Liberating the learners

Workplace and academic learning has been privatized for centuries by the idea that people need to be taught. Formal instruction is justified by the assumption that learners cannot be: self taught, naturally curious, intrinsically motivated or guided by their own intuition. The oscillation between the "sage on stage" and the "guide on the side" maintains that expert delivery of controlled content.

Workplace and academic learning can be democratized by the creating support systems for learners to teach themselves what they need to know when they want to learn it. Elementary school students take two years to get up to a "second grade reading level" when getting taught to read. An unschooled eight-year-old can learn to read at that level in ten weeks if s/he waits until the desire is felt, peer pressure from readers is prevalent and the mentor can nurture the rapid development of competency.

Socrates said we cannot teach someone something they do not already know. The idea of "liberating learners from instruction" has been around for thousands of years. What's new is the software to support that liberation. Until now, it took a learner with the mind of a tinkerer or a mentor who refused to answer questions directly and did not speak without being asked a question.

Now a whole generation has learned to use new technologies, play complex games and express themselves creatively without formal instruction. The paradigm of liberated learning has been assimilated in the process of teaching themselves to blog, link, ping, post, publish, send, upload, subscribe, comment, favorite, bookmark, mash, rip, filter and wishlist.

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