Tuesday, 24 May 2005

Personal learning

Have come to appreciate the role, value and importance of social learning, situated learning, learning in community and culture. That more is learned on the playing fields and in discourse with peers than from the sage on the stage. Even in very structured training situations, it is the break time conversation, the second-hand explanation from a colleague that situates the new concept, validates its importance and sanctions its legitimacy.

The post itself is a good read. I won't be able to express any better than Denham Grey.

I just want to pick up one point of this wonderful post. I don't understand what Denham means by second-hand explanation and I failed to find further explanation.

I have written about different types of experiences. Briefly, first person experience is experience that one has lived through. I also include simulated experience as first person experience. Second person experience is the experience you gain as a vicarious observer of an event. Third person experience are the stories that we hear from a story teller telling another person's experience. (Here I use the word experience and story almost interchangeably). When we were young, we generally learn via first or second person experience. However, formal education mainly concentrates on providing third person experience. Even the so-called experiments in science classes were more like verification of the theory we have learnt in class than real discovery of the theory itself.

In structured training session, during break time, I seldom see people explaining what has been told again to another participant. (I.e. I don't see second-hand explanation happening). However, there were many ocassion that we exchange our previous first/second person experience to validate or question the material put before us during the training. Such validations ARE not second-hand explanation. This also happens a lot in face to face conferences.

I suppose "blogging" is a good way of taking that face to face validating story telling into an online situation. While I am writing this post, reflecting on the ideas, I AM LEARNING.

You, as my reader, may or may not learn anything. It depends on whether these words will cause you to link this concept to your previous experience, or cause discomfort. Both cognitive resonance and cognitive dissonance may trigger learning. However, whether you learn anything depends on whether you are willing to reflect on this, and "file" this concept somewhere you can access later when you need it.

p.s. see my other new posts: Alternate Business Plan needed for Higher Education and Corporate e-learning trend written today.

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