Saturday, July 26, 2008

There is no Brain2.0...so why Learning2.0?

Brain photo: Gaetan Lee


Its the "e" in e-Learning that is getting the upgrade, not the learning. There is no Brain2.0. The last I checked my Brain1.0 was working just fine...some might argue that point. The term should be e2.0-Learning, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I've been arguing for a long time that "Its all about learning...not e-Learning" and have been an advocate for dropping the "e" altogether. I think I was wrong.

What we do as professionals is to create content and experiences.

What we do as human beings is Learn.

I wanted to drop the "e" because I wanted our field to be more about the learning and less about the technology. I still want that to be the case. Actually, I think it needs to be more balanced. What we do is about people AND technology. But I think what we all want is to better understand learning so that we CAN impact the process. We must better understand the learning process in order to create better content and experiences. Its not just behavior that we need to understand. We MUST understand the human brain.

So in fact we never really change HOW people learn. (Actually just writing that makes me sort of embarrassed that I actually thought that was somehow part of my job.) What we do is change how we orgranize and structure content, environments, and experiences based on what we know about how the human brains actually handles the intake of stimulus. Our job is to create content and experiences that are easily received into short term memory, transferred into long term memory, and easily recalled at any given time. And our hope would be that our learners would inturn recall that content in order to create something new or simply be productive at accomplishing the task at hand.

I love John Medina's book Brain Rules. And I'm even MORE excited that he will be keynoting at DevLearn08.

You can check out his web site for a little taste of what to expect. And this slideshare by Garr Reynolds of Presentationzen.com talks about how Brain Rules applies to giving presentations.

5 comments:

Stan Heike said...

Sometimes learning 2.0 is neccessary where other forms of learning would not be practical. Have a look at the Maersk line tutorial at http://www.helpwize.com/
(not sure where the original is - somewhere on the Maersk site).

This is a good example of where other forms of learning would not be practical. It is basically a multilingual tutorial for how to use their shopping cart system for booking Maersk shipping containers. In order to replace this, you would not only need 24hour phone support, you would also need it in many different languages, which would be expensive and less practical than the eLearning 2.0 solution.

A system like this could also be monitored alot more easily to find out the most frequently asked questions in order to address potential problems in the business.

Brent Schlenker said...

Yes, but its still e-Learning 2.0. The brain still handles incoming information the same way it always has. Again, you simply presenting a different "e".
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

whoa, nice that you are keynoting at DevLearn.

Will it be available for those of us that are not lucky enough to go? :)

Brent Schlenker said...

Hi TinyLIttleBit! I'm actually just the Program Manager for DevLearn and NOT the keynote speaker. Dr. Medina is one of 3 keynotes at the event in San Jose.
We also have Tim O'reilly, and Dan Roam.
Perhaps we'll see you next year.
Cheers!

Matt Shandera said...

For the most part I tend to agree. Clearly, we can never truly change "how" it is the human brain learns. Leave alone the fact that each one of them works a little differently than the other.

However, I'd argue that the 2.0 should stick around, at least in some incarnation, and not just within the "e" part of learning.

In a way, it helps delineate the wide scale change in approach to learning (and by extension, society) in general.

It just so happens that we are using technology as the catalyst to spark this evolution.

The goal of learning 2.0 is really about data.

Previously, we, as humans, made decisions and learned based on a much more narrow scope of data involving of course, experiences and interactions we had .

The difference is that we now make decisions and learn based not only on the our experiences and experiences of those we interact with on a daily basis but on the aggregate data provided by everyone. This, in turn, causes a cascading effect by which learning happens faster, more effectively and permanently.

I tend to think of Learning 2.0 is harnessing the collective "singular" brain power of the world to help us learn, solve problems and make decisions.

Its a transition of me learning to we learning.

Just a thought!