Video Text: Learning is how we define our interests. Our interests become reputations. Reputations become jobs. Jobs become contributions to society. And our contributions allow humanity to thrive and prosper. Learning is important because it initiates the development of our society.
But, where does a learner begin?
The world is a confusing place with diverse opportunities and challenges. Learning must be guided by practitioners, researchers, experts, and teachers who can curate the needs of the world and supply-push objectives onto learners. They must also share and facilitate the use of resources like web 2.0 tools. Real-world needs will establish the “worthiness of learning” and access to web 2.0 tools will enable learners to give and take information they need to make meaningful contributions to society.
Equipped with objectives and resources, the role of the learner in the 21st century is to steer their exploration based on their interests. My initial belief was that the behaviorist approach could explain all of the learning that happened, but I now believe it is a combination of the constructivist, connectivist and behaviorist perspectives.
Constructivism happens when learners apply concepts to real-life and the meaning of know-how and know-what information is internalized through experience. This process of learning takes time, but leads to confidence in the findings and the learning is evidenced by the ability to replicate the experiences.
When information is needed more rapidly, students can demand-pull information through connectivism. Today’s networked resources enable students to learn from the experiences of others. In this process, knowing other individuals with the appropriate experience can be as valuable as having the experience. Connectivist learning is evidenced by individual’s reliance on know-where to find information.
Behaviorism is a process of choosing future behaviors based on past responses. Behaviors that result in rewards will be repeated, such as posting a blog online which receives meaningful feedback. Behaviors that result in punishment will be stopped, such as posting a blog online which receives harsh feedback.
In summary, constructivism says we learn through our own experiences, connectivism says we learn from the experiences of others and by evaluating the results of our and others experiences, behaviorism says that we learn whether those experiences should be repeated or not based on their positive or negative outcomes.
Learning is a dynamic system, that once begun, should continue. In systems, operations build off of the results of preceding operations. Learning should build off of results of prior learning. The recent emergence of online networks, where users can both consume and produce information should make the practice of life-long learning more visible. Network learning tools like wikis, blogs, podcasts, media and social networks allow users to stay aware of the latest innovations and share their own latest findings from practice. Once people know how to use these tools, they should be equipped for life-long learning, and life-long contributions to our society.