136 – Learning

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The vast waters keep serving as a metaphor for knowledge. If the water represents the sea of knowledge – all that is known – am I standing on the shore of ignorance? After all, I feel I know so little compared to what is known.

My mind keeps thinking about knowledge and learning. Einstein stated, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

Learning can be conscious or without awareness. As long as one interacts with others and the environment, learning continues until death. Let us not forget the importance of lifelong learning – that willingness to continue learning in an ever-changing world.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I see the water coming ashore as the learning initiator. This engagement starts the learning process. But the learner must wade into the water to explore – and explore enough to eventually explain what they’ve learned. Like wading or swimming, exploring is an active process. Learners must be actively engaged, but with teachers and trainers serving to guide and lead the way – not to tell the way – not to be the sage on the stage.

If water represents what we can learn, we must remain engaged with the water – even immersed because learning is an active process. Besides, there is so much available to learn.

I pass a toy sand bucket on the beach, which reminds me that everyone enters a learning situation carrying three knowledge buckets. Three that involve filling, transferring, and emptying. What the learner knows, what they think they know (but don’t), and what they don’t know.

A good learning design reinforces what the learner knows while transforming from the didn’t know bucket to the know bucket. But, a just-as-important situation lies in the middle bucket – the information one thinks they know but don’t. This information serves as the foundation of misconceptions and illogical conclusions. Only the learner can declare it as “incorrect”, then replace it with new correct information.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I think about the ways one can justify blood in our veins are blue. We see the blue beneath our skin. We see the red and blue diagrams of blood circulation in resources. If a person believes blood is blue, they will do whatever they can to justify their incorrect position by assuming the instantaneous color change when venous blood from a cut contacts the air.

Opinions are roadblocks to learning. Social media perpetuates myths, misconceptions, and incorrect information, therefore enhancing roadblocks. For instance, how accurate is one’s conclusion if they start with an incorrect assumption as the first or early domino in their logic? How willing is that person going to listen to a correct explanation? How willing is that person to admit they are wrong?

The refreshing water rekindles a situation I experienced at a conference many years ago. The presenter made a point that I processed as, “Oh, that’s what it means – so I’ve been doing a good job of doing it wrong for 12 years.” Yes, that moment was a professional game-changer for me. That was the moment that started the need for learning something new and changing my past behaviors.

The bottom line is that only the learner can replace incorrect information in their belief system. Only the learner can admit how little they know, how much there is to know, and that learning is important. Only the learner can learn and unlearn – not the teacher, not the trainer, not the expert – only the learner can do that.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Technology has changed the world. To me, technology makes life seemingly faster – hurried. Continually learning throughout life is more important than ever. But in our fast-paced world, so is unlearning – being able to toss out what one knows to learn something new. Informal learning – less structured and more independent is more important today than ever. How many times a day does a person use Google or other search engines to learn something?

Technology also drives learning. I think back to 2009. Because Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day (12 Feb 1809), I recall reading numerous posts about each of them – especially Darwin. Those posts initiated the drive for me to learn more about the intersection of science and religion. My drive lasted several years, and I know I learned a lot. Because I wanted to learn, my self-directed study took me to new places – a new horizon – and I’m thankful for that journey.

I look across the water and down the beach at the horizons, which causes me to think of other metaphors. Is the horizon a learning boundary? Is the horizon a new level of knowledge? Does the horizon represent the distinction between the known and unknown? People need to seek new horizons to expand their minds because learning is the window to the world.

A wave just splashed water on me – I laughed and went with the flow. Suddenly I thought about the knowing bucket – the information we know – and the times when it seems the bucket has holes in it. This represents the times we can’t seem to recall something that we know.

I’ll save memory thoughts for another day because I like walking on the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have posted about Learning

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91 thoughts on “136 – Learning”

  1. It’s fun, Frank, also to learn, as we get older, the things we’d forgotten about (or maybe that’s just me! 😆)
    I think you meant 1809 with Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, and that’s something new I’ve learned today… those two, to me, seem worlds and times apart from each other… although I have no idea why.
    Happy Saturday, Frank! And happy learning. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tom,
      Thanks for noting my typo … Corrected! Until I stumbled across those posts, I had no idea about their birthday connection. I see what you mean about seemingly world’s apart. Cheers to you being one who enjoys learning … and see – you learned about the birthday connection in this post. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s fascinating that we have “conscious learning” and “unconscious learning”……we learn things every day but perhaps don’t recognize that we do until we have to call on a fact or quote or incident that’s in our memory bucket and there it is – proof we learned something without knowing we did. It’s just there – it became part of our world and we didn’t have a conscious thought that it was “learned”. Anyway, it’s a bottomless pit of a subject and you covered so much of it – learning is (I hope and believe) forever as long as our brains are able to process information.

    Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam,
      There is no doubt that learning is a bottomless pit. I think of university professors and other researchers – their knowledge so deep and searching to explain the deeper – let alone the vastness of available topics. Jeopardy contestants amaze me with their vastness by answering questions that I’ve never encountered! But depth and vastness together, oh boy, no wonder human survival is correlated to learning. Cheers to the help that unconscious learning provides.

      Like

  3. So true, that opinions are roadblocks to learning. Teachers, trainers and experts can offer information and promote critical thinking, but as the proverb says, you can lead a horse (the student) to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara,
      Good use of that old proverb – especially as I think about today’s opinion world based on alternate facts. That stuff in the “Incorrect” bucket definitely prevents learning and encourages learning more of the wrong stuff. Hope all is well with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve baked up a metaphorical pie worth of tasty learning, Cincy. Immersion is how we move from the unknown to the known, and then we push further. And we also learn how to navigate the madding crowd of opinions trying to drown out facts. We can blame it on social media but really, it’s about people isn’t it? Don’t blame the vehicle, blame the driver I say.

    I think what’s missing in our learning is the social interaction that was once taken for granted. Study partners morphed into Alexa answering a question. Libraries turned into Google. And so we learn more and more without the thread of a shared journey, leaving many feeling disconnected. Again, I don’t blame the fact that we information at our fingertips for that. I just think we have to be cognizant as to what is missing so that we can fill that void some other way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc,
      I agree. The bottom line that it isn’t social media or talking heads (like Tucker Carlson). The learner makes the conscious decision to follow the trail in illogical kibbles and incorrect bits. … and that definite inhibits learning. I enjoyed your take one the social interaction involved in learning. So true. Alexa and Google definitely serve as well as a quick source for information. But with Google, sorting information (identifying reliable sources) is upon the learner. Having “read it on the internet” is not a reasonable justification today because there;s a lot of crap out there. It’s like staying giving credit to a supermarket tabloid. Good thought, sir.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Illogical kibbles and incorrect bits, I like that. And it’s true in that the consumer is learning the wrong information and it gets recycled.

        So much stuff is out there and people feel as if they’re authorities on something when they are far from it. In some cases, it’s humorous but in many others, not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Elisa’s Spot and commented:
    OH! I got interesting identification with thinking/believing that I MUST be able to explain what I replace, or what knowledge I gain, to OTHERS! Who knew I did not HAVE to do so, no matter the actual or perceived demand to do so! FREE! And this idea, this visual about locating, and noticing old ideas and willingness to change them! So much simpler! Thanks so much! I think I like the 3 buckets too, leaves off the implied-to me, wrongness and feelings, and gets straight to non-judgemental sorting! Right into action, i love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elisa,
      Glad you appreciated the 3 buckets idea. Teachers and trainers have to realize that every student comes to their classroom with the same 3 buckets – but what is in each is different. PLUS – the student controls the buckets, therefore the teacher can only do so much. If the student doesn’t want to believe it, they won’t. Thanks for chiming in and the reblog.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A fun post with this extended metaphor, Frank.
    And buckets can be patched or expanded. You can add another bucket to teach what you’ve learned. . .
    We’ve always had misinformation and the refusal to accept fact over opinion, of course–with disasters and tragedies as a result, but social media spread both deliberate lies and incorrect information faster and farther.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merril,
      Absolutely – misinformation has been around a long time – well, probably as long as humanity – yet technology promotes it faster and farther. Just think – as technology continues to expand, misinformation will grow even more. Woo hoo …. sorry for the sick thought! Such a crazy world.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marc has touched on a point that is important to me. Shared learning seems to be slowly (not that slowly!) disappearing. Sharing of understandings about what you are learning widens that knowledge all the more. Sure, you can read about something and then come to a conclusion but when you are two or more reading the same thing and then exchanging, you can get more perspectives, thereby learning even more.

    Interesting subject and lovely piece of music to listen to as I type this 🙂
    Happy Saturday, Frank! Enjoying your work at the club? I am assuming you are still there?

    Like

    1. Dale,
      I agree with the thoughts about shared learning. After all, we are social creatures! Discussions with others are vital and not only deepened understanding, they also provide different points of view and even correct misinterpretation. Glad you enjoyed a bit of George Winston!

      I’m still at the club – year 7 – but it’s one year at a time for me – and I figure I will be there fewer years than I’ve been.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In my work life I was the trainer. I would always provide written instruction, demonstrate the procedure, and then coach each person to perform the new skill. The next step was observing for proficiency – watch and correct, then watch without correction, then watch and have them explain the steps as if I didn’t know how to perform the task/skill. This resulted in staff being very good at what they did. Another was “passive learning” this involved putting information where they would read it. Where they would see it every day, and making it interesting! It made it easy to put the info out in the world and yet made it the responsibility of the learner to see, read, and understand! I’m a huge proponent of Life Long Learning! When we stop learning is when we stop living!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m being distracted by a travelogue about the Emerald Isle. The scenery is beautiful and I tell myself it’s a learning process as there are Portuguese subtitles. Happy weekend, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for the walk and talk Frank. Love George Winston.
    “Is the horizon a learning boundary? Is the horizon a new level of knowledge? Does the horizon represent the distinction between the known and unknown? People need to seek new horizons to expand their minds because learning is the window to the world.”
    lovely lines of questioning! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The wonderful thing about horizons is that we never actually reach them. Every time we think we’re there, we see another horizon. And that is just what learning is all about. We learn something new which inspires us to learn something else which inspires us to… You understand. I love water as a metaphor. There is so much beneath its waves that we do not yet understand and that is what makes it so enticing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Just as we never reach the horizon, we never reach the end of learning. The depth and breath of learning is that vast. As I like to say, the more I learn, the more I discover how much there is still to learn. Thanks for sharing your love for beach-related metaphors.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Monica,
      Thanks for the morning chuckle. But you got me thinking about aging as a time when we are more selective about the technology we embrace and the information we engage. Sometimes we resist the water, other times we embrace it, and sometimes it goes right through us.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I’ve long been a fan of lifelong learning, Frank. It seems to me the more engaged a person is, the better (both for himself and for those around him). Perhaps that’s the sad thing about nursing homes — too many residents just sit and stare at a TV, ultimately “vegetating” into oblivion.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post, with lots of thoughts…. We learn all the time…
    I am at that stage now Frank, where I try not to overthink Too much… That splash of water bringing one back to the flow of life ..
    Much like the tide…. Ebbing and flowing… we are vessels that contain and overflow…
    My bucket is pitted with holes…. But there is only so much water we can carry… Best to allow room for a new level of awareness to settle as we allow the mud to settle, fill in the holes and carry only that which we want to carry…
    Loved your thoughts dear Frank…
    Have a lovely week to come.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      Thanks for the philosophical thoughts through a series of metaphors – even though I believe our buckets are very capable of holding a lot – however, can there be a feeling of being overwhelmed? Sometimes, the feeling or right vs wrong and agree vs disagreeing also impact our sense of awareness. In those tides, ebbing and flowing like the tides is also important. Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful week. 🙂

      Like

  14. Piquing post! Mostly it kept making me think of an old song.
    I’m pretty good at retaining lyrics, poetry that I’ve learned. I kept singing in my head; 🎼 I learned so much I broke my mind” 🎼 I Googled the lyrics. Having read this post, I decided not to trust the information highway, and listen to the song.
    The real words…..
    “I saw so much I broke my mind”
    So, I learned something. I was wrong, but now I got it right.
    Does this make me a 3 bucket case?
    Cheers, Frank!

    (I’m sure you know the song.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      Sometimes we learn enough that leads us to seeing the tidal wave that is against that thought …. which could drive a person crazy. When I taught, I knew I viewed the education world much different that most of my colleagues (including administrators) – and yes – I drove me a bit crazy – then again – I probably did the same to them. Meanwhile, who sang the song you are referencing?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan,
      Cheers to your joy for learning. Given you profession during your working years, one can become a relic very quickly if they don’t keep up learning. Meanwhile, if someone has a misconception, they are the only ones who can replace correct it. As in my blood example, if they believe some of our blood is blue, they will continue to do so until they process otherwise. Think about this current example – Can a person who believes the last presidential election was stolen/rigged be convinced otherwise?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Well said, Frank! The bucket analogy is spot on. I do feel that opinions open the mind to learning about others, even if it may not be what we feel or believe. Thanks for getting my mind ready for learning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennie,
      I was hoping you would see this walk! Yes – opinions can both motivate and inhibit learning. When it comes to opinions, I like bringing up the difference between right vs wrong and agree vs disagree. I recall one discussion I had with adults. One person said I was wrong – and I firmly responded, “We may disagree, but I am not wrong on this issue.”

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Exactly my point, we carry only that which we want to carry. Overwhelm is letting go of the debris, that which doesn’t resonate. Lol hence the mud, ..
    Here’s to finding Spring Water.. that puts life back into our steps lol 😆 💙

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You share excellent thoughts about the process of learning, Frank! Now that I’m retired, I know why we humans call it a day at this age. Our brains are full, LOL! I enjoy learning new things but having to synthesize a lot of information to start a new job is overwhelming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terri,
      Thank you. The overwhelming feeling of information overload associated with a new job is easy to explain – A lot of info + our desire to do well = overwhelming! Retirement is a time when we don’t want to be overwhelmed. We can still learn, just want to do it at our pace. Besides, keeping our brain engaged is important – but we find less-stressful ways of doing so.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Your thoughts of the buckets with holes reminded me of the peeps I take care; at least those with various types of dementia…their buckets have huge holes in them and no longer can they retain anything they had in them previously, and even those with great minds are sometimes victims of this horror too…as President Reagan did…

    I think this was a wonderful post, teaching us about the fact that we all learn differently and our buckets are filled with all kinds of variations of similar things. You almost could write a thesis about this subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Glad you enjoyed this post and thanks for the kind words. After 12 years of teaching, my light-bulb moment told me I had done “a good job of doing it wrong” – so I committed to revamping my teaching style. On the downside, because I had been there and done that, I became a stubborn advocate for change. Then again, I was just following the research. Thanks for sharing your story about your profession. Such a tough job, but a very important one. A tip of the cap to you!

      Like

  19. No better teacher than Nature, and it’s up to us to pay attention to its lectures. I agree with you, technology has 2 sides, good and bad, and you need to filter what we should absorb and what to let go.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I think that being a conscious, active learner is such a delight. I have so many interests and. I often wonder what I would have pursued in life if Internet learning had been available to me at a young age. I think a lot of learning is fueled by curiosity, and that’s been true for me. At this stage of my life I want to be open to “unlearning” where I might need to add in new perspectives or be more flexible in my thinking. Great post, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Frank, I have always tried to learn something new each day, and truly believe learning is a life-long venture. Now if I can just remember everything I’ve already learned…lol. Yes, as we get older some of that learning slips way…but I’d like to think it is just making room for learning new things! (at least that’s what I tell myself…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bruce,
      Welcome first-time commenter to the long strand of sand that I like to ponder as I walk. First of all, is this the Bruce from the sports blog that I can’t remember? A Philly fan if I recall. … The greatest adaptation for humans may be the ability to learn, and then using that learning to adapt in so many ways. Keep on learning because it never gets old!

      Like

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