EVENT / THEMES
TEXT JENNI PULSKA
THOMAS ALVA EDISON, world famous inventor, holds 1 093 patents in his name – electric light bulb possibly being the best known of his inventions. And Edison was self-taught. He never went to school for more than a few months. Think about that!
We have been talking about life-long-learning for decades. Every new generation reinvents it as in a fresh and great idea. But what is the role of compulsory school in the life-long-learning path? Have we truly thought about that deep enough? Compulsory education is one crucial step in the life-long-learning journey and after that you are supposed to learn a lot more. In that matter, isn’t schools most important job to open up the students’ minds to learning?
Surely the goal is not to make them feel failures or that they are not able to do something.
Unfortunately, the latter is the case that happens in many schools even today. Many people leave the elementary schools believing they simply don’t have ‘the brain for learning languages’ or they are simply ‘too stupid to learn mathematics’.
Formal and non-formal education tend to often be seen separate from each other. Even though the formal education, schools, have so much to learn from non-formal, self-directed learning. Non-formal education covers all the learning situations that take place outside schools, higher education or universities. It can be a structured session, like swimming lessons or a seminar, or it can happen naturally as part of other activity, for instance learning in work environment or learning by playing computer games.
There are so many famous (and in-famous too) people who have self-taught themselves. In addition to already mentioned Thomas Edison, another good example of self-taught person is very well-known musician DAVID BOWIE. So, the question is what drives people learn by themselves? I would say: it is all about motivation.
But the question is what happens in schools to motivation?
The opposite to motivation is the "I can’t attitude”. As a representative of Finnish school system, I’m asking why we let students leave the school believing they can’t? Aren’t we supposed to lead them to a path to find what they are good at, to find what is ‘their thing’.
Self-directed learning is crucial part of future. Imagine starting your degree in one circumstance and finishing it five years later in another, when the tools and the trends in working life have changed. Just think about how different the situation was ten years ago. There were no smartphones. The world changes faster and faster and degrees, that take years to complete, are getting too slow to correspond to working life.
To understand self-directed learning better we need to think about a few more questions. Why learning outside of the school is more fun? What motivates to learn? What have you learned outside of the school? How to direct students to non-direct-learning in formal education? In Dare to Learn 2018 event we will discuss about these questions (so prepare to learn to learn!).
We intent not only offer ways to educate yourself but also serve ideas to formal education system and workplaces in learning context. Therefore, as a formal education representative or HR expert, don’t mistake to think the theme is not for you.
It is for you too. Join and challenge your thinking.