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Any theory of adult learning which does not place care at its centre is simply wrong.

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 30 March 2012



Any theory of adult learning which does not place care at its centre is simply wrong.
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 141
Posted DateFriday 30 March 2012 09:29 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

When I first came across this article on Learning as Care I jumped to the conclusion that this was about teachers not caring.

Over the last few years it has become clear to me that whilst people certainly derive much of their learning from the mechanisms that we share with animals - classical and operant conditioning, observational learning - that there is a large area of human learning that works differently, and which we will never understand until we appreciate that learning is characterised by care. To put it another way: any theory of adult learning which does not place care at its centre is simply wrong.

But as I started to read, I realised that the post was all about the need for the learner to care not the teacher as I had first assumed. Some highlights from the post:

  • if people really cared about something we would have no work to do. And if we can't make people care, then we have usually done no work
  • we disseminate information without giving people a reason to care
  • we fail to provide learning resources to people who do care
  • don't tell people what is important, tell them why, tell the story
  • care is the central mechanism at the heart of all human learning - it governs both how we store information and how we subsequently use it

Some lessons here for KM, me thinks.

And once again, it brings me back to that favourite quote of mine from Plutarch.

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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