Paradigm shift towards the 3rd wave learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


In response to the challenges of globalization, technology breakthrough, and economic competition, many countries have already started to change their education systems from its traditional models towards new ones for enhancing the future competitiveness and development of their students and societies. In particular, preparing for huge impacts of new technologies and related transformations, this article aims to advocate paradigm shifts in learning from the traditional site bounded paradigms of 1st wave and 2nd wave towards the future paradigm of 3rd wave. It provides a worldwide perspective to illustrate how the paradigms shape the major characteristics of education and its policy agendas in fundamental but different ways. It also explains how the 3rd wave paradigm characterized by initiatives of triplization (including individualization, localization, and globalization), contextualized multiple thinking (CMT), creativity, ICT application and ecosystem in learning can create unlimited learning opportunities for students to develop their lifelong capacity for sustainable development in the 21st century. In this article, the theory of CMT (including technological, economic, social, political, cultural and learning thinking) and creativity, and the theory of self-learning in a networked human and technological environment are also introduced for re-conceptualizing the nature and scope of learning in the era of digital transformation. It is hoped that the proposed theories can provide a new framework to facilitate a paradigm shift towards the 3rd wave in policies and practices of learning, teaching and curriculum reform and broaden the possibilities and approaches in developing CMT and creativity of students in the new era. Copyright © 2019 authors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDrivers of the future of education: Proceedings from the Regional Center for Educational Planning’s 5th International Conference
Editors RCEP team
Place of PublicationUnited Arab Emirates (UAE) and UNESCO
PublisherRegional Center for Educational Planning (RCEP)
Publication statusPublished - 05 Nov 2019


Cheng, Y. C. (2019). Paradigm shift towards the 3rd wave learning. In RCEP team (Ed.), Drivers of the future of education: Proceedings from the Regional Center for Educational Planning’s 5th International Conference (pp. 6-17). United Arab Emirates (UAE) and UNESCO: Regional Center for Educational Planning (RCEP).


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