How do we learn? Where do we learn? These were the questions addressed this morning at the EDEN Conference in Lisbon.The hugely impressive Grande Auditorio is the venue for the plenary sessions. It soars high above the audience and there are illuminated balconies rearing up four stories on both sides. It is an arena in which the invited speakers must attempt to set the tone of the conference and address the themes. Were they successful? Some of us are not so sure.
The first speaker, Anna Kirah, who is from ‘Future Navigator’ and based in Denmark, talked about exploring people centred concept making and was particularly scathing of existing education systems, because they stifle creativity. She made an appeal for schools to bring back the ‘why?’ in learning so children can see connections between what they are learning and what they are actually doing in real life. Where e-learning is concerned, she advocates that we should no longer be making content for people, but with people – which of course is a central tenet of the social web. Borrowing shamelessly from social constructivist theory, Anna boldly declared that e-learning which does not involve conversation is not worth the space.
Alan Tait from the Open University of the United Kingdom was more circumspect in his address entitled ‘Where do we learn? At work’. The title said it all really, and Alan dwelt on the idea that work is core to human experience and that it is inevitable for learning to occur at work. He wanted us to move away from competencies and skills to see learning at work as a part of the lifelong learning process and a means of managing one’s livelihood. Learning at work contributes significantly to personal well-being he said, and it is important to move beyond the fruitless distinction between training and informal learning.
Some people complained that there was nothing new in these presentations. Others were more enamoured with the content, but it is a decidedly difficult task to try to please all of the people all of the time. By far a more pressing question today is: are we going to have sufficient access for everyone on the wireless connection today. Probably not...
Posted by Steve Wheeler. Follow Learning with E's.