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Posts Tagged ‘learning

I had two reactions when I noticed this video in my YouTube feed and watched it.


Video source

The first was that it came a few days too late for a course I was facilitating. It would have been a useful resource.

My other response was that was just-in-time for personal edification or continuous professional development.

A student might be interested in the video if it helped them get a grade or qualification. A professional would be interested in how the video influenced their way of thinking and operating.

The two people are not separate, particularly when they are working adult learners. But these learners are also pragmatic and might focus on the former.

I focus on influencing the latter. Only time will tell if this value system expresses itself in the form of life wide learning.

Steve Wheeler illustrated his view on the difference between personalised and personal learning:

Personal learning, I explained, is walking across the road and doing an ad hoc tour of the buildings and artefacts to see what I could learn about the history and culture of Jerónimos. Hiring a personal guide who knows a lot more about the history and culture of the place, and touring it with him/her would be personalised learning.

Others have also contrasted the two (e.g., Will Richardson and George Couros) because they wished to push back on the type of “personalised” learning solutions from various vendors.

I, too, am skeptical of standardised approaches to truly personalised learning. But I also wonder about the false dichotomy that the debate creates.

What if someone (like a content provider or instructor) customises lessons for you? You did not initiate this, so it is neither personal nor personalised.

What if you curate your own YouTube videos, podcasts, and readings? The content is someone else’s like the guide in the story, but you made the effort to search, evaluate, and consume.

Educators seem to focus on — and have an intrinsic understanding of — personal or personalisation of learning. They often do this when they coach or tutor individual students.

But vendors claim they can personalise en masse, and this should be welcomed with a healthy dose of skepticism instead of open wallets.

One thing I do to sense changes in my field is watch relevant YouTube videos. YouTube’s algorithms take note of what I am interested in and recommend similar videos.

For example, in 2017 I watched and archived in a playlist this video about how an engineer explained virtual reality (VT) to learners at five different levels.


Video source

Last week, YouTube recommended the video below to me.


Video source

Not only was this one way of staying current with technological trends in education and training, it was also a useful resource for a Masters course I will be facilitating soon.

Some folks like to complain about much current technologies seem to know about us. They might forget that strategically letting some information go can be a good thing.

I read this recent tweet and decided to make an image quote out of some of it.

The eyes see and the ears hear what’s already in the mind. Our perception becomes our reality. Sometimes learning is the easy part. It’s the unlearning that’s hard. — Amy Fast

Unlearning is hard. With older learners, unlearning is often prerequisite to learning. Old habits die hard, if at all. You must break before you can make.

In edu-speak, we might point out the importance of deconstructing before constructing. If we encourage learners to build on the wrong foundations or with questionable materials, we are at fault for rushing with the building instead of starting with the tedious work of deconstructing.

Last Saturday I sacrificed some family time to attend a welcome briefing for adjunct faculty of a local university. Yes, I am associating with another institute of higher education by offering a new course in a Masters programme.

I took quite a few notes at the meeting, but I was most struck by the profound simplicity of a statement by the university’s president. In describing the university’s mission to be an institute of lifelong learning, he said that it was “not about delivering content, but about attitude and aptitude” instead.

I could not agree more and was reminded of an image quote that I made in 2016:

Don't say

Lifelong learning stems less from engagement and more from empowerment; less from being given answers and more from asking critical questions; less from solving old problems and more from seeking new ones.

It takes a lifetime to keep learning how to do these things. And because this takes so long, it outlives standards and tests for content. To keep going for so long, attitudes towards what learning is and what evidence of learning looks like must change.

If attitudes do not change, we pay lip service to what lifelong learning is. We teach, perhaps even passionately, without realising that students have not changed. We test, perhaps rigorously, without realising that students have not learnt.

It is not lost on me that the profoundly simple (and simply profound) statement is easy to say, but not easy to implement. Words are only as strong as a plan, a plan is only as strong as a policy, and a policy is only as strong as its implementation.

I am going to do my part in embodying the attitudes and actions of a lifelong learner as I lead other learners. I hope that the obstacles that I will face in this new journey are the natural ones and not artificial ones placed there by lip service.

This is my fifth image quote update for the week:

The danger of lectures is that they create the illusion of teaching for teachers, and the illusion of learning for learners.

My original image quotable quote was:

The danger of lectures is that they create the illusion of teaching for teachers, and the illusion of learning for learners.

This is one of those image quotes that 1) speaks for itself, and 2) had a great CC image from Flickr (thankfully, still available online).

This is my fourth image quote update for the week:

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. -- Lord Alexander.

My original image quotable quote was:

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. -- Lord Alexander.

All this is to say that we should pursue answers by seeking meaningful and powerful questions first. While this might seem intuitive, we sometimes forget to do this in schooling — answers are provided before questions are asked; artificial solutions are given before authentic problems are identified.


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