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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Learning

Put learning back into education!Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given… that separates one person from another - Nelson Mandela.

All peopleThe sameness dimension of beingness. learn, some peopleThe similar dimension of beingness. apply similar learning strategies and yet no two individualsThe difference dimension of beingness. learn in exactly the same way. With this in mind, it is ludicrous to assume that a specific learning methodology can be develop that is suitable for all people… all of the time… and for all possible learning opportunities. We must have the freedom to select and adapt learning strategies that best suit our natural learning strategy and which is fitting for the context or the circumstances under which we have to learn.

Stemming from the industrial revolution and well research by quite a number of highly qualified psychologists, educationalists and researchers; a learning methodology was developed and implemented for all people and most circumstances. This eventually developed into the standardized teaching norm of today and when an individual struggle to achieve success with this “norm for learning”, then the problem lies with the individual and not the educational or teaching system.

The basic elements of most modern day educational and training methodologiesDespite lofty ideals and lip services to the contrary - the core methodology of modern day education and training - is establishing indoctrination centres where individuals are send to be stripped of their individuality and creativity to be turned into a soul dead conformist slave to the consumer culture. can briefly be highlighted as follows….

  • confine a number of healthy energetic individuals in a square room.
  • place a well trained and prepared teacher/trainer in front of them.
  • let this person use scientifically research teaching methods to convey information.
  • use plenty of examples to bring the real world into the classroom.
  • let learners explore by means of asking questions and do interpretations of learning materials.
  • if possible and time permitting, take learners to experience the “outside” reality.
  • assess their understanding by means of a test, exam or assignment and a project or two.
  • keep learning contents focused and within the parameters of a specific subject area and pre-defined curriculum.
  • ensure success by repeating the process frequently, for as long as it takes.
  • learn first, all that is there to learn and then “escape” into the outside world to “do” your thing in the real world.

Although there is some merit to this line of teaching - for one thing, it was successfully used for a number of decades - it is gradually becoming less and less effective, due to a world that is rapidly changing and in which “removed” and “fragmented” academic learning no longer serve the purpose of modern day demands. The what of teaching - for the bigger part - is still valid, but the how of teaching is largely outdated. Learning through experience, trail-and-error and solving “real problems” should be re-instated in the how of teaching and a learning strategy. Thus, a “DO first, then LEARN”-focus, rather than a “LEARN first, then DO”-focus.

At first glance, it may seem that this approach to learning is completely “new”. It isn't! This is the most natural way for people to learn and we are doing it (knowingly and unknowingly) ever since man first arrive on this planet. It is a natural learning strategy for man - do first then learn - and suitable for all people, with some adaptations here and there to fit the context of the situation. Being “jailed” in a square room is “unnatural” and an unhealthy residue from the industrial revolution. The manner in which ALL children learn… to talk, to walk, socialize, …etc. is successful in most cases, except in the presence of serious problems such as - for example - severe brain damage, malfunctioning senses or missing limbs.

Therefore, we should actively encourage and realign teaching and/or learning opportunities to apply a methodology of “first learn, then do” less and less; while emphasizing and focusing more on 'first do, then learn'.

For example…

When teaching a person to drive… do we fragment the driving learning processTo learn and practicing changing gears, switching on the car, using the indicators, turning the steering wheel, …etc. and when the different skills are well established, only then we let the individual drive? NO…, we expose the person to the “whole, complete, total, holistic” driving experience at once. First in simple less threatening more controllable situations and - as s/he learns from his/her mistakes, gain the necessary experience, competency, confidence and accept responsibility for his/her actions - we gradually expose him/her to more complex, difficult and complicated driving situations and circumstances.

I rest my case, people are learning in this manner for centuries, very successfully and is still actively employing in modern day learning strategies. Unfortunately, 90% of the time outside of the present formal educational and teaching system.

Would it be easy to convert the present educational and learning system of “first learn then do” into a “first do, then learn” system? Definitely NOT.

I don't teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. ~Albert Einstein

Is this a task of total impossibility? Again, No!

Providing that we consistently place the proper learning emphasis and focus on…

  • learning by implementation,
  • co-operative learning,
  • focused learning,
  • learning by collaboration,
  • life-long learning and
  • manage learning interactions by employing a reliable monitoring system of learning.

Best illustrated with the following images…

The Cone of Learning illustrate and emphasize the following…

  1. For effective and efficient learning to take place, learning should be supported and facilitated by means of critical thinking processes. In the words of Albert Einstein… “I don't teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”.
  2. Learning, education, teaching and training should focus on accommodating diversity, rather than promoting conformity via standardized test and a predefined curriculum (e.g. matriculation examinations).
  3. Learning and teaching activities should be based on and source richly from curiosity. Curiosity is the natural driving force behind and the true engine of learning. Unfortunately though, most places of education/training today, strictly enforce compliance (e.g. identified unit standards and the NQF predefined framework of “competency”).
  4. All people are natural co-creators and shape their own life’s by taking deliberate creative actions, which in the end is the main source of human diversity. However - as a matter of fact - standardization is currently encourage and rewarded by society as the “correct/right way” of co-creating one's life, with little to no tolerance, nor accommodation, for creativity and individuality. But sadly expecting it in the end.
  5. An awareness of and understanding that a different paradigm of learning is required to deal with change in modern times.
Efficient learning isn't filling an empty mind with knowledge and facts, but to transform a close mind into an open mind. ~Jan Viljoen & People create their own success by learning what they need to learn and then by practicing it until they become proficient at it. ~Brian Tracy


The following talks delivered - at TED - by Sir Ken Robinson, might provide to the viewer with an extended learningDiscovering potential, understanding uniqueness and optimal self-actualization founded on continuous development and growth. perspective and contextualize the learning approach followed, encouraged and promoted within the AltanaESP Network of services.

Education that nurtures (rather than underminesAs it is presently the case… world wide! ) creativity and individualism…

3 Troubling trends: the increasing gapThe alarming gap that exits between what education/training actually has to offer and the needs of a current place of work. , education's rapid dwindling stake in learning and the rising ADHD epidemic…

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