The art of learning

Flawless and speedy learning is the need of the knowledge era. This requires an institutionalized attempt to facilitate life long learning by adopting an education system, which is learning oriented rather than teaching oriented.

In recent blockbuster 3 Idiots when the Dean of the institute compels a student (Aamir Khan) to teach engineering in the class room, the student responds.. “mein to aapko yah padha raha tha ki padhaate kaise hain” (I was teaching you how one should teach).

This interesting scene raises several issues related to the state of education in our times. One can start addressing these issues by understanding its meaning. The American philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote ‘The Central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning: to produce not learned but learning people’. The truly human society is learning where grandparents, parents, and children are students together. Although the ability to learn is innate in mankind and we learn continuously and effortlessly from the surroundings; flawless and speedy learning is the need of the knowledge era. This requires an institutionalized attempt to facilitate life long learning oriented rather than teaching oriented.

Learning and non learning in school and beyond is a deliberation on the process of learning in humans from the perspectives of psychology, biology, brain functions and society. Learning leads to permanent capacity change in a human being, which cannot be attributed to biological maturation or ageing. It occurs when an individual interacts with his/her environment (the process of interaction) and develops mental schemes to capture the experience (the process of acquisition). Impulses generated from interaction transmit across the billions of brain cells with the help of chemical substances termed as neurotransmitters. These impulses are then retained in the memory in the form of mental schemes or neural traces that hold the learning from interactions with environment in our brain.

A recent significant discovery in brain research establishes that in a healthy brain, reason cannot function without emotion. That is why the state of mind plays an important role in learning. When one is angry or sad, one may find it difficult to learn.

In this way, an effective learning situation needs a simultaneous activation of three dimensions viz., content, incentive and interaction.

A learning oriented education system that the interactions are devised and continuously assessed for their ability to engage the learners emotionally in the process of learning and to impart the contents of learning with clarity and authenticity.

Engaging learners in experimentation, experience sharing projects and similar activities leads to development of relatively clear and permanent neural traces in the brain. Teachers being higher level learners are expected to devise the mechanisms of interactions with the field of learning that engage the learners for quick and appropriate learning thereby helping learners utilize their creativity for innovation. Learning is inherent to human but the modern world demands for managing for manpower that can learn quickly and coherently about the changing world. Aforesaid insights are useful for establishing the learning environment in an education system.

When we talk of learning the learner or when it comes to individual intelligently can adopt a suitable method to suit his style so that he or she can grasp the subject much faster without for getting later. Even when undergoing organizational training and orientation he or she can adopt the method. The method of learning differs from individual to individual. This can apply right from school days to professional work later. What one cannot remember easily is to write it down for reference as and when required. One should develop his own skill to remember names when his job entails meeting new persons and may have to meet them later for work related purposes.

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