The learning economy

14 09 2010

I’ve never really liked the term “knowledge economy”. Knowledge, in isolation, serves no purpose. Knowledge in use is better. But you are unlikely to get famous by wittering on about the “knowledge in use economy”. I think that learning is where it is at. Learning to develop skills, and judgement, and discovery, and curiosity. So perhaps the “learning economy?”

Over the past years, I’ve been working on a whole range of activities around learning. This has ranged from developing courses – both f2f and e, writing, teaching and generally having an opinion.

 At the moment, two thoughts are driving my work. First, that one learns 10% in the classroom, 20% from one’s peers and colleagues, and 70% from actually doing things. The second guiding thought is that we are not as sophisticated as we ought to be about putting in place the range of necessary learning perspectives. In my mind, we need to consider five: cognition, behaviour, didactics, technology and neuroscience. They are clearly linked but distinct enough to provide a compass.

 So, why the blog?

 Well, my blog mates have been bugging me for some time to write things on the www rather than in academic publications. Second, I signed up for PLENK2010, a massive online open course which is run on the back of a National Research Council of Canada grant. The course is about enforced structure vs freedom to explore in on-line learning systems. For me, it is ultimately about how education works overall. An enforced structure assumes that knowledge resides in individuals and is diffused to students. An open structure assumes that there is knowledge in the network which is shared between learners. The lecturer is effectively replaced by the “jolly them along” facilitator.

 Over the next while, I’ll do my best to combine thoughts about the “learning economy” in general with some specific insights from PLENK2010 – and hopefully find a nice way of combining cognition from peers and previous generations with discussions and with practice. Let’s see!




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