I’ve decided to repent. The phrase 2.0 used in relation to learning no longer sits well with me. I’ve blogged about web/learning/elearning 2.0 (at least 20 references on my elearnspace blog search)…I’ve delivered presentations (Connectivism and Web 2.0)…but I’m at the point where I don’t feel comfortable using the term “learning 2.0″. I mourn my discomfort in this podcast (8 minutes).
I’m concerned because I don’t think learning has changed. The act of learning (how our brain stores, recognizes, and retrieves knowledge) is fairly stable. Our external environment is not. As a result, over the last 30 years, many situations have developed in society that challenge established approaches to learning. Static is replaced with dynamic. Content is replaced (or at least augmented) with connections to ensure that people stay current. My whole intent with connectivism is to present the need to design a new approach and view of learning – one that is not hamstrung by classrooms, but is a thread that runs through the entire fabric of life. Learning as natural as breathing, as constant as a beating heart.
Maybe a bit of my concern is the machete work of language. Technologists use language as a means of beating newcomers into a state of confusion. Our field has more “insider speak” than any other (including medicine). It takes a newcomer years just to understand the language (forget actually joining the dialogue!). We use language as a barrier to newcomers. We should use it as a means to welcome others into the space to dialogue, share, and grow together. We are already at learning 2.0…and 85% of instructors and managers are still not at elearning. Do we really need more new words in our field? What does the phrase 2.0 add that is not added through concepts that are more readily understood (I say this to myself – I’ve 2.0′d many concepts as well).
Current talk and hype about learning 2.0 blurs the line between what has changed and what has not. We don’t have a new version of learning (i.e the act of learning itself). We do, however, have a new climate in which different approaches need to be taken to foster learning. Our old systems don’t work today. But the problem isn’t that we need to rethink the act of learning (30 years doesn’t result in much “evolution of the human brain”). I think it’s possible to get to focused on language (and trying to derive associated meaning) that the potential of an industry is dulled.
While I’m complaining – I would also like to highlight the severe deficiency in our vision in regards to our potential. We are not good keepers of our industry. We are designing courses, blogging, running wikis, and reading RSS. We think that’s where the learning is…that we are doing our learners a service by taking these approaches. But it’s more. Much more. Our myopic vision does a disservice to our field. As learning designers, it’s about designing for life. Learning is all around – TV, newspapers, internet, conversations, etc. We can’t get away from learning. Yet we toil away in front of our computers, designing for this narrow space called “learning”. I think the learning specialist of tomorrow (as early as five years) will hold many positions not traditional to our field. The concepts of learning and technology will penetrate (actually, they have already, people are slow to acknowledge it) into every area of our corporation, organizations, and schools. Those who understand the new space of constant learning will play a key role in helping organizations and people achieve their potential (and the idealist in me says, “to make a better world”). We simply think too small. We think we are trimming the hedges, when we have the potential to alter the entire landscape – to alter the very make up of the soil in which the hedges grow.
Am I splitting hairs with this argument? How can we portray that we are at a new place in regards to method of learning, but still in the same place in regards to the act of learning? How can we grow our scope, our image, our conception of learning and learning design (especially when we break from courses and classrooms).