A Theory of “Learning Spaces”

“What shall we use….”

Learning Spaces

Most of us grew up getting our early learning in a classroom. A teacher stands in front of the classroom following a finely tuned agenda designed to get the information across to many students in a short period. Then we move on to college where we are in larger classrooms, with more people, longer session times, and less engaged instructors. After a few years, you begin to narrow your focus and finally your classes get a little smaller and more focused, but still conducted in a classroom setting with the learning being administered by a single source. It is amazing that this system is still in place. In actuality, this method was not the original way that information passed from person to person. Traditionally, learning was through verbal storytelling and lessons that were passed on from generation to generation. ELearning has revolutionized how we reach out to individuals that either need training or want training. It opened up a world where the classroom can now be the size of the internet. Even though you could reach more people with your courses, you were still restricted to presenting them in an environment that was typically one-way and with no guarantee that the person on the other end received the learning as it is intended. Is there a solution that can bring us back to the old ways of teaching while still allowing us to leverage the internet as a tool of conveyance? Welcome to what I have refer to as “learning spaces.”

I saw a Ted Talk a few years back that featured a 13 year-old Logan talking about Hackschooling. It was an innovative look at how much more information can be absorbed when you have small interactions with many different facets of the world compared to the stale experience of a large classroom with directed teaching. While attempting to apply this attitude toward learning, I have come to realize that we are already doing this right now without even realizing the revolution that is happening underneath our feet. Brent Schlenker has been holding a daily talk about eLearning on Blab for the last few weeks. Blab is a site that I was not familiar with, but concept of video sharing has been around for quite some time, so I figured I would give it a shot. Boy was I in for a ride! What blossomed out of a curious venture was a short, in-depth conversation between people of like minds. The discussions evolve around the fundamentals of learning and the progress to removing the traditional restrictions currently held over it.  The concept of ‘learning spaces’ is more about putting learning where people are. Letting them determine where they best get knowledge. No question of time, no restriction on bandwidth, even on a busy city bus. We, as learners and developers have been tied to the business based LMS and the concept of ‘knowledge checking’ for so long that we sometimes do not even think about what the masses WANT to learn and if we really need to know if they learned it. If they are seeking out the learning, they are going to learn. I understand the need for compliance and CYA training, but past those monikers, we should be relying on the resources that can touch people virtually as an individual to be the outlet for educating people to do their jobs better. This can be real time or pre-recorded, but no matter how the learner receives it, it needs to be personal. The more people feel they are sitting across the campfire and being taught a life lesson that will aid them in their passion, the more they are going to flock to that ‘learning space.’

If people love what they do and want to learn more about doing that better, open up the floodgates for them to learn where they are. Do not restrict a learner to a classroom or in front of their work PC watching another course where they listen and hit next. YouTube is a resource you can access anywhere and get instant, tailored, one-on-one learning. Blab sessions can be a quick hit interaction with 2-4 people that focuses on a task that is specific to just those people. Those are a very small frame in a large film of concepts, software, and web sites like this. Fire up the web cam, invite the people that are passionate about what they do, and then pass that information from person to person. No need for a classroom, no need to have a meeting about it, just announce it to the world, and let those that can benefit from it be enlightened. Let each person find their ‘learning space’ and they will find what they are looking for.


2 thoughts on “A Theory of “Learning Spaces”

  1. It’s a great post! I’m glad I asked. I like how you went back to the roots of learning. While I was reading I imagined a large place lit by fires with groups of storytellers. You sit around a fire, listen to what is shared in this group. if you are interested or have something to share you stay and engage. Because your curiosity was excited, you desire to share is stimulated, you are motivated and you will learn.

    I had this experience also while participating to large trade shows and conferences. You hop from one room to another until you find the right place, the right topic, the right people. Because there are plenty of meetings and freedom you don’t need to plan.

    I did a similar tentative last week to imagine what could have been learning 10 000 years ago. https://kneaver.com/blog/paleo-learning-technology/
    I called it “paleo learning technology” by derision, I will add your post.

    I think we had a similar experience of sharing in Brent Shlenker’s blab, a feeling very near from being around a fire, sharing ideas and learning from each others.

    I think the future is in very assets shared at massive scale and learning communities based on personal connections with informal events.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic insight. I think the more and more we investigate this type of understanding of information, the more we are going to see that the current way of learning in general is outdated. Here are a couple other videos that speak to it as well.


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