Education Policy Research Series Discussion Document No. 2: Culture and Learning: Reconstructing Research on Learning for Students in Asia and the Pacific


This Discussion Document argues that learning needs to be viewed in the cultural contexts that construct it. Learning is not some objectified process that works the same way for all learners.

Social and cultural contexts provide inputs to learning and these factors need to be acknowledged. Connectionism may provide one metaphor for considering the importance of “activating the mind” although it may not provide a complete theoretical framework to view learning. Understanding learning better will help to address learning disparities in the region and this needs to be made a priority.

This Discussion Document argues that learning that produces knowledge is the requirement for success and that everything needs to be done to ensure that access to learning is equitable and that outcomes are fairly distributed.

This Discussion Document concludes with a suggestion for a future research agenda involving the regions’ universities and research communities. This ranges from supporting an action research agenda to building evidence-based practice in schools, to cutting edge cultural neuroscience research that can inform basic understanding about learning. Both kinds of research are needed and both can help move the learning agenda in the region forward.

Curriculum reform/designEast Asia and PacificSouth AsiaOriginal research

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