Beyond constructivism: navigationism in the knowledge era

Tom H. Brown (Based in the Department of Telematic Learning & Education Innovation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Publication date: 1 July 2006



This paper seeks to discuss past and present paradigm shifts in education and then to explore possible future learning paradigms in the light of the knowledge explosion in the knowledge era that is currently being entered.


New learning paradigms and paradigm shifts are explored.


Learning processes and learning paradigms are still very much founded in a content‐driven and knowledge production paradigm. The rapid developments in information and communication technologies already have and will continue to have a profound impact on information processing, knowledge production and learning paradigms. One needs to acknowledge the increasing role and impact of technology on education and training. One has already experienced enormous challenges in coping with the current overflow of available information. It is difficult to imagine what it will be like when the knowledge economy is in its prime.

Practical implications

Institutions should move away from providing content per se to learners. It is necessary to focus on how to enable learners to find, identify, manipulate and evaluate information and knowledge, to integrate this knowledge in their world of work and life, to solve problems and to communicate this knowledge to others. Teachers and trainers should become coaches and mentors within the knowledge era – the source of how to navigate in the ocean of available information and knowledge – and learners should acquire navigating skills for a navigationist learning paradigm.


This paper stimulates out‐of‐the‐box thinking about current learning paradigms and educational and training practices. It provides a basis to identify the impact of the new knowledge economy on the way one deals with information and knowledge and how one deals with learning content and content production. It emphasizes that the focus should not be on the creation of knowledge per se, but on how to navigate in the ocean of available knowledge and information. It urges readers to anticipate the on future and to explore alternative and appropriate learning paradigms.



Tom H. Brown (2006) "Beyond constructivism: navigationism in the knowledge era", On the Horizon, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 108-120

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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