I had lunch the other day with Jay Cross and we talked, among other things, about our mutual interest in his current campaign for informal learning (he’s got a forthcoming book on the subject). On my subsequent drive from Berkeley to Cal State Monterey Bay (I’ve been teaching a course there), I had a chance to think about the implications.
I wondered what would be covered at the Informal University; not a place where you learn informally (an oxymoron), but where you learn to learn informally. It fits nicely with my thoughts about what the new, wise, curriculum needs to be to cope with the increasing rate of change (where the half-life of information is much less than the length of a career). Just what do we need to know to be good informal (read: self-) learner?
Of course, we need to take a richer view of learning, so in addition to covering learning and meta-learning (learning to learn), we’d cover problem-solving and design, research, sources of data. We’d look at models, and systems-thinking. We’d also discuss tools, when, and how to effectively use them. And we’d talk about values, and wisdom.
I think, moving forward, that the type of curricula I want my kids seeing in school, and at university, will be to provide ways of thinking and attitudes, with less emphasis on core knowledge that will increasingly rapidly be out of date.