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Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given... that separates one person from another - Nelson Mandela.

All people learn (i.e. the sameness dimension), some apply similar methodologies (i.e. similar dimension) and yet no two persons learn in exactly the same way (i.e. difference dimension). With this in mind, it is ludicrous to assume that a specific learning methodology can be develop that is suitable for all people... all of the time... and for all possible learning opportunities. We must have the freedom to select and adapt learning strategies that best suit our natural learning strategy and which is fitting for the context or the circumstances under which we have to learn.

Stemming from the industrial revolution and well research by quite a number of highly qualified psychologists, educationalists and researchers; a learning methodology was developed and implemented for all people and most circumstances. This eventually developed into the standardized teaching norm of today and when an individual struggle to achieve success with this "norm for learning", then the problem lies with the individual and not the educational or teaching system.

The basic elements of most modern day teaching and learning methodologies can briefly be highlighted as follows....
  • limit or restrict a number of healthy energetic individuals in a square room.
  • place a well trained and prepared teacher/trainer in front of them.
  • let this person use scientifically research teaching methods to convey information.
  • use plenty of examples to bring the real world into the classroom.
  • let learners explore by means of asking questions and do interpretations of learning materials.
  • if possible and time permitting, take learners to experience the "outside" reality.
  • assess their understanding by means of a test, exam or assignment and a project or two.
  • keep learning contents focused and within the parameters of a specific subject area.
  • ensure success by repeating the process frequently, for as long as it takes.
  • learn first, all that is there to learn and then "escape" into the outside world to "do" your thing in the real world.
Although there is some merit to this line of teaching - for one thing, it was successfully used for a number of decades - it is gradually becoming less and less effective, due to a world that is rapidly changing and in which "removed" and "fragmented" academic learning no longer serve the purpose of modern day demands. The what of teaching - for the bigger part - is still valid, but the how of teaching is largely outdated. Learning through experience, trail-and-error and solving "real problems" should be re-instated in the how of teaching and a learning strategy. Thus, a "DO first, then LEARN"-focus, rather than a "LEARN first, then DO"-focus.

At first glance, it may seem that this approach to learning is completely "new". It isn't! This is the most natural way for people to learn and we are doing it (knowingly and unknowingly) ever since man first arrive on this planet. It is a natural learning strategy for man - do first then learn - and suitable for all people, with some adaptations here and there to fit the context of the situation. Being cornered in a square room is "unnatural" and an unhealthy residue from the industrial revolution. The manner in which ALL children learn... to talk, to walk, socialize, ...etc. is successful in most cases, except in the presence of serious problems such as - for example - severe brain damage, malfunctioning senses or missing limbs.

Therefore, we should actively encourage and realign teaching and/or learning opportunities to apply a methodology of "first learn, then do" less and less; while emphasizing and focusing more on 'first do, then learn'. For example...

When teaching a person to drive... do we fragment the learning process (e.g. practice changing gears, switching on the car, using the indicators, turning the steering wheel, ...etc.) and when the different skills are well established, only then we let the individual drive? NO..., we expose the person to the "whole, complete, total, holistic" driving experience at once. First in simple less threatening more controllable situations and - as s/he learns from his/her mistakes, gain the necessary experience, competency, confidence and accept responsibility for his/her actions - we gradually expose him/her to more complex, difficult and complicated driving situations and circumstances.

I rest my case, people are learning in this manner for centuries, very successfully and is still actively employing in modern day learning strategies. Unfortunately, 90% of the time outside of the present formal educational and teaching system.

Question Would it be easy to convert the present educational and learning system of "first learn then do" into a "first do, then learn" system? Definitely NOT.

Question Is this a task of total impossibility? Again, No!

Providing that we consistently place the proper learning emphasis and focus on...
  • learning by implementation,
  • co-operative learning,
  • focused learning,
  • learning by collaboration,
  • life-long learning and
  • manage learning interactions by employing a reliable and accountable LMS procedure and structure.
ConeOfLearning

The above Cone of Learning illustrate and emphasize the following...
  1. For effective and efficient learning to take place, learning should be facilitated by means of critical thinking processes. In the words of Albert Einstein... "I don't teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn".
  2. Learning, education, teaching and training should focus on diversity (i.e. accommodate Dimensions of Human Beingness), rather than promoting conformity via standardized test and a predefined curriculum (e.g. matriculation examinations).
  3. Learning and teaching activities should be based on and source richly from curiosity. Curiosity is the natural driving force behind and the true engine of learning. Unfortunately though, most places of education/training today, strictly enforce compliance (e.g. unit standards and the NQF framework).
  4. All people are natural co-creators and shape their own life’s by taking creative actions, which in the end is the main source of human diversity. However, in actual fact, standardization is encourage and rewarded as the "correct/right way" of co-creating one's life, with little to no tolerance nor accommodation for creativity and individuality.

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