Learning is Not A Place But An Activity

by Jay Deragon on 03/08/2013

climb the treeBecause of the internet we’ve rediscovered the joy of learning and realized the old learning methods have become obsolete.  Now people are learning what they don’t know but need to know.

We go to school to learn from teachers who have learned enough about a subject to be qualified to “teach”. So teachers have taught us what they know and society has assumed that model prepares the human network with the needed skills and knowledge to be productive.

The old models of learning suggested that we came to a place (building or campus) to learn. The campus was like a learning factory were lots of students came to learn from the few teachers. The teachers job was to produce students who were able to repeat the use of the knowledge provided by the teacher.  Society assumed the output of learning factories were knowledge workers.

What if the assumptions and models are wrong? Who will teach us what we don’t know but need to know?  How do we learn what we don’t know and where are the schools that teach us what we don’t know but need to know? To find these answers means we need to learn how to rethink learning.

Reframing Learning

inline learningThe interent has changed alot of things about how and what people learn. Old teaching institutions have attempted to adapt by leveraging the old teaching models into online educational modules.

The model of learning didn’t change just the delivery process. At the recent TED2013 conference  Sugata Mitra accepted the 2013 TED Prize for his talk titled    “Build A School in the Clouds“.  Sugata examines where the present learning models came from and illustrates that these models are outdated and do not address the true meaning and methods of learning.  The current education system is obsolete and it is time to change the models.

Andrew McAfee writes in an HBR article titled “Stop Requiring College Degress”  You’ve noticed by now that ‘a college degree’ is not in this list of signals. That’s because I think it’s a pretty lousy one, and getting worse all the time. In fact, I think one of the most productive things an employer could do, both for themselves and for society at large, is to stop placing so much emphasis on standard undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The two stories above simply illustrate the emerging new models of learning. There are hundreds of other frames of reference to point to which articulates the changing dynamics and models of learning. The new frames of learning clearly show that the process is not a place but an activity.

In the Social Era learning, along with everything else, is best accomplished through self organization. Life is now the school that teaches us the most.

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