2012年1月29日 星期日

The Future of Learning An Invitation~Harrison Owen

What is learning ? Some years ago, a friend of mine, Prasad Kaipa - who at the time was Chief Technical Advisor to John Sculley at Apple Computer, embarked upon a quest. Wherever he went, and as often as he could, he posed the question - What is learning? To the best of my knowledge he never found a satisfactory answer. He is still questing, as are we all. And I think that is a wonderful thing! If nothing else it means that we continue to learn about learning. And on the day that we finally get THE answer - that day, I suspect will be our last. For at the very least, learning has a lot to do with living, and when learning ceases to evolve, we do too.
The Future of Learning from Harrison Owen on Vimeo.

So my friends, you are invited to engage in the quest. For one day (and as an integral part of our several days in Open Space) we will pose the question. If you require a definitive answer, I strongly suggest that you think of something else to do with your valuable time. I make no pretense of being an expert on learning, although 76 years of living has provided some reasonable time to think about it. But I do think I am pretty good at raising questions. And really good, juicy questions are infinitely better that certain answers. If nothing else, good questions open space, inviting our selves and our imagination into places and spaces we may never have been. That's fun, I think.

Our format will be simplicity itself. It comes in two parts, morning and afternoon with a pleasant lunch and maybe a nap in between. In each part, I will chat for a bit (45 min), you will be invited to gather with your colleagues in small groups to consider what you have heard, and where you would like to go next - what are the questions? What is your quest?? (1 hour). And then we come back together to explore where the questions might lead us.

The focus for out time together will be all about learning, but with a different emphasis in the morning and afternoon. For the morning, my intent will be to raise and sharpen the questions, open some new possibilities, and perhaps challenge a few presuppositions. Come the afternoon, the intent will be more practical - using what we have been learning about learning to enhance the whole enterprise. How do we learn better, more deeply, with greater joy and impact??

I have never been one to write out my presentations if only because by the time I offer them they inevitably seem boring, at least to me. And if I am bored, I can pretty well promise you a similar reaction. So we won't go there! But I do have some idea where I would like to start and some of the things that are likely to come up along the way.

My starting point in the morning will be with a distinction (possibly arbitrary) between education and learning. Education (for me) is the institutionalization or formalization of learning.  Education definitely has its place and uses, but should never be equated with the infinitely broader human activity of learning (undefined). Education, in fact is but a small part of the grand enterprise.  I hope we can think BIG!

With the distinction made, it will be off on the journey. First we will ground our exploration in your own experience - you will be invited to remember your own deepest learning moment. A time when the ground shifted, old certainties disappeared, and new possibilities emerged, if only dimly. And I bet that didn't happen in 7th Grade Algebra Class! Then take a look around... what started it all? What was helpful? What was hurtful? Somewhere along the line we may think about Open Space (surprise!). Just to see if there may be some useful thoughts, experiences, and new questions in that 25 year natural experiment. And is that all? I don't have a clue. You will have to come in order to find out.

In the afternoon, we move to the practical. How can we enhance the learning experience? Concretely and specifically, how can we maximize the learning opportunities that surround us? Everyday, day in and day out, at home, on the job - wherever and whenever we might be? I will share a few stories, my own and from other people, and the rest will be up to you.

Now for an obvious question. Why should you want to come? I can think of several reasons.
  1. It will be fun and challenging (my favorite).
  2. You will meet new friends and colleagues from all over Asia who may well become good learning companions for the future.
  3. There is a very good chance that you will walk out with some very useful approaches towards making learning a deep and continuing experience for yourself and those around you.
For more information about this coming program, please goes to Learning for the Future: An Open Space Technology Conference 

運用OST於學習的地圖

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