Propositions on learning today

I’m trying to define the core changes in society and technology that impact learning. I’ve compiled ten propositions, and would life to hear areas that you feel I’m missing (or where I’m flat out wrong).

I’m bringing two basic assumptions to this list – 1) learning is a process, not an event 2) learning intention drives learning approach.

My (evolving list of) learning propositions:

  • Increased complexity=increased decentralization
  • Increased information amount=decreased capacity to internalize
  • Accelerated pace of information development=decreased linearity
  • Increased pace, information amount, and complexity=increased ambiguity
  • Increased ambiguity=increased need for diversity
  • Increased diversity=increased need for openness
  • New tools/technology and openness=new affordances and transformations
  • New affordances=democratization
  • Democratization=destabilization of silo power structures and two-way flow (conversation, knowledge, and information)
  • Two-way flow=equality among participants of a space
  • 2 Responses to “Propositions on learning today”

    1. corrie says:

      A couple of things pop out.
      First, while “democratization of learning” sounds good, a democracy depends on citizens who are not ignorant, and who can make well-informed decisions. It’s the very nature of learning to replace ignorance with knowledge, right?
      So at the beginning of the learning process, the learner is ignorant. He therefore may not be able to make the best-informed decisions about how or what to learn. He may not immediately see the value in it, though the value would be apparent once the knowledge is gained.
      Second, I’d argue that an increased amount of information requires more internalization. If it can’t be internalized fast enough, then there’s a problem with either pace, chunking, or both.

    2. Hi corrie…I agree that the learner may be “ignorant” at the beginning of a new learning task or field (and as a result not able to make the best decisions. A base level of knowledge is often required. However, I would maintain that in life, being ignorant is not the problem. It’s a continual condition. We are always largely unaware. Life is too complex for us to have a completely accurate sense of a space. We select and deselect various elements in order to get a more complete understanding of an entire space. We focus in order to address one aspect of an issue (but need to continually step back to ensure that the piece we are seeing connects back to the whole). Similarily, when we tackle life problems (at work or in our families), we acquire knowledge by going through the process – we often don’t have it in advance. Ignorance is a pathway toward learning, not an indication of its absence.
      On your second point – my position is that rapid information development increases our need to rely on external elements to manage the overload (hence, decreased internalization). We begin to use Google, RSS feeds,, tags, technorati, and other personal knowledge management tools. I can comfortably say that (on a percentage basis of what I know), less of my total knowledge rests in my head than it did even a few years ago. I’ve pushed much of it onto my personal learning network.