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Personal Learning

Personal Learning: “The key to learning is not the medium nor the message, it is the quality of the dialog with your peers that really matters.”
Comment: I’ve long valued Denham Grey’s thoughts and views (his wiki on knowledge management is excellent). With a bit of reluctance, I find myself disagreeing with the scope of his view on personal learning. The points made in this post (that learning is moving in constructivist directions, with greater emphasis on community and cohorts) are valid. It’s not a complete view. Learning is more than simply dialogue with others. I’ve learned significantly over the last few years from simply reading blogs – often without dialogue. Dialogue is a catalyst to learning, but not an exclusive conduit. Different learning styles and different learning situations require different approaches. While I’m very fond of the notion of learning communities, I’m afraid that we’ll ignore the values of personal reflective/contemplative learning in our rush to embrace this concept. Learning in communities is not the answer for everything (nor is the model of classroom lecturing). Learning requires a balance of methodology based on desired outcome, learner situation, etc. One canned answer doesn’t meet every need. Learning has many components – personal, group, organizational – and an understanding of these dimensions ensures greater prospect for successful learning implementations.

I find that much confusion of what learning is stems from different uses of the same terms. Learning has two components that are often used interchangeably: knowledge acquisition and doing. Most definitions of learning stop at knowledge acquisition. If learning doesn