In the next couple of posts, I hope to explore in a little more detail the subtle nuances of learning and whether there is a difference in developing knowledge, improving a skill, building a mindset, learning new tools and the emergence of emotional dispositions. These are all types of learning, but they are made visible in very different ways and have different purposes in our overall development, so do we need to treat them differently.
In this post, we will simply define what we mean by theses different domains of learning. I am going to borrow language which has been used in the business world for a number of years as I believe that by developing a common language around these types of learning, we can empower learners and teachers to make this learning visible and therefore build more opportunities to improve learning.
Knowledge is essential to great learning. On its own, it is not great learning, but it is absolutely the building blocks. Great learning, in part, is when we develop connections between knowledge sets so that we can build understanding. By developing strong connections and a relational understanding of different knowledge sets, we are able to apply our understanding at an extended abstract level, make hypothesis and apply creativity to our learning. (More on the SOLO taxonomy here)
Understanding our mindset when learning is key to ensuring resilience. If we have a growth mindset which helps us realise that intelligence is not fixed, we can take setbacks well and use them to further our learning. (More info on Dweck's mindset theory here)
Skills are much more transferable that domain specific knowledge. If we can develop excellent communication skills, then we can apply them across all areas of our life. If we can develop outstanding collaboration skills, they will enrich every team in which we work.
In a similar way to our skills, we can transfer our tool expertise across many domains. We can learn to use spreadsheets and formulae effectively and then apply these tools to a range of scenarios. If we can learn to use a camera and video editing software, we can tell any story.
The area which is still very new in my thinking and possibly the most difficult to define, heartset is nonetheless a fascinating area of learning. Can we give a language to the emotional dispositions which emerge from our learning. Can we pin down what it means to be in flow, can we metacognitively reflect on what it means to love learning and follow our learning instinct?
I look forward to exploring these aspects of learning through this blog and in my own work, but please feel free to leave your initial thoughts in the comments.