THE THINKERS ISSUE - The future of learning
We humans have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. That must be why we spend our whole lives learning, eager to absorb in order to adapt to our social and natural surroundings. We find great satisfaction in discovering our own universe; we marvel at things that have always existed but that we can now observe, classify, test, experiment with, modify, reproduce, imitate and innovate upon. Pushing the boundaries of knowledge, exchanging and passing on information transforms our society for good or ill as we go.
But there is a big jump to be made between that naturally inquisitive process of learning that’s in all of us, to the way we experience learning when we go through the schooling system. A great deal of time, effort and money is poured into lengthy debates about educational policies which, in the end, seem only to be perfecting a standardised, impersonal ‘one size fits all’ regime. We are more preoccupied with creating set methods of imparting knowledge from the top down than we are about providing opportunities to channel our innate energy for learning.
As we approach unprecedented transformation across our world, with access to more information and sources of knowledge than we could ever digest in a lifetime, shouldn’t we be turning the debate into one about what we can do to offer every learner useful guidance and tailored channels of access to that information, nurturing in the process their individual creativity and helping them reach their full potential?
Perpetuating the status quo is bound to backfire. Societies that cleverly invest in a learner-centred system today – where education happens from bottom to top, initiated by an individual’s natural curiosity and not the other way around – will surely reap future benefits, for they will be breeding a generation of unstoppable, bright, enthusiastic and empowered individuals.
Laura and Damian Santamaria