The Expert Learners of Tomorrow

In yet one more must-read post by Will Richardson he takes us back almost a decade to the writings of Tom Carroll speculating how we would design school buildings from scratch as learning spaces not classrooms. Will found many prescient ideas that are very relevant today. Will picked up this quote from Tom’s paper that also resonates strongly with me:

In the networked learning communities of the future, expert learners (we call them teachers, educators, scientists, and researchers today) are going to be recognized for their ability to learn and help others learn, as they continue to construct new knowledge and develop their own expertise. Their job will not be to teach – but to help others learn, as they model learning through collaboration to solve problems and achieve goals they have in common. (A significant part of the expert learner’s role will be organizing and managing the collaborative learning community.)

The only changes I would suggest is that we now know that is not only teachers, educators, scientists and researchers can change into expert learners. Just from those around me that I know well you can add librarians, social media strategists, bloggers and podcasters to the list. In fact, anyone in any discipline can become an expert learner. All they need is life experience, dedication and the communications skills to employ online social networking tools to encourage novice learners. Note that the dreaded work teacher drops from the lexicon and everyone is a learner, mirroring real life in the 21st Century.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

2 Responses to The Expert Learners of Tomorrow

  1. Tomaz Lasic says:

    Hi Michael

    Good post.

    In short, the label ‘teacher’ becomes a placeholder and we move to a place of mentorship – horizontal (peers), vertical (experts), distributed (community). Right?

    This is a scary thought to most voters today. How do we pull this off? Be interested to hear you thoughts…

    You may this of interest

    You may also take a peek at my ramblings at

    Cheers. Tomaz

  2. Michael Rees says:

    Tomaz, very good summary. Thanks for your blog URL although I already follow your Twitter thougths. I don’t have a full answer for ‘how’ to achieve universal mentorship yet. I suspect, as always, a slow, incremental convergence is all we can hope for.


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