The Need for Transformative Education

The Challenge

Society is built using a form of knowledge that does not connect it with the direct and indirect impacts of its actions on planet earth. The design and implementation of socio-economic systems make it increasingly difficult for humanity to be supported by the planet as it has in the past. We have not been, and in most cases still are not, taught how to anticipate systemic impacts in decisions and socio-economic designs. This persists at local and global levels.

The issue is compounded further – the change rate, driven by human actions, has become so rapid that education is failing to redesign itself fast enough. This is caused in part by its inability to envision the needed changes.

It is increasingly recognised that we need new skills and know how to help us reverse the unintended products of our mindsets and actions. These skills and know-how are not part of conventional education. The scale of the challenge is now being addressed by a variety of online universities with global reach. However, there is a need for more focused curricula that is designed to support both the individual and collective discovery of new paths forward.


Need for a New Educational Model

The interconnected challenges we are facing at the global, national and local levels are unprecedented. It becomes clear as we begin to navigate through this new territory, that the thinking behind our educational models is not equipped to address our urgent needs. Therefore,

Education based solely on past models will fail.


Education that learns from the past, based on navigating through uncertainty, and built on cooperation, can lead us to create a world we want to live in and pass on to generations to come.

This transition to a different epoch will require, worldwide, citizens with diverse perspectives – gained from a range of cultures, socio-economic status’, and belief systems. These global citizens must be capable of exercising local judgement and creativity in a global perspective. The current obsolete education will not be the answer – simply putting it all online is a technological fix that will fail.

For humanity to survive, the pattern of our current dominant civilization will need to be replaced by a new pattern. This societal transition will unavoidably entail disruption and turbulence of our current physical and mental structures. Essentially we are witnessing, and are part of a shift of civilizational paradigm.

Foresight in the Face of Uncertainty

The dynamics of this shift can be represented by an approach called The Three Horizons.

Horizon 1 is ‘business as usual’.

Horizon 3 is the new ‘unusual’ paradigm in the process of creation.

Horizon 2 is the turbulent transition between Horizon 1 and Horizon 3. Horizon 2 is both crisis and opportunity. The time span of transformation is probably three generations.

‘Horizon 1 education’, therefore, is the education system that supports the dominant Horizon 1 perspective. Where as Horizon 3 education supports the transition to a balanced one-planet living. H3Uni is an approach to education with the aim of providing a supportive environment for Horizon 3 learning to flourish. Conditions to support this include forging new pathways and constantly evolving the very definition of Horizon 3 education.

Inspired by the values of creating a turbulent transition towards a balanced one-planet, the opportunity exists for a pioneering group of people to wok within Horizon 2 to create an online and socially networked learning system that can reach millions of young people across the planet and provide them with an education that is based not on knowledge but on learning into the unknown.