Picture of George Roberts
What is learning
by George Roberts - Friday, 29 November 2013, 02:59 PM
 

Hi all

Let's get straight to it. What is learning? How would you define the term? How do you experience it?

 
Picture of Anand Vasudevan
Re: What is learning
by Anand Vasudevan - Friday, 7 February 2014, 05:07 AM
 

For me learning falls into two categories:

1. acquisition of knowledge/facts and

2. gaining critical and analytical skills to make connections between disparate     knowledge/facts

I really liked the conceptions of learning as it provides a framework to categorize different aspects of learning and it helps one to assess if the learning technique is addressing the manner in which we learn (process) or achieving a goal (product or outcome).

By categorizing we can critically evaluate where the learning is focused- that is, are we as teachers prioritizing the process or the end product and then we can seek to redress the balance.  

Learning can be experienced in many ways and teachers can use educational questionnaires like VARK (visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic) to understand the learning styles of their audience and then design courses/assessments based on their learning styles. 

 

Picture of Liza Sherry
Re: What is learning
by Liza Sherry - Saturday, 8 February 2014, 06:15 PM
 

Hi Anand

I found your post thought provoking - I suppose when I noted 'understanding' of knowledge/skills and its relevance to me' I was thinking of the critical analysis. I prefer your succint interpretation, thank you.

I hadn't known learning as the three concepts before and they do provide a helpful framework. They provide a clarity to the notion of learning.

I do feel that if learning is to be acquired for the long term then knowledge needs to be internalised, has to processed by the individual to be retained. The information then may not be used immediately but may be added to previous or future knowledge. So the outcome of learning may not be immediate.  

So to answer your question - are we as teachers prioritising the process.... I think perhaps sometimes we do out of necessity but sometimes we are unable to because the student takes the date (given) and internalises it and then uses it for his/her own purpose.

Thank you (better stop there - thoughts running away with me haha!)

Liza

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Monday, 10 February 2014, 09:43 AM
 

Hi Liza

The notion of "The information then may not be used immediately" is one that I worry about.

For me it is linked to the idea of relevance of learning. If I don't need to use this informtion / learning now why am I learning it now? I guess my answer would be in getting the learner see the relevance of the learning and tapping into their interests.

Neil

Picture of Liza Sherry
Re: What is learning
by Liza Sherry - Monday, 10 February 2014, 12:07 PM
 

Hi Neil

THank you for this.

What I was thinking was that sometimes we can see the relevance but sometimes we choose to learn something (perhaps subconsciously) that only has tentative links to the subject we are interested in at the time. But we store the information and at a later date the information is there - perhaps not in full but it stimulates and reminds us of a link to pursue in regard to the latest topic.

I do see your point and I suppose following this then, for me,  is to ensure relevance of subject to students teaching. Which reminds me of attention blindness ie that we dont blind our students with too much information that they miss our point.

Thank you

Liza

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Monday, 10 February 2014, 02:19 PM
 

Hi Liza

Ah OK, I see what you mean.

Does this relate to learning for learning's sake. I love learning and often learn lots of fairly useless stuff!

My fear is that schooling and the focus on assessment, especially in the UK, takes away a love of learning. How do we get this back in our students if it has gone?

I like the last point as well. I think that is why the one minute paper or short evaluation of one thing I learnt today at the end of a session can be really helpful.

Neil

Picture of Liza Sherry
Re: What is learning
by Liza Sherry - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 11:55 PM
 

Hi Neil

I agree, so much of learning in our culture is about assessment, though I agree it is necessary, it does often detract away from the enjoyment of learning.

I too love learning and agree with Anastasia (12.2.14) earlier on our course when she said the teacher is a perpetual student. Perhaps those who love learning are...

Perhaps instilling in students an interest to learn coupled with enthusiasm on our behalf goes some way to help them to find this wish/desire to learn. 

Liza

my profile pic
Re: What is learning
by Simon Llewellyn - Friday, 14 February 2014, 12:07 PM
 

I completely agree with Lisa and I love the idea of the 'perpetual student'.

I think revolves around the idea of self-improvement and motivation in that respect.

What I've wondered though (as my tastes / courses I've taken vairy wildly - from pottery to physics) does it matter what we learn or is it the act of learning that counts?

Simon

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Friday, 14 February 2014, 01:48 PM
 

Hi SImon

Isn't there something about learning (anything) helps to combat alzheimer's in later life?

Neil

marion waite
Re: What is learning
by Marion Waite - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 08:14 AM
 

I agree with Liza, not all learning is immediately applicable or relevant but can make sense at a later date.

I think we discussed this in the backchannel of the week 1 webinar. We immediately want to see the impact or effects. This is what is so limiting about our current University approach to module evaluation.

Also we don't always get to chose everything that is included in the curriculum that we deliver. For example this course is underpinned by the PSF pathway and many of our health care courses have to meet professional body requirements but do you know what, I don't think the prescribed curriculum is necessarily a bad thing.

This was something I learned as a new lecturer. I was responsible for a non-medical prescribing course. I had shared anxieties with the learners about the pharmacology content. An evaluation I did with learners two years down the line was that this was the least important component in prescribing practice, the professional and legal issues whilst dull at the point of delivery had most relevance in practice.  I wrote a chapter in a book centered on this content (not a reveting read) but it is the most downloaded and cited of my publications.

I think what I am trying to say is, yes I agree with Liza and that it is hard to define 'what is learning'.

Marion

Picture of Liza Sherry
Re: What is learning
by Liza Sherry - Saturday, 8 February 2014, 05:55 PM
 

What is learning?

For me learning is - acquiring new knowledge/skills and an understanding of them and their importance/relevance to me/my work. Learning may be for pleasure or for work.

When it is for work - others may or may not wish to know my new knowledge- but I may need to share the information if it is the latest evidence and it is for the benefit of clients/service.

Likewise the desire to gain new knowledge in regard to work may have been a top down approach and I may have been required to ‘learn’ new knowledge/skills. The question then is: what meaning does the learning have and what will the retention of the information be like..? 

Picture of Joel Chijioke Nwalozie
Re: What is learning
by Joel Chijioke Nwalozie - Friday, 14 February 2014, 01:26 AM
 

To learn is to be curious about what or something one wishes to know. Homo sapiens as we are learn to know and not vice versa. Learning is therefore a challenging intellectual activity at work in the human person.  That activity may be geared towards academic, non-academic or for vocational training.

Learning must aim to achieve targets and none of us lecturers should be in denial. In an academic milieu the targets are both formative and summative assessments. The final target which is dependent on the beneficiary is what the assessments produced in the long run - job or self employment. That is why students  are always asking their tutor what to do to pass both the formative and summative assessments. My question is: do people learn just to pass an assessment or to empower themselves to build a better and progressive society?

Chijioke Nwalozie

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Friday, 14 February 2014, 09:51 AM
 

Hi Chijioke

I think assessment and employment has been a powerful driver of learning. Schooling and university have become more focussed on assessment outcomes. Although I like to think we still learn for purposes other than assessment.

If you are interested in the more emancipatory or transformative role of learning and education, you might look at the work of Paulo Freire or Jack Mezirow.

Neil

Picture of Joel Chijioke Nwalozie
Re: What is learning
by Joel Chijioke Nwalozie - Sunday, 16 February 2014, 12:26 AM
 

Hello Neil,

I can see that Paulo Freire (1921-1997) was influenced by events of his own society. Being born and raised in Brazil where oppression, poverty and deprivation made many people in his country not to be educated. He went through hardships to become a distinguised educator of his time hence his seminal work, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" (1968). His Marxist socialist ideology brought about transformation and liberation of many of his people through education. The saying that "knowledge is power" bears testimony to Freire's life and works. What about people like Nelson Mandela? Can we say that learning and education influenced their political agenda for liberation and transformation? When Mandela said: 'the road to freedom is irreversible", was he teaching his people? How did they learn? When does learning actually stop? Chijioke Nwalozie

Erm...me.
Re: What is learning
by Nicholas Saunders - Monday, 10 February 2014, 11:13 AM
 

What is Learning?
The process of acquiring information and skills necessary to particular objectives. Using your experience to influence future behaviour.

How do you experience it?
Personally, I find a combination of instruction and experience works best. I can tell a student or group that they need to be doing certain things in an exam or an essay, but they will learn more if they can see this for themselves. 

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Monday, 10 February 2014, 02:24 PM
 

Interesting that we have knowledge and skills coming up time and again in the definitions leading to changes in behaviour.

What about attitude / values?

Do we attempt to help students learn specific values and attitudes? Should we?

Neil

Picture of irene sevilla
Re: What is learning
by irene sevilla - Tuesday, 11 February 2014, 10:31 AM
 

What is learning?

Nicholas, I do agree with your definition, however, I think that each person has his own strategies to complete the process of learning and acquisition, and inside this big group of strategies, we can find some subgrups, where the experience of the student is. 

In my opinion, learning is the process of acquiring new information and skills. However, to get this acquisition we have to use our own strategies, such as: experience, memory, previous knowledge, imitation, etc. Each person knows which strategy works better for him. Moreover, I think the student has to be motivated and comfortable with the subject, the content, theacher and colleages, because without motivation there is not place for learning- and specially for acquiring new info. 

 

What do you think?

 

Irene

marion waite
Re: What is learning
by Marion Waite - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 08:16 AM
 

Hi Irena

Yes I agree with you. Perhaps easy to identify the knowledge and skills of the discipline but the contextual strategies and social and human context are equally important and creating this is the real skill in teaching.

Marion

Picture of Joel Chijioke Nwalozie
Re: What is learning
by Joel Chijioke Nwalozie - Friday, 14 February 2014, 01:50 AM
 

Hello Neil,

To talk about helping students to learn specific values and attitudes is a herculian task. Let me presume that you are refering to variables such as respect and discipline in an academic environment.  You know as I do that such words are almost extinct. For example, if the university policy says that no student should eat in the lecture theatre or use mobile phone while the lecture is on, how many students may adhere to such slide rules? Learning cannot be complete if values and attitudes are wanting in academic institutions. Of course every teacher should first of all have such values and attitudes before attempting to impart them to students. One latin phrase says: 'nemo dat quod non habet', meaning: 'no one gives what he or she does not have'. This is a challenge of our time.  Chijioke Nwalozie

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Friday, 14 February 2014, 10:24 AM
 

Hi

I think respect and discipline are earned in a social setting that values everyone's contributions rather than taught. I was interested to read CalTech's honour code, "No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community." There is no need for lots of 'petty' rules. It is a very simple statement that enshrines the notion of trust. 

In the UK, I think a lot of trust in education and educators has been lost.

In terms of values, I think we should and can mould the values of students. For example, in social work, nursing, teaching etc. we not only need to teach students the content and skills required but we need to help them develop the values that those professions deem important. Professionalism (which is often underpinned by values) is crucial to student employability. 

Pasceralla and others have done a lot of work on the impact of a college education in the US. In one they state

"findings suggest that the undergraduate college experience had a significant, unique impact on the humanizing of values that is independent of the individual characteristics the student brings to college." (Pascerala et al 1988: 429)

The value of experiential learning is very powerful here. We can not always directly teach the required values but we can create experiential learning situations that shape student values.

You are right to say we whould start with our own values. Our aims here are to encourage reflective practice and critical self-assessment. To encourage respect for diversity, to encourage a consideration for the student perspective.

This course is underpinned by the UK professional standards framework values.

Neil


Picture of sue watling
Re: What is learning
by sue watling - Friday, 14 February 2014, 01:00 PM
 

I agree with the power of experiential learning. I advocate inclusive digital practice in particular for users of assistive technology – not very successfully I have to say – people do tend to see accessibility as someone else’s responsibility :-( It was only when I started teaching an online course for staff and put them in the position of students unable to access materials because they were not inclusive (deliberately I hasten to add) that I felt a sense of change and began to see increased references to the value of inclusion. Creating experiential learning situations seems to be - for me at least - a foundation for teaching practice.  

marion waite
Re: What is learning
by Marion Waite - Monday, 17 February 2014, 10:10 AM
 

Hi Sue

I completely identify with your inclusive digital practice. I think putting teaching online is very powerful for any community of practice of teachers. I think when teachers are siloed in their classrooms there is a danger of lack of peer-review. This changes when their practice is online. That has been my personal experience.

Marion

Picture of George Roberts
Re: What is learning
by George Roberts - Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 10:09 AM
 

So, what is the difference between learning and knowledge? Is one something that you have and the other something that you do? Do you do learning to get knowledge? I am sure that is part of it. But not all.

Let's look at knowledge for a moment. It may well be something that we have, but what is it? Is knowledge something "out there" beyond us which we seek to find? Do the "rules of physics" exist for us to discover? Or do we make the rules to describe our experience of the world. In philosophy this might be described as the realist v. idealist dilemma. For the idealist, knowledge is "in here": a property of the knower. Not "out there" a property of the world. A problem with this position is that it can lead to an absolute relativism and little shared certainty. The realist position on the other hand might lead to dogma. And, although it appeals to common-sense, a strict realist epistemology does not appear to accord with how people learn, which seems very much to be by building their own knowledge in groups (society/communities/culture).

Hazel Rothera
Re: What is learning
by Hazel Rothera - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 03:03 PM
 

I've spent all week, in the context of this discussion, mulling over the following well-known quote from T.S. Eliot's Choruses from The Rock:

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

It's a line which has often been thrown around in the internet age, and has always niggled me as a librarian because of its apparent denigration of the value of information (the cornerstone of my profession!) and the thought which has been forming for me is that perhaps learning is about turning these lines on their head:

First, we acquire some information (external; facts or data about the world or experience)

Secondly, we process that information ourselves, relate it to what we already know, question it, integrate it (if we are convinced it is correct) into our existing model of the world, and turn it into knowledge

Finally, we ask ourselves what it means for us? Does it change how we think, or act?  At which point, we may have moved from acquiring information, to generating knowledge, to acquiring (a small piece of) wisdom...

This then seemed to dovetail rather well with the questions frequently used to exemplify reflective learning cycles or models: "What?" [information] "So what?" [knowledge] "Now what?" [wisdom]

If we have moved through all those three stages in any context, I would argue that learning has definitely taken place...

Picture of Liza Sherry
Re: What is learning
by Liza Sherry - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 11:42 PM
 

Hi Hazel

Wow!

thank you for your very thought provoking post. I have just sat here and thought... !

Information.... knowledge.... wisdom...

It feels like there is a theory in there somewhere

Liza

Hazel Rothera
Re: What is learning
by Hazel Rothera - Friday, 14 February 2014, 10:34 AM
 

I'm glad I provoked thought Liza!

I'm sure it already exists out there as a theory somewhere, I've just not come across it yet! But the Eliot quote did help me to think through and frame it.

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Friday, 14 February 2014, 02:09 PM
 

It is amazing the thoughts these discussions prompt! I was reminded of a dissertation on Knowledge Management that I supervised. The student set out in her introduction to try to define these concepts (information, knowledge, wisdom) and actually found it very tricky. 

Is information a prerequsite for knowledge or a form of knowledge? Is wisdom a form of knowledge or something different? 

I wonder how it might link to Argyris' notion of double and single loop learning? Is knowledge linked to single loop learning and wisdom to double loop learning?

Neil

 

Picture of sue watling
Re: What is learning
by sue watling - Friday, 14 February 2014, 03:19 PM
 

Argyris and loops were new to me but by typical synchronicity I came across this earlier today on this page listing over 50 learning theories  http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/index.html - the page sort of reinforces the multiplicity of views on what learning is and how people learn.

What a useful and inspiring forum this has been :-) 

Picture of sue watling
Re: What is learning
by sue watling - Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 07:28 PM
 

My first thought was learning is a process of change and I initially associated this with knowledge acquisition and a deeper understanding of something new. Then I thought about knowledge as ways of seeing and wondered if maybe learning can be described as a process of critical reflection - we take something seemingly new or unfamiliar and relate to it – or understand it better - through application to what we already know. This ‘meaning’ or interpretation – is always personal and individual and mostly unfinished. There is nearly always something more to add - even if we don't yet know there is. 

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 09:37 PM
 

Hi Sue

Your post reminds me of Saljo's work on learning. Where he simply asked students their understanding of learning and classified the responses into five categories.

  1. Learning as a quantitative increase in knowledge. Learning is acquiring information or ‘knowing a lot’.
  2. Learning as memorising. Learning is storing information that can be reproduced.
  3. Learning as acquiring facts, skills, and methods that can be retained and used as necessary.
  4. Learning as making sense or abstracting meaning. Learning involves relating parts of the subject matter to each other and to the real world.
  5. Learning as interpreting and understanding reality in a different way. Learning involves comprehending the world by reinterpreting knowledge.

Have a look at Ramsden (2003) Learning to Teach in Higher Education for some further discussion of this and other aspects of teaching in HE. I think it is a really good book, although others are less enamoured by it.

Also, this page is really helpful - http://infed.org/mobi/learning-theory-models-product-and-process/ 

Picture of Jonathan Vernon
Re: What is learning
by Jonathan Vernon - Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 11:39 PM
 

Not meaning to be obtuse but when are we not learning?

Picture of sue watling
Re: What is learning
by sue watling - Friday, 14 February 2014, 01:15 PM
 

Thank you for the links Neil. I liked the reference in http://infed.org/mobi/learning-theory-models-product-and-process/ to Carl Rogers describing learning as insatiable curiosity :-)

Have you read this Säljö paper

Säljö, R. (2010) Digital tools and challenges to institutional traditions of learning: technologies, social memory and the performative nature of learning in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26: 53–64. 

Sorry I can’t find a link to a free copy. Here Säljö says technologies are transforming learning – similar to Siemens Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm  In an environment where information/knowledge is available online, learning becomes more about authentication and validation.  

I wonder if when ‘insatiable curiosity’ meets the internet you get a MOOC and MOOCers? 

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Monday, 17 February 2014, 10:52 AM
 

Thanks for the links Sue. Had not come across that Saljo paper. I have to say I remain unconvinced about the role that technology has played in learning. It seems to me to be simply re-purposing all the ways we already know how to teach and learn or am just reacting to the techno-zealotry that seems to abound in some circles.

I certainly like the idea of connecting insatiable curiosity to MOOCs. 

Neil

Hazel Rothera
Re: What is learning
by Hazel Rothera - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 04:07 PM
 

I think you're absolutely right Sue that the deepest learning is that which involves personal re-interpretation, and that it's a never-finished process. In the analogy from T S Eliot which I quoted above the equivalent would, perhaps, be the "wisdom".

For example, I could probably learn from a set of instructions how to rewire a plug safely (thus converting information into basic knowledge). But to be able to take other bits of electrical equipment apart which I'd never seen before, I'd need a much deeper understanding of physics and engineering and of how to apply them in brand new contexts...

Picture of sue watling
Re: What is learning
by sue watling - Friday, 14 February 2014, 01:23 PM
 
I'm still pondering on your Eliot quote, Hazel :-) I hadn’t come across it before.  The internet offers us knowledge, information and personal often biased opinion so learning (in a digital age) may be partially about finding the wisdom to tell the difference. We hear about knowledge and information but less often about wisdom. Perhaps it's time to have one of those triangular models or a crossing circles which show the interrelationships between them? 
Picture of Jonathan Vernon
Re: What is learning
by Jonathan Vernon - Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 08:16 PM
 

I'll be seeking to answer this question for the rest of my days. I like the idea that there are three kinds of learning: product, process and for its own sake. My fear is that like indulging innate curiosity learning for me is like playing jazz piano ... it's a state of being that I find deeply rewarding, while both the product and process may be equated with pain!?

Part of me wishes I could start again and study neuroscience - the idea that you can 'see' learning in a coloured MRI scan is fascinating.

Picture of Jonathan Vernon
Re: What is learning
by Jonathan Vernon - Thursday, 13 February 2014, 04:38 AM
 

Fig.1. 12 Learning theories, their authors and derivative ideas. 

Ask me again when I've written the book ... and had a bit more sleep. This is what the question does to me. 5.00am is my usual start. I've been up since 3.30am. Why? As I fell asleep I pondered the question and when I woke I thought I had the answer. I've always felt that I process best when I leave my brain to find its own way. Is it learning when it occurs subconsciously?

My short answer is 'the opposite of a degenerative brain disease'. The long answer is the MindMap above (Fig. 1) with 12 points, each one a different learning theory that includes the obvious: behavioural, cognitive and constructed, but also the challenging and obtuse, such as 'not learning' and for learning in our wonderful world wide Web 2.0 word 'connected' learning.

The answer is illusive, shifting and complex. It depends on who, where and why. It can stop you in your tracks as a philosophical conundrum, or it can have you shaking your head in a desire to 'get on with it'.

Returning to dementia, and the undoing of learning, I must already correct myself. Faced with the novel experience of an elderly relative after a stroke I soon found, defying the medical advice, a way to what was left of my mother's functioning brain, through the digital equivalent of flash cards - I preloaded thousands of images from art books onto an iPad and got her attention. Speaking to her as if she could make any sense of my words she stopped me on the Mona Lisa and to my questions 'where is it?' and 'who painted it?' she answered 'The Louvre' and 'Leonardo da Vinci'. There was no happy ending to this story. However, like it or not, my mother was learning to the end - learning to pull out feeding tubes and refusing to drink until we got the message. I am very conscious that has she 'croaked her last' the learning ended too - that an experience I'd prefer to forget will be raked up consciously or unconsciously.

So what is learning?

It is many things, to many people, experienced whether you like it, or want it or not, in many ways. There are a thousand qualifiers too from 'applied' to 'effective' to 'experiential' to 'aquired' ... 'life long', 'Lego', 'indulgent'. 'forgetable', 'memorable', 'painful' ... 'inspired', 'tough' and 'easy' ... 'relevant', 'irrelevant'.

A neuroscientist will point at an image and say 'that is learning' - the unique, interaction between various parts of the brain. An art student will point at a sculpture that defies description and say 'that is learning'.

Picture of Samira Abdulai-Saiku
Re: What is learning
by Samira Abdulai-Saiku - Friday, 14 February 2014, 06:46 AM
 

For me learning is a process where you internalise a piece of information or skill and make it relevant to you such that it becomes a part of your way of life. something that becomes ingrained in your mind and affects your actions. Aan example a student learning about enzyme action that can make the connection that enzymes are like the worker bees in our lives always functioning to keep the body (hive) functioning. it is many things to many people but ultimately, it is about inernalising information and being able to draw associations between seemingly unrelated facts and the ability to draw upon these facts in yimes of need. the ultimate question though for me is are we as teachers able to truly stimulate our students to learn? Are we able to inspire them to not just hear and memorize but truly understand and internalise?

Picture of irene sevilla
Re: What is learning
by irene sevilla - Friday, 14 February 2014, 11:10 AM
 

Hello Samira,

In my opinion we can stimulate students to learn, but how to stimulate them depends on the student, and in what are they interested in. For example, i am talking about my subject, Spanish language, in my area, we can stimulate students paying attention on their hobbies, interests, etc. For example, if someone is interested in reading poetry, I can explain the grammar, and then practice it through a poetry text, in this way, the student is happy, because he is learning through his interests. 
On the other hand, according to "internalisation", in languages area, the student can understand the grammar proccess, because he has deduced the grammar rule through inference process. After that, we (as a teachers) should explain the theory, to make sure they were right.

What's about your subject? What do you do to stimulate and make them understand the subject?

 

Irene

Picture of Joana Oliveira dos Santos Amorim
Re: What is learning
by Joana Oliveira dos Santos Amorim - Saturday, 15 February 2014, 03:45 PM
 

Hello!!

When I read this question the first thing that came to my mind was a cartoon I saw in a blog a while ago. It was about kids growing up in the internet era, where "all" the information is so easy to find. There were two pictures:

-One with a lot of dots (symbolizing all the information available)

-The other with the dots connected by a lot of lines of different colours (symbolizing knowledge)

I find this dichotomy of access to information/ learning very interesting. I remember when I was a student and someone missed a class how urgent it was to that person to copy the lecture notes from a colleague... Even if after that no one would look at it again...

Maybe "possessing" or having access to information gives us the idea that we know things, or at least that we can learn them when/if we want. But learning requires a much more proactive posture, I think. To learn we need to "connect the dots" !

Joana

marion waite
Re: What is learning
by Marion Waite - Monday, 17 February 2014, 10:21 AM
 

Hi Joana

That is interesting. Your experience of class notes reminds me of when the culture (in my Faculty) was changed to students downloading the teaching session notes from being provided with a print-out. I think as this forum has pointed out we have moved from an era of information scarcity to abundance as teachers or librarians within higher education we are no longer the gate keepers of knowledge. Theories such as Connectvism (Siemen's 2004) http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm do suggest that the way in which people learn has changed. This is open to debate of course and is a good one. 

There is certainly a role-change for those that teach and support learning in higher education in facilitating learners to deal with information abundance. This is something that confronts all of us as learners in the digital age.

A great discussion forum this week.

Marion

Hazel Rothera
Re: What is learning
by Hazel Rothera - Wednesday, 19 February 2014, 05:17 PM
 

There is certainly a role-change for those that teach and support learning in higher education in facilitating learners to deal with information abundance. 

Absolutely Marion - certainly from a librarian's point of view, much of our information literacy emphasis has shifted from "how to get hold of any information at all" to "how to get hold of the best information, ideally without having to wade through tens of thousands of less relevant or appropriate hits on the way, and how to know when you have enough/the most appropriate information to begin to answer your question"...

Picture of Neil Currant
Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Monday, 17 February 2014, 10:57 AM
 

Hi Joana

You make a great point. Your post reminded me of Biggs' SOLO taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) see http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/solo.htm for more info. In the first stage students acquire lots of information but without organisation it makes no sense. The sense only comes from making those links (the later stages.)

Neil

Picture of Vivienne Du
Re: What is learning
by Vivienne Du - Sunday, 16 February 2014, 03:45 PM
 

I think there are two kinds of things which are learning, knowledge and skills. Knowledge is the information applied directly to the performance of a function.Skill is an observable competence to perform a learned psychomotor act. For example, if I teach ‘how to ask interview questions’, first of all, it is important to make a clear introduction of the theory background, relevant models, etc. This is what students have to know before they develop the skills to ‘ask interview questions’. Then based on this knowledge, activities can be played in class.

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Re: What is learning
by Neil Currant - Monday, 17 February 2014, 11:01 AM
 

Hi Vivienne

This ties in with Bloom who had the Cognitive (knowledge) and Psychomotor (skills) domain. He also had a third domain - Affective (emotional / attitude). I am a strong advocate of the role of the affective domain in our teaching. For example motivation can be key to learning in the cognitive and psychomotor domains.

Neil

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Re: What is learning
by Dhiraj Singh - Wednesday, 19 February 2014, 04:40 PM
 

In my view, learning is a process, where you acquire the set of skills, required for understanding and assimilation of knwoledge. You learn how to analys things critcally, make relevent conclusions from avaialble peice of information, I mean you learn how to articulate various piece of information around you. Learning leads to building of knwolegde. There could be various ways and aspects of learning but all leads to one common point, to inculcate ceratins skills which is prerequsite for understanding, internalization and interpretation of information and consolidtae it as knowlegde in the end. 

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Re: What is learning
by Jonathan Vernon - Thursday, 20 February 2014, 04:35 AM
 

Learning is the unique repeated firing of synapses in the brain that comes about as a result of stimuli that can be both internal as well as external, occuring both consciously and unconsciously. If you've come across Activity Theory then I value a model that shows how the interplay between two sets of interacting nodes focused on an objective delivers a third object - it expresses for me the way learning and evidence of such learning is a unique and creative event. Several parts of the brain come into play and through repeated use that originally unique connection, with some innovation and shifting, takes on a more permanent and readily accesses shape - though it can be disrupted and our thoughts on a matter, however well stated, will be always a fresh interpretation. 

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