Document Type : Original Research Paper


Teacher of Philosophy of Education, Islamic Azad University, Electronic Branch, Tehran, IRan.


Complexity theory is a new theory originally introduced in natural sciences; however, recently it has been widely used in social sciences, and has been of great interest to educators in the last two decades. Since complexity theory is yet fairly unknown in the majority of fields of science in Iran, especially in education and curriculum development, it is necessary to describe its concepts and implications. The objective of this paper is to determine how the complexity theory and its implications can provide solutions for the current curriculum problems. This work presents a basic research approach, in which two philosophical research methods of “conceptual analysis: conceptual structure assessment” and “deductive method: practical syllogism” have been used. The results of this paper show that the application of philosophical features of the complexity theory can enable us to improve the current curriculums. Some of the implications of the complexity theory are: paying particular attention to the complex aspects of learners and their interactions with the universe; developing general mental abilities, applying trans-disciplinary approaches and problem-based curriculums, promoting contextualized knowledge and selecting educational resources and materials related to ecological problems; replacing distributed, participatory and negotiating knowledge with controlled-based and hierarchy-based one; promoting lifetime learning and distance learning, emphasizing learning through feedback, connection and network interaction by applying the new complex network-based technologies, and being prepared for continuous changes in unpredictable situations.


  • Complexity theory emphasizes the new concepts of “self-organization, emergence, and edge of chaos”.
  • This theory  pays particular attention to the complex nature of humans and their interactions with the universe.
  • This theory supports contextualized, distributed and participatory knowledge and trans-disciplinary approach, lifetime learning, and learning through educational network-based technologies.


Main Subjects

Dembski, W. A. (2006). No free lunch: Why specified complexity cannot be purchased without intelligence. Rowman & Littlefield.
Sinclair, M. (2006). Teaching with technology: Complexity theory as a lens for reflecting on practice. In C. Hoyles, J-B. Lagrange, L.H. Son & N. Sinclair (Eds.), Proceedings of the Seventeenth ICMI Study Conference “Technology Revisited”, (CD ROM) December 3-8 2006. Hanoi: Hanoi University of Technology.