27 May 2013

How Do You Learn Learning?

Learning - that elusive moment when things make sense. 

Learning - that inclusive moment which allows one to become a member of a specific group. 

Learning - how does one learn today?

Despite the blinking bytes of wisdom I come across, that moment still escapes me, leaving me with the hindsight of having learnt something, rather than the precise moment of deep learning. However, it is not hindsight I wish to focus on today, rather learning for today - which is not that different to all the yesterdays, except in the ways which we can now learn. 

The choices of learning are public. 

The choices of learning are open. 

And like the shimmerings of a painting, one reflection of light may lead to another, another connection, another option of learning. 

These options are available for both learners and educators but it takes interest, time and above all, the passion for learning. 

Heick (2013) points out these characteristics which are so intrinsic to one's learning today:

1. Dialogic Response: Learning is a conversation–whether personal, local, and direct, or more general, global, and digitally-based

2. Community Interaction: Communities–including local physical communities, and digital, niche communities–nurture relationships and frame content

3. Abstraction & Creativity: Creativity isn’t just art and whimsy, but the overlap between the macro thinking and micro details to solve the challenges of daily living

4. Media Literacy: Digital media evolves constantly. This makes not simply “keeping up,” but grasping the nuance of platform critical

5. Play: This is the opposite of compliant response to teacher-centered environments. In play, learners freely experiment, show ambition, follow curiosity, and take risks to create, design, evolve, and connect in ways that are otherwise impossible under compulsion

6. Self-Directed Learning: Play is a big part of self-directed learning, but more broadly can include academic response, project-based learning, game-based learning, and other “school-like” learning forms while students hold themselves and one another accountable to their own criteria of quality

As one can see, these characteristics have always been part of learning, except that with today's option of digital learning, Media Literacies play a major part of the learning process. By Media Literacies, I would like to add that here, I include also the skills of networking, for working across borders in realtime is common practice in many fields. Media Literacies, Digital Literacies, Digital Citizenship  - all inter-connected and essential to learning today. 

Which leads me to wonder  how one's learning may meet what students' want today? 


Learning for futures unknown, for today's connected and mobile generations, learning for life. 

As my semester of digital rejection slowly heads towards its end, questions of learning how to learn still remain pertinent. 

How do you learn?

How do your students want to learn?

Further References:

Couros, G. , 2013, 10 Expectations from Students


  1. Hi Christina,

    This is a great post about an incredibly important topic! I truly believe that anytime we have more questions than answers - we are on the right track when it comes to learning about learning (both our own and our students).

    I have built a Self-Directed Learning website (www.engagedinmyeducation.com) that I hope will become a common space to share great ideas, practice and resources about SDL and Inquiry-based learning. I would love to post a link or summary post for this article to be featured on the site. What do you think? Are you interested at all?

    Thanks again for a well-written post that should resonate with anyone struggling through the BIG QUESTIONS of learning.

  2. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for your time and feedback; yes, learning opens up many questions, far too many to be dealt with in one posting.

    Thank you for sharing your site; this one aspect of blogging which I really appreciate, i.e. the dialogue, thought provocation and connectivedness of our concerns and practices.

  3. This is a very important post. I really appreciate the time you took to put together this information. Whether digital, or not, the goal is deep learning and the responsibility to meet the learner where they currently are in the process. Carefully chosen technology for the right persons, in the right context for the right material is an opportunity to open doors to endless meaningful learning. Technology to be included in the 'tech group' of teachers is disastrous. Taking the time to be sure of your goal is the key to learning and having the learner recognize that elusive moment of 'aha, now I get it'

    always insightful.

  4. Hi Maria,

    Thank you for reading and taking time to share your views. Yes, I absolutely agree with you; more than ever learning, how to learn, when to learn has become a choice. The issue which is often on my mind is HOW to help others learn.

    More than ever before we live in a world where knowledge is out there ready to be taken, but one has to learn how to do that as well. Having certain knowledge/s empowers and opens up further corridors of learning. It is by belonging to those groups, networks, circles of knowledge that one becomes accepted as a participating member of knowing.

    Perhaps it is because of looming end of semester exams, or just because another academic year is ending, but this has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

    Thank you again for your time and adding further considerations for me to think about! :-)