Life-based, work-based, school-based learning…

Don’t you find that with the sea of teaching and training jargon – and the preoccupation with classifying learning as formal, non-formal or informal, that we sometimes loose site of learning, what it really is about? Here are two articles, by Roger C. Shank, that brings us back to the essence, with an approach that doesn’t worry itself with trying to draw the line between life-based, work-based, school-based learning, just accepts that they intermingle and enrich each other.

What can be taught: part I
What can be taught: part II

Competency based approaches do have an intention to work towards this view, even if the transformation can get a little lost in the implementation. That’s normal, since we are mostly all products of education systems that organised learning into specialised topics and subjects rather than universal skill sets.

I wish that when I was doing my anthropology and education degrees we could have opened up to such a broad view of learning. It would have helped me to get a better grasp that my experience during those university years has actually served me well in my professional and personal life thereafter, even if on the surface it might appear disconnected. Indeed, classifiying types of learning/teaching into 16 types of processes that can then be grouped into 1) conscious processes, 2) subconscious processes, 3) analytic processes, and 4) mixed processes, is eye-opening and useful.

Now, when I read the other entry by Shank, on « Things that can’t be taught », I instantly say to myself, but has he heard about e-portfolios. This is reflective tool that supports the learning/development of self-awareness and self-knowledge. Yes, it is much more difficult to « teach » more personality related competence such as integrity but e-portfolios are the path into this zone.

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