AltanaESP Glossary

Purpose, structure and Usage of the A-Z Glossary

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you. ~ Frank Tyger ~

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Approved 21 December, 2020 @ 7:59pm by Jan Viljoen (version: 8)


FOCUS: Put learning back within education and training!Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given… that separates one person from another. ~ Nelson Mandela

All people   learn, some people   apply similar learning techniques and yet no two individuals   learn in exactly the same manner. With this in mind, it is ludicrous to assume that a specific learning methodology and structure can be develop that is suitable for all people… all of the time… and that are efficient, effective and productive for all possible learning opportunities and scenarios. Therefore, weplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigWhich implies every single person on this planet of ours... the young, the old, the brilliant,the not so brilliant, ...etc. should have the freedom to either select, adapt, tweak and/or change our present assimilation and current digestion strategies that are best suited for our natural troubleshooting, learning and problem-solving temperament so that it is most fitting for the context or the circumstances under which we have to learn and master specialist knowledge.

Stemming from the industrial revolution economic era and well research by quite a number of highly qualified psychologists, educationalists and researchers; a learning methodology was developed and implemented for all people and all circumstances. This eventually - sadly - developed into the standardized teaching norm of today and when an individual struggle to achieve success with this “norm for learning”, then the problem and short coming lies with the individual and not the educational, training or teaching system and structure.

The basic elements of most modern day educational and training methodologies   can briefly be highlighted as follows….

  • Confine and place a number of healthy energetic normal individuals in a square room of various seizes.
  • Place a well trained and prepared teacher/trainer in front of the group of individuals.
  • The teacher/trainer make use of modern technology, scientifically research and statistically proven teaching methods to convey information to the group on the basis of a pre-defined curriculum.
  • Use plenty of examples to bring the real world into the classroom or lecture hall.
  • Allow the learners to explore the “reality” by means of asking questions and do interpretations of learning materials.
  • When possible and time permitting, take learners to experience and encounter the real “outside” reality.
  • Assess their understanding by means of a test, exam or assignment and a project or two, using a memorandum to determine the level of understanding.
  • Keep learning contents and problem solving focused and within the parameters of a specific subject area and pre-defined curriculum.
  • Ensure success by repeating the process frequently, and for as long as it takes.
  • Learn first, all that there is to learn and then “gets released” into the outside world to “do” your thing by troubleshooting and solving problems.

Although there is some merit to this line of teaching - for one thing, it was successfully used for a number of decades - it is gradually becoming less and less effective, due to a world that is rapidly changing and in which “removed” and “fragmented” academic learning no longer serve the purpose of modern day demands . The what of teaching - for the bigger part - is still valid, but the how of teaching is largely outdated. Learning through experience, trail-and-error and solving “real problems” should be re-instated in the how of teaching and a learning strategy. Thus, a “DO first, then LEARN”-focus, rather than a “LEARN first, then DO”-focus.

At first glance, it may seem that this approach to learning is completely “new”. It isn't! This is the most natural way for people to learn and we are doing it (knowingly and unknowingly) ever since man first arrive on this planet. It is a natural learning strategy for man - do first then learn - and suitable for all people, with some adaptations here and there to fit the context of the situation. Being “jailed” in a square room is “unnatural” and an unhealthy residue from the industrial revolution. The manner in which ALL children learn… to talk, to walk, socialize, …etc. is successful in most cases, except in the presence of serious problems such as - for example - severe brainplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigOur Intriguing Brain!

In the 30+ odd years that I have practised as a psychologist, career- and life coach, there is one particular aspect of human behaviour that I found quite mystifying. People does dumb things (myself included), but - rather naivelyphenomenonawesomeidiotic
damage, malfunctioning sensesplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigSenses

We often take our senses for granted and seldom - if ever - think about the tremendous impact that our senses have on our efficiency to deal with our environments (both our internal and external worlds). Our senses are the “conduit” through which we relate to and interact with our surroundings. Apart from this, our senses are also instrumental in the development of our brainbrainbrainbrainbrainbrainbrainbrainbrainbrain
or missing limbs.

Therefore, we should actively encourage and realign teaching and/or learning opportunities to apply a methodology of “first learn, then do” less and less; while emphasizing and focusing more on 'first do, then learn'.

For example…

When teaching a person to drive… do we fragment the driving learning processplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigTo learn and practicing first switching on the car, then changing gears, using the indicators, turning the steering wheel, ...etc. and when the different skills are well established, only then we let the individual drive? NO…, we expose the person to the “whole, complete, total, holistic” driving experience at once. First in simple less threatening more controllable situations and - as s/he learns from his/her mistakes, gain the necessary experience, competency, confidence and accept responsibility for his/her actions - we gradually expose him/her to more complex, difficult and complicated driving situations and circumstances.

I rest my case, people are learning in this manner for centuries, very successfully and is still actively employing in modern day learning strategies. Unfortunately, 90% of the time outside of the present formal educational and teaching system.

Would it be easy to convert the present educational and learning system of “first learn then do” into a “first do, then learn” system? Definitely NOT.

I don't teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. ~Albert Einstein

Is this a task of total impossibility? Again, No!

Providing that we consistently place the proper learning emphasis and focus on…

  • learning by implementation,
  • co-operative learning,
  • focused learning,
  • learning by collaboration,
  • life-long learning and
  • manage learning interactions by employing a reliable monitoring system of learning.

The Cone of Learning illustrate and emphasize the following…

  1. For effective and efficient learning to take place, learning should be supported and facilitated by means of critical thinking processes. In the words of Albert Einstein… “I don't teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”.
  2. Learning, education, teaching and training should focus on accommodating diversity, rather than promoting conformity via standardized test and a predefined curriculum (e.g. matriculation examinations).
  3. Learning and teaching activities should be based on and source richly from curiosity. Curiosity is the natural driving force behind and the true engine of learning. Unfortunately though, most places of education/training today, strictly enforce compliance (e.g. identified unit standards and the NQF predefined framework of “competency”).
  4. All people are natural co-creators and shape their own life’s by taking deliberate creative actions, which in the end is the main source of human diversity. However - as a matter of fact - standardization is currently encourage and rewarded by society as the “correct/right way” of co-creating one's life, with little to no tolerance, nor accommodation, for creativity and individuality. But sadly expecting it in the end.
  5. An awareness of and understanding that a different paradigm of learning is required to deal with change in modern times.

Efficient learning isn't filling an empty mind with knowledge and facts, but to TRANSFORM a close mind into an open mind. ~ Jan Viljoen & People create their own success by learning what they need to learn and then by PRACTICING it until they become proficient at it. ~ Brian Tracy

The following talks delivered - at TED - by Sir Ken Robinson, might provide to the reader with an extended learning   perspective and contextualize the learning approach followed, encouraged and promoted within the AltanaESP Network of services.

Education that nurtures (rather than underminesplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigAs it is presently the case... world wide! ) creativity and individualism…

Troubling trends: the increasing gapplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigThe alarming gap that exits between what education/training actually has to offer and the needs of a current place of work. , education's rapid dwindling stake in learning and the rising ADHD epidemic…