This post will surely raise some spines. I ran into a post yesterday that stated the following “Learning starts with clear learning goals and learning objectives and well structured content, activities, assessments and discussions etc as appropriate.
I recommend everybody in the thread runs off to learn about Blooms taxonomy… I take exception to some of the definitions of learning here. They are very shallow. There are many levels till one attains mastery.”
My first reaction was “What a bunch of BS”. Sounds like good old fashioned instructional design rhetoric. So I did what I do and challenged the notion that this was the way ‘Learning’ had to happen. I cited research by Dr Sugata Mitra coming out of the Hole in the Wall experiments. I cited personal experiences of learning where no such structure existed. I got back a reply saying that they respectfully disagreed with Dr. Mitra and what did Mitra’s work have to do with adult learning anyways. The experiments were with kids and it was all about computer literacy. WRONG! I told the person to dig a little deeper or to find me research that refutes Dr. Mitra’s claims. Surprise surprise no such research was cited.
In any case, here’s what really pisses me off about this whole line of thinking. It would seem that Instructional Designers have stolen ‘learning’ and have made themselves the master of when learning can occur. Surprisingly ‘Learning’ or ‘Real Learning’ can only occur if its gone through the hands of the instructional designer and structured so that there are clearly stated learning objectives and then very structured lessons and exercises around those objectives ending with an assessment based on those objectives. Well you know what, the people want ‘learning’ back because if this is the only way we can learn, we hate it! I know we hate it because most of us are finding alternate ways of learning and technology is helping us alot. For one, lets get something straight. Instructional Designers have never, will never, and can not possible ever design ‘learning’ itself. Got it? Cause I’m sick of saying it. We can create the stimulus and we can create ways of helping people acquire knowledge and skills (thats our job) but WE DO NOT CREATE LEARNING!
We can also drop this, “Well your just talking about informal learning” followed by this doesn’t create ‘real’ or ‘deep learning’ because you know what? Bullshit! Formal vs informal vs blended is all a bunch of rhetoric instructional designers have created to take ownership of learning. Learning is a messy process and to talk about it like it can be parceled out into formal vs informal objectifies it and strips it of being a continuous process that our minds are engaged in at almost all times.
I’m here to negotiate a settlement. You give us ‘learning’ back and we’ll let you have ‘instruction’. Talk about formal vs informal instruction, talk about designing instruction, talk about whether a PDF on a mobile device is good instruction and you know what, you can live in that world and be very smart with each other. We the people on the other hand will let learning be what we do organically whether through instruction you’ve designed for us or despite instruction you’ve designed for us. If you really want to help me learn, stop trying to wrap it in a bubble. Let me connect with people, content, games, web pages and help me understand what you want me to do, not what you want me to learn. I’m gonna learn despite you!