Two Kinds of Learning
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Two Kinds of Learning: Breaking Free

Two Kinds of Learning: Breaking Free

Few days ago, at the writers’ community weekly meetup, we had a change in event of things and it sparked a conversation among all members present that night.

We were all given the opportunity to talk about our writing processes, challenges, and all of those beautiful stuff. One of our new members whom I would call NHL, asked a very profound question. While I might not be able to quote her verbatim, here is what her question looks like:

As a person, I love learning and I am always ready to learn. However, on the flip side, I do not like to be wrong. I do not like to put something out only for someone to point out that I was wrong about that thing. Why is that so?

Well, I was saddled with the responsibility of answering the question. It was the first time hearing someone ask the question but it was not the first time witnessing the problem posed in the question. I can argue that there is no one who doesn’t get the feeling. This post is not meant to give a broad view answer to the question. It is rather to expose you to think through the problem.

The questioned poised by NHL reveals already that there are two kinds of learning.

  1. Passive Learning
  2. Active Learning

We are all fond of the passive learning. We went to schools where the teacher was seen as the gate keeper of knowledge and also the judge of right and wrong knowledge. The teacher is saddled with the responsibility of preparing lesson notes, transfer the content of the lesson notes to the students, ask the students to sit for tests and exams to determine if they remember the content taught them.

This type of learning has been ingrained in us for 20+ years that we feel foreign when the right type of learning is presented to us. The passive form of learning is used by the school to keep us in check and small. It is a factory model – do as you are told or taught; do not innovate or try things; stick to what you have learnt

We then take this attitude into real life and a lot of people remain small all their life. They are looking for the job with the least risk. The job where they would have a supervisor tell them what to do and what not to do. They are looking for the job where creativity is not so much needed. They are looking for a job where they do not need to innovate anything just rinse and repeat; copy and paste.

But you see, the disadvantage of that is that you get stuck. You don’t move anywhere except if luck shines on you. This is also why a lot of people are looking for courses (online) that has all the answers prepared for them

Active learning on the other hand takes the learner into consideration. The learner is doing the job of finding out, making guesses and hypothesis, trying things to arrive at the answer with the right justification. This type of learning shows the learner on the journey filled with obstacles to find out the right answers. To find right, you will encounter lots of wrong.

Active learning doesn’t depend on tests, assessments and scores. The journey to find the right answers is in itself proof that learning as occurred. In the real world, active learning is what takes us from one level to another. We are faced with new discoveries and challenges every day. The quest to find answers and solutions to them is the act of learning.

You do not come into the real world expecting to have a teacher teach you all through your steps. You must find your way through life and to do that, you must be willing to be wrong. Active learning is built on exploration and exploration involves navigating through lots of wrongs.

The fear of being wrong therefore is an intricate problem that involves two things

  1. The fear of true learning. True learning is the pathway to true knowledge which in turn leads to fulfillment. Avoiding it is embracing ignorance
  2. The fear of being perceived as incompetent is a shame problem and hiding your incompetence doesn’t solve ignorance. It only strengthens it. To know what you do not know, you need to be bold enough to embrace being wrong.

Learn in public and do it shamelessly.

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  1. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

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