Learning v. Education?


Here’s what Will Richardson recently posted about the topic of education v. learning, sort of as a follow-up to what Stephen Downes wrote here and Harold Jarche writes about here:

In a nutshell, the posts come down to the issue that “we just stop focusing so much on school and just focus on learning”.

These posts as well as the associated comments are important ones in that this is the direction I think we need to be going in. Just as Judy Breck has said in her 109 Ideas for Virtual Learning, education is a system that is broken to the point where it is not worth it to try to fix it. We need to start looking at alternatives. Schooling/learning/education should not be a place, but a process (to put it in David Thornburg’s words….)

I got to thinking more about this topic after reading and commenting on Wes Fryer’s post An iPhone for every student?!” I commented that (emphasis added):

… Learning with small and wireless mobile devices is the future of learning, but not necessarily in schools. Just like School 2.0 is an oxymoron (as Stephen Downes has argued and I agree with him), learning with mobile devices in a formal educational setting that puts restrictions on space and time is getting to be increasingly difficult, and I know this from experience.

True learning with wireless mobile devices happens when learners have access to the devices anywhere and anytime, and I don’t see this in your post here. I think it’s way beyond time that we start to seriously rethink how we teach and learn in formal educational settings. The educational system as it exists today is NOT preparing kids for their future that lies ahead. I don’t really think it matters how much we infuse technology in current schools. If we don’t fundamentally change education it is not going to matter that much. Besides, we know from research that most learning happens OUTSIDE of formal environments.

While I’m assuming that for most readers I’m preaching to the choir here, it is imperative that we keep these ideas going. Formal education is going to have to change if it wants to remain a player in the field of learning. The world is changing, technology is changing, people are changing, and learning is changing … why isn’t education??

Image Credit: “Abandonded School Building”, Creap’s photostream:

One response to “Learning v. Education?

  1. Nice post. I echo the idea of learning being a process and I write a lot about that process being under the umbrella of FUN. Incredible retention happens when teachers are passionate, inspirational, and fun when communicating their subject matter.

    BTW – nice blog name!

    -Eric (weirdblog.wordpress.com)

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