Sunday, December 5, 2010

What's learning like in people's eyes

All the way through learning in R685, I have heard about different scholars talking about their unique understanding of WHAT IS LEARNING LIKE, such as "I participate, therefore I am". It is such an engaging topic for us to think about!
Except explanations from those dominant learning theories, the following are vivid,fresh and meaningful.

As I have written about, John Seely Brown represents the idea of LEARNING BY PLAYING. "We can make learning fundamentally fun."  He suggests an extension as what shows in the picture above. In the homo sapiens' world, tools are instruments in order to get something done; while the homo faber world begins to think of tools as a device to engage productive inquiry. A new notion is homo ludens, man as player. When learning like playing, learners are encouraged of being in freedom to fail, fail and fail again and then get it right, with their passion all the way. It's a play of imagination. They are also encouraged of learning as "riddles", leading to a reframing or re-registering of the world. The epiphany occurring in that process often maintains in the long-term memory.
Learning by playing indicates high motivation, full engagement, great freedom, lasting interest and concentration. I have been playing online games for a period of time. I was always thinking what makes games so attractive that players seldom get bored. There are stimuli from different dimensions: sense of achievements from every incentive, competition with other players, encouragement from peers, enjoyment of game contexts, etc, etc. All that I can come up with seems applicable to our learning as well. But very often it's not the case for us. Why can' t we learn like playing games? As long as touching the deep joy of learning, we cannot stop going on.

Another is Dr. Paul Kim, the researcher of mobile learning. He talks a little bit about his view of learning and teaching in the week 13 video chatting session. I'm not sure whether those pieces of words compose his entire opinion, or whether it is different from "learning by playing". But I think that is his deep-seated belief, which guides his research and his method to help those kids in the developing world. Let me introduce a little separately, as it is from a different but the same wise person. ^^
Call it LEARNING BY EXPLORING for a moment. Paul believes the ability of every child. He believes kids can explore and discover knowledge by themselves or by communication and collaboration among peers, without much help from the teacher. As to teaching, giving everything does not equal to learning everything; telling is not the true teaching. Teaching can somewhat shift to coaching, which provides students with adequate freedom to explore, to try and finally to learn.
We, as promising instructors, talk about individual difference from the very beginning of learning educational theories, but sometimes end up concentrating on our strategies, technologies, system models, etc, while the concept of learners almost throwing away. Maybe the role of teaching is not only coaching, but also tutoring or mentoring. Maybe education is not that powerful. What's truly powerful is men's ability to learn. Maybe teacher is not that important. What facilitates learning is the context and a desire to learn. Teachers facilitate those facilitators.

Ha, my thoughts are rambling...

Relevant Articles: 
John Seely Brown (2010, June). Closing Keynote at the New Media Consortium 2010
      in Anaheim, CA. A Culture of Learning. Gardner Campbell’s reflective blog post:; Video of keynote:

1 comment:

  1. I like your rambling thought, it do make me think a lot.
    I remebered what I learned in college is "learning by doing". It emphasis on the side of application,and now we have leaning by exploring, it is more student-centered. And learning by gaming pay attention to arouse students' motivation. Now we pay much more attention on students!