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Blog: Exploring the concept of learning and what it means in 2017

Different organisations have their own philosophies when it comes to learning and development. Learning possibilities have evolved significantly in the last few years. We can now learn remotely, online and even via social media. We’re so lucky to have such a wealth of information within our reach. But as learning develops, the definition of what exactly learning is nowadays is becoming more and more blurred.

“A process that leads to change, which occurs as a result of experience and increases the potential of improved performance and future learning.” From How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan Ambrose, et al.

It’s hard to define learning in a few sentences, as it’s such a complex process that takes time and patience. However, the above definition explains it quite well. There are two main types of learning, formal i.e. in a classroom and informal i.e. things you might learn, research or read about on a daily basis.

The digital world allows for a great deal of both these types of learning, especially informal learning due to the depth of information we can access and read about whenever we desire.

Human beings are curious by nature.

The internet allows us to be constantly curious, to question things, and to discuss our thoughts and beliefs. Aristotle’s quote about humans being curious still applies today, if not even more so than before. Learning helps us to explore our curiosity and delve deeper into why and how things occur.

Delving into the psychology of how people learn is a fascinating business. When most people think of learning they picture formal study in a classroom or university, but learning can take on all sorts of forms.

We are constantly learning every single day, even when we’re doing simple tasks like going for a walk or having a conversation with somebody. We spend a lot of our time simply learning through observation, as well as being taught on courses or in schools.

So what does learning mean in 2017? Well, the basic concept has not changed. We are just being presented with new ways to learn, such as live online classes, courses that can be completely solely online with no human interaction and we’ve also go the ability to self learn whatever we want. Information is everywhere, you can be an expert in many things simply by reading up a topic online, but this will never replace the value of structured learning in a formal environment with real people.

As with a lot of information on the world wide web, it’s quite hard to find trustworthy material that’s 1005 factually correct. When you are being taught by a teacher, you can feel confident that you’re reading and being taught the right things.

The ways in which we learn may have expanded and changed slightly, but the fundamentals remain the same.

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.

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