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Changing the Language of Learning

January 2nd, 2012 by Graham Attwell

I am not going to provide any list of posts / apps or anything else to mark the new year. The lists are getting on my nerves. What constitutes ‘best’ anyway? I rather wonder if making lists has become a substitute for thinking? I would provide some thoughts on trends for 2012 except I not really sure what will happen. Technology is changing too fast and too unpredictably. Education economy and politics seem wrapped in a slow waltz which is also totally unpredictable in its outcomes. Indeed it may be that people and the actions of people will be more important than technology in determining the course of educational development over the next period. Or lets hope so.

But I will add a wish (not a wish list 🙂 ) for 2012. My wish is that we can get rid of all those letters in from of ‘learning’. ‘e’ ,’i’, ‘m’, ‘b’ and all the rest of them. I even wonder if the term ‘informal learning’ (one I am probably overly fond of using) is of much use any more.

I suspect these terms came about because we wished to signify learning by the technologies being deployed – and to a lesser extent the design of learning with technology. Yet as technology has become increasingly ubiquitous the terms have ceased to have any meaning. We don’t talk about ‘b-learning’ to refer to reading a book nor ‘c-learning’ to refer to learning in a classroom.

So lets just return to that old word – ‘learning’ – and use it to mean all the different ways in which people learn and all the different artefacts that they use in the learning process. Lest move from instructional design to designing for learning. Lets try and support learning in all the contexts in which it takes place. And lets try and support learning for everyone – not just those privileged to be enrolled on a programme in an educational institution.

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