for teaching and learning and what is the role of technology in relation to these systems and vice versa. The final theme is that of moving from an analysis of individual technologies, to a synthesis of the educational ideas into a sustainable system. The movement towards learning and away from teaching is consistent with some of the long-standing traditions of education, particularly involving adults. Interestingly, this educational model should be conducive to the needs of students who are largely self-motivating and self-selecting in their absorption of educational products—a potential definition of the United Kingdom Open University student. In fact this is remarkably in line with the sentiments of the Open University’s first Chancellor, Lord Crowther, who said that the OU is: Open as to people, Open as to places, Open as to methods, and Open as to ideas. The models set out in this section will be used as points of reference and comparison in the sections which follow. We will also develop our analysis in the light of three ‘virtuous goals for education’ ~ connectivity, co-operation, and creativity.


System View Educational Product Teaching Paradigm Educational Idea Potential Definition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Bell
    • 1
  • Andrew Lane
    • 1
  1. 1.Systems Department, Technology FacultyOpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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