Monday, October 1, 2012

Connecting to learn and learning to connect

When I was asked to make an analogy for what a learner is like I starred at this statement for days trying to figure out what a learner is like, "The learners of today are like....."  And honestly, I have yet to come up with a good answer.  Ive heard learners compared to many things but I cant say that any analogy is good enough for the amount of knowledge a learner can obtain in a lifetime.  Now that learners are able to connect with others through social interactions or simply "google it" the amount of learning that can be done is exponential.  The era of simply sitting at a desk and learning all you can from a teacher or from your parents is now outdated and we are entering the era of endless knowledge.  "What we know today is not as important as our ability to stay current....if we are not continuously learning we are becoming obsolete in our particular field."(George Simmons in his YouTube video The Network is the Learning).   With this endless stream of knowledge it is with networking that people are able to learn continuously throughout their lifetime.  As you make connections with others that are interested in the same fields as you you can learn from each others experiences or from research done by others that can in turn create new knowledge for you.  "Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions" (George Simmons in his article A Learning Theory for the Digital Age).  And with the, basically, combined knowledge through networking it is through peoples opinions, research (from books, journals, websites), and personal experiences that we as individuals can stay current with not only interests in or country or small communities but we can essentially communicate and connect with people from all over the world. 
I, being a mother, have made a connection through networking on a site with mothers in the Buffalo, NY area.  With these connections I have been able to stay up to date on all topics pertaining to child rearing that includes anything from new developmental research to good tips on how to get toddlers to potty train to the best pediatric doctors in the area.  So in essence with these connections I have made I am actually able to learn a huge amount of knowledge and stay current without having to sit in a seminar or read a large amount of books that would probably take me a lifetime to get through.  I simply have to create a topic in a forum and ask a question and sit back and wait for the information to come to me through my connections with others.

With this all being said I think its fair to assume that an analogy for a learner is almost impossible to apply because there is nothing in nature neither an object or a living thing that is able to change and adapt to the amount of knowledge that is being created every day.  Not even a learner can learn everything there is to know in this day and age, there is simply to much knowledge being created.  I guess if I had to create an analogy though it would be that of a spider weaving its web, each silk strand standing for a new connection the human mind (spider) has made to a new form of education.

1 comment:

  1. A learner is not someone who learns or knows "everything there is to know in this day and age" but someone who is in the lifelong process of learning.