The December Big Question on the Learning Circuits blog asks "What did you learn about learning in 2007?" For me, 2007 has been a banner year for learning lots more about learning.
I've learned that a lot of different words we're using are referencing the same thing that is NOT formal learning. As I've explored my use of these different terms, I've realized that "discovery learning" works better for me than the other terms. My initial enthusiasm for free ranging PLE's waned as I discovered how PLE's face the same obstacles for any learner trying to escape from deeply ingrained factory models of educating, classroom delivery of content and "teach the test" conceptions of teaching. The change in how we support learning needs to be revolutionary, not incremental.
I've learned that all our writing about learning is not changing how much of the learning gets done in our world. Getting stuck in the idea stage is common for lots of conceptualizing apart from the trenches. I'm hopeful that the learning I'm doing spawns changes as if I'm leading by example and being the change I want to see. Some of my optimism rests on how my my own learning has increased by watching other bloggers learn from all our writing, commenting, linking and reading. That's something I first acknowledged in I found it in my blog reader!
I've learned how important personal reflection is in my own learning. RSS feeds can get as overwhelming as 'drinking from a fire hose". Too many valuable blog posts and comments affords me no time/energy to reflect on been written. I've fallen far behind on reading blogs many times this year in order to get caught up on pondering the great stuff I've already read.
I've learned that much more learning occurs unconsciously than I ever suspected. I've realized that learning simply happens most of the time without our conscious intervention. I also comprehend how easy it is to learn to avoid learning when we are being forced to learn. Unconsciously learning adds more dimensions to idea that teaching interferes with learning and authentic knowledge can be learned by us but cannot be taught to us.
After reading Karl Kapp's new book this year, I went through a revival of playing Railroad Tycoon III on my Mac. I observed how there is a constant supply of incentives to try different strategies, change my assumptions and play again with the better idea in mind. It occurred to me that the way we learn immersively in games is very similar to hands on and mastery learning of skills.
Finally, I learned to continue blogging, commenting, linking and reading because it feeds my continual learning.