What is Learning and Change Networks?

Learning and Change Networks are a new way of working for New Zealand students, their families, schools and communities.

Background of the Strategy


Jean Annan and Rose Carpenter, 2014. See full article here

The Learning and Change Network strategy (LCN) was developed to accelerate achievement for students yet to achieve national expectations for literacy and numeracy through future-focused learning environments. Learning and Change Networks involves networks of students, parents, teachers, and community members from multiple schools to collaborate in developing innovative new learning environments.

Participants from each network’s schools work in communities of practice to find out what they can change to accelerate achievement. Networks are structured to support:

  • Lateral learning connections among all participants
  • Appreciation of positive supports and achievements
  • Active participation of all participants in students’ learning
  • Cultural alignment of learning environments.

Learning and Change Networks has not rushed the understanding and change process. They have collaborated on in-depth analyses of students’ contexts, taking time to ensure that students, teachers, families, and whānau make direct contributions to plans, actions, and indicators of change.

What is ‘lateral learning and change’?

Lateral learning and change is about people with common interests learning from one another and making changes that improve what they think and do. Knowledge has authority in deciding what and how to do things, not positions in a hierarchy.

Here is a narrative explanation: “A young Maori boy eating his breakfast at the kitchen table reads some feedback about a story he has written from a friend in Bangladesh, a professor in England who follows his writing online and his nana. He laughs and tells his mum nana’s comment about the funny endings to his stories and she laughs because she agrees with nana. He closes his netbook, kisses his mum goodbye and races off to school with a sparkle in his eye thinking about how he and his mates will answer the question from the professor in England.”

This young boy is fortunate to be in a school and community that embraces the idea that people both young and old are forming a variety of lateral network arrangements to learn and change what they think and do. He, his teachers, school leaders and family have not thrown away the idea that high quality teaching is important because it is. What they realised together was that he loves learning so much more when he can work with supportive adults to integrate ideas that interest him in his day-to-day life with ideas he has to learn from the curriculum in school.


Videos on Learning and Change Networks and from Networks