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education = meta-learning + change

 

I’ve been looking at the 2015 NMC Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition, which charts the biggest near- and longer-term trends across the post-secondary landscape. One of the key directions is advancing highly flexible and innovative learning environments..

With change comes challenge. According to the NMC Report, post-secondary institutions will struggle with how to create these flexible, customizable and personalized learning environments (as students increasingly want and demand). Related challenges include: teaching complex thinking in the context of digital information proliferation, and addressing/resolving competing models of what higher education should/does look like.

The mainstreaming of radically student-centred learning represents a massive disruption to the traditional “broadcast” model of education (one instructor + many students). Just as one-to-many “Web 1.0” gave way to many-to-many social sharing, collaboration and self-curated content consumption (“Web 2.0”), will higher ed institutions see a similarly tectonic shift?

And yet…moving toward student-centred and customizable learning may bring us closer to education in its truest sense. Carl Rogers, the influential humanistic psychotherapist, education theorist and founder of client-centred therapy, stated:

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”

Learning how to learn – the capacity to curate and critically reflect on new information and knowledge – is especially crucial at a time when ‘data never sleep’ (check out this infographic showing what happens during one minute on the Internet).

And, at its heart, all learning is really about change.

In other words: education = meta-learning + change.

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What do you collect when it comes to knowledge, skill and learning?

 

Our collections of knowledge are built over months, years and decades. We are all collectors of a singular miscellany of knowledge and skills. What is prized by one may not be assigned equal value by another. A quick example: I had a neighbor who did his doctoral thesis on medieval witch trials…in a specific region of Poland. (I think someone needs to do a doctoral thesis on doctoral theses).

 

Some people are intentional, assiduous collectors – their mind a perfect gallery. Some accumulate by chance and circumstance – a drawer of buttons and bits of string, but also containing rare and necessary objects.

 

Some learning costs us dearly and we value it accordingly: “This took me years to master.” When it costs nothing, when it’s effortless, do we assign a lesser value? (“It just comes naturally.”)

 

Some display their wealth of knowledge in opulent pride (which can be off-putting). Others hoard their wealth in private, only offering a rare glimpse or glimmer (which is intriguing). Who overestimates the value of what they’ve learned? Who underestimates it by far? Who suddenly changes their mind and their path and decides to start over?

 

The most prized collections are not easily achieved. Always alert for the dusty treasure in a forgotten corner. In the end what is amassed? An incalculable value.

 

 

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