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Questions: What Are The Most Important Questions About Learning?

A great deal of the reading and thinking I have been doing lately does not fall into any of the existing categories but seems to be more oriented toward Philosophy & Wisdom. This brings the idea of a practical philosophy of learning into question - the key words being into question. Listed below are a series of questions that I have initially created to begin thinking along these lines. Of course, this rough list is just brainstorming and new questions are welcome...

What are the most important questions about learning?

1) What is learning?

  • How do we perceive it?
  • How can we apprehend it?
  • How can we comprehend it?
  • What does it look like?
  • How does it feel?
  • What is the object of learning?
  • Can it be communicated to others?

2) What is the cause of learning?

  • Where does learning originate?
  • What is the source of learning?
  • Why do people learn?
  • Is it possible to not learn or to unlearn?
  • Are we in complete control of the things that cause us to learn?
  • Is learning a defined path or a pathless land that enbraces mystery?
  • Can we go beyond our own thoughts, experiences, memories in order to learn?

3) What are the limitations and barriers in understanding learning?

  • What prejudices, biases and attachments are present in our understanding?
  • How can we perceive these limitations and move beyond them?
  • Is learning more than thought?
  • If learning is more than thought, then can we assume that thought alone cannot express it?
  • Is memory, the accumulation of our experiences in our mind, a barrier to learning?

4) Do we present learning more as what should be rather than what is?

  • Can learning be fully expressed in words and symbols?
  • How can we go beyond the word, which is not the thing in itself, to create meaning?
  • Are explanations of learning suffering from a heroic self-inflation, or as Ken Wilbers describe, boomeritis?

5) Is learning a discipline?

  • What is the discipline of learning?
  • Can learning be understood as a discipline?
  • Is a discipline of learning the same thing as education or training?
  • How do methods and techniques impair learning?
  • Do experts and specialists learn?
  • What ideas serve to attract learning into particular orientations?
  • Is learning an interplay of knowledge, skills and behaviors?Can a discipline of learning be confined by theory or method?

6) Is learning a means to force people into submission through assumptions, influences, rules, traditions, expectations, conditioning?

  • Are people learning if they are unaware of how they are being conditioned to think and act?
  • Can learning be described as a positive optimistic value that has negative and destructive consequences for the individual?
  • How do we learn to see the hidden influences in our lives?
  • What are the most siginificant barriers to learning?

7) What does learning feel like?

  • Is learning fundamentally a source of disruption and dissonance that requires a response?
  • Is learning always comfortable?
  • Can learning take place in an environment predicated on rules, procedures and prerequisites?
  • What is the difference between learning and conditioning?
  • Do we perceive learning? How?
  • Are there different kinds of sensitivities to learning?
  • How do we learn to apprehend?

8) Is learning the clear perception of what is?

  • Can we learn to see and listen in ways that reveal truth?
  • Can learning take place in the absence of love?
  • How are beauty and learning related?
  • Are there developmental phases in learning wisdom?

9) Do different cultures learn differently?

  • Do people in different cultures have different perceptual orientations to life? What are they?
  • Why do different cultures have different beliefs, traditions, customs, ways of communicating, behaviors?
  • Is learning biased by limited modes of perceiving experience?
  • Why do people in different cultures think differently?
  • Can one culture access the learning patterns of another culture?

10) Is an integral and unified conception of learning possible?

  • Are there common elements in learning across all cultures, people, humankind?
  • Can common elements be used to form an integral conception of learning - not uniform, but unified?
  • Can a unified approach to learning help to break down the deep divisions in humankind - borders, nations, countries, regions, classes?
  • Can a unified conception of learning help us to rebuild our relationship with the earth?
  • Are there evolutionary phases (e.g. - spiral dynamics) in learning?

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Fantastic questions Brian!

I have a few more although they are probably implicit in what you have already.

Is learning holistic? (eg social, emotional, spiritual aspects)
Are there developmental stages in learning? (common?, individual? lock step?)
What is transdisciplinary inquiry learning? (integrated? multidisciplinary? interdisciplinary? ways of knowing...)
What is transformational learning? (Difference between informational and transformational?)
What is the role of play, humour in learning?
What is the role of questioning? (rather than/as well as answering)
What is the relationship between learning, knowing, doing and being?
What is the relationship between student centered, teacher centered and subject centered learning?
What is assessment as learning? (as distinct from assessment of learning, assessment for learning)
What is collaborative learning? (collective intelligence? peer-to-peer learning?)
Do individuals learn differently? (intelligences, styles, types...)
What is the relationship between vocational learning, service learning, enterprise learning...
How important are coherent conceptual frameworks in learning? (the big picture, knowing what you don't know...)
What is the role of imagination and insight?

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