The next step in education evolution is… .


I have a theory about the evolution of education.

It may be that education evolved in the following manner.

  • The first step was to turn everything into subjects.

  • The second step was to form the subjects into a curriculum.

  • The third step was to manage the delivery of the curriculum through schools.

  • The fourth step was assess the learning by testing the students.

As new “subjects” came along they were absorbed into the curriculum and ways found to test how much the students had learnt.

Technology gave those who had a watching brief on education the ability to collect large amounts of data. The data allowed comparisons to be made between schools and countries throughout the world.

We then had the information revolution, a revolution which frightened many who had been at the front of and who were the beneficiaries of the previous revolutions. This revolution required a different workforce, one perhaps education in its current form was incapable of producing. Education needed to change but there is a problem and like evolution there is often a point in time when a mutation occurs that changes things for ever. Countries can not let such things like education evolve in such natural manner because so much national wealth, power and position is dependent on having a workforce that can support the new revolution.  Ideas need people to make them a reality, to make them into products or services that can generate wealth for a nation. No the education system could not be left to its own devices to evolve into whatever the next step was.  It had to be controlled, to be managed like it had in the past. This is where the conflict begins and evolution stumbles and slows, until that is, it finds a way to break through.

Ironically the means of breaking free of the politicians desire to control education is part of the very nature of the revolution they seek to lead. The information revolution is the driving force behind the next step in the evolution of education and it can not be blocked. Unfortunately we are in that time when few have actually realised this, they are trying to put out a fire that is already out of control and using primitive fire fighting techniques to do it. If what you are doing today is not working then doing more of what you did yesterday is unlikely to work either. Try telling the politicians that! If you have read “Who Moved my Cheese” you will know what I am trying to say here.

Learners have already found a way around the roadblock of education policy and the fight to control the curriculum we now need to support them. We need to implement the next step in the evolution of education. We need to move away from the concept of a subject based curriculum but I am not advocating the elimination of subjects. All I am advocating that they play a less central role in education. What should be at the center of education is an understanding of learning. I call this“LQ” or “Learning Intelligence” because it is how learners react, interact and manage their learning environment.

I present what I think is the next necessary step in the evolution of education.

  • To put LQ at the center of education.

After following some initial instinct children are taught by adults. They are taught to speak, to walk, to write, to read, to add and the list goes on until we reach the area of subjects in the formal education phase of their lives. Many of our beliefs about our abilities to learn are formed during these years and most are based on emotions rather than true talents or gifts. We associate the emotions we experience with the learning taking place. Fire hurts, it causes pain and we do not like it so we stay away from fire. If your experiences in school are painful we can not wait to get away from it. There is something so instinctive about this association of experience and emotion that we ignore it yet it continues to influence us throughout our lives. Think about your adult choices of career or interests and your experiences at school, my bet would be there is a link.  Yet we do not discuss, explore of “teach” children about the experience of learning. We allow them to build an emotional map which guides them throughout their lives. The only guide we provide them with for the rest of their lives is a list of qualifications which is supposedly an indication of what they are good at. Ask the adults around you if they are any good at maths and see what response you get. Can a GCSE or any other qualification really say what your talents are? How many adults have discovered talents or abilities later in life either by chance or through encouragement to give it another go and to overcome early emotional mapping?

Teaching children about the emotions associated with learning is a powerful next step in the evolution of education. It frees them from fear of failure and it allows them to constantly re draw their emotional map making future learning not only possible but an unavoidable outcome of living. It enables “life long learning” and frees education form political control.

Like all theories I am testing this one. The results so far are very encouraging.

An update

I haven’t given up! in 2021 I published my learning journal for teachers, a way of putting my theory into practice. It’s called ‘If you can’t reach them you can’t teach them. Building effectivelearning relationships’ and you can find out how it came about and details about starting here:


About AcEd

"4c3d" (AcEd) is the abbreviation for Advocating Creativity in education, a company I set up to challenge how we think about and deliver education. The blog champions my concept of Learning intelligence, how we manage our learning environment to meet our learning needs as well as detailing those needs: Power Belonging, Choice and Fun - PBCF. Kevin Hewitson 2019

One response to “The next step in education evolution is… .”

  1. ruthcatchen says :

    Very interesting take on your theory of education and its “evolution.” I have experienced what you discuss and understand the difficulty of making your ideas, which are fundamental to learning through experimenting and becoming life-long learners, tangible to many. I believe that STEM education is exactly the integrated pedagogy that you envision. I don’t understand why we separate learning into sub-segments. Life is really not like that. Don’t give up–small steps can make a difference.


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