Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Experience and knowledge 1

The recent exchange of posts and comments shows the difference between Stephen Downes and me is more than just on the semantics of the word "experience". So let me just state the meaning I attach to this word and let Stephen do the same if he so chooses.

To me, experience refers to the total stimulations, entered via our perception systems, that have caught our attention. Experiences should be able to be recalled.

Closely related to experience is the notion of "intuition" which is the belief (or world view) based on our past experiences. Note here that culture is built up via our part experiences in interacting with other human.

One of the interesting observation related to the examples I used in Experience *alone* is a poor teacher is that the current accepted truth in both cases are counter-intuitive. In fact, a lot of important discoveries are made when obvious intuitions are being challenged.

The point I was trying to make in that post was that experience ALONE is not the sufficient condition to enable learning. In many cases, however, experience provides a good foundation for understanding.

Learning is a deliberate effort by the learner. Speaking and hearing is almost effortless if one is bought up within a community using that language. Writing and reading, however, requires deliberate effort - one needs to learn to read and write. Experience alone, i.e. seeing groups of letters on newspaper every day, does not lead to understanding of the news.

In this era, knowledge is the kind that requires learning - beyond just experience.

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