Jan 23, 2008

Self Learning and Generative Learning

A friend sent me a mail asking me if I could point him to any material on self-learning.

When I hear about self-learning I mostly think about how Dr. U. Balaji used to talk about "collaborative and generative learning" or as he named it, Sahaveda.

So I searched for generative learning, and found this.

Generative learning is the active process of saying, "Oh. That's like ..." It's the process of constructing links between new and old knowledge, or a personal understanding how new ideas fit into an individual's web of known concepts. "The essence of the generative learning model is that the mind, or the brain, is not a passive consumer of information. Instead, it actively constructs its own interpretations of information and draws inferences from them" (Wittrock, p348). Learning involves mental activity - thinking. For example, with respect to reading a textbook or paper, without active construction of relations between parts of a text, or between the text and personal knowledge, the student will pass over the words and wonder what has been read. How many times have we each finished reading a paper, page or paragraph and wondered what it was that we had read?

Yes, I think it is what self-learning actually is.

So there is a difference between knowledge which I believe along with Denham to be a social process and learning, which is more personal?

Yesterday I was watching a DVD of a talk by Jiddu Krishnamurti in 1982, in which he talks about holistic observation. There are various points he makes about observing and the nature of consciousness. Now I am fascinated enough to find out what his thoughts were on learning and knowledge. As his core message was:

'Truth is a pathless land'. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation, and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a sense of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man's thinking, relationships and his daily life. These are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man in every relationship.