Comparing Learning Systems

by Roland Meighan £6.99 (inc UK pp) 978-1-900219-28-0 118pp (kndle available)

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The good, the bad, the ugly and the counter-productive
and why home-based educating families have found one fit for a democracy

(the third book in this series)

It was a swedish colleague who identified the central focus of Roland's work as a sustained analysis of learning systems. He pointed out that his pattern of research into consulting learners about learning in schools, later followed by developing democratic learning co-operatives in teacher education, later switching to the study of home based education, looked eclectic. But actually they were studies of the logistics of different learning systems.

This book replaces an earlier volume, The next learning system: and why home schoolers are trailblazers. Most families opting out of schooling in favour of home based education, are reluctant educational heretics. Young learners may be less wary and have been known to provoke a reappraisal of their home based education with comments to the effect that if they have to "carry on learning this school type garbage they might as well learn it at school rather than pollute the home atmosphere."

Few families see themselves as field testing features of the next learning system, even though that is clearly the consequence of their success. Their aim is more modest - to bring happiness to a child or two. Their radicalism is either accidental or incidental. The success of the families frequently comes as a pleasant surprise to them and the reasons for the effectiveness of their learning often remain somewhat unarticulated. Others who observe and research their learning are better placed to show why they soon surpass the achievements of their schooled counterparts and to indicate how they may be blazing a trail to the next learning system.

Which learning system is best?

That depends on your purpose. The current learning systems in use in the UK, draw most of their inspiration from a victorian, totalitarian-style thinking on education, with the emphasis on mass schooling, heavy with coercion and domination.

The book ends with a consideration of the principles of a learning system fit for a democracy.


'Thank you, thank you for your lovely level-headed book!  It’s a model of clarity and good sense.'
John Taylor Gatto

'A fine review of why current schooling does not work and an indication of better alternatives.'

Professor Ian Cunningham in ‘Self managing, learning and democracy’

'The great value of Meighan’s book, of his life’s work, in fact, as an academic, a publisher and a writer, is that it tells us, quite simply, that education does not have to be the way it is.'

Gerald Haigh, review in Times Educational Supplement 27/5/05

'The book concludes with consideration of the principles to guide the next learning system that needs to offer ‘alternatives for everybody, all of the time’. …When you emerge from this book you will see a different educational world … of ‘what is and what might be’.

Alan Wilkins in Personalised Education No 3, Summer 2005

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