eLearning Opinion

Learning through Curiosity

I learn each and every day. It may be something subtle; but it always happens. Sometimes I find it hard to verbalize my new knowledge and put it into in words. Not all things can be expressed in the form of communication that we call language.

Interestingly enough each new piece of information can create an enormous wave of side-effects. Things that were lacking consistency inside my brain start to make sense. My neurons make the needed synapses to formulate something new,which on their turn formulates a new understanding or, more importantly, a new idea. The snowball effect can turn one piece of information to a catalyst of self-improvement.

Even if the new information has not such dramatic sequences it can lead to an evenly important side-effect; a tricky little thing called curiosity. My curiosity is less about people personal affairs and more about understanding the grant scheme behind everything. Information is less effective when it happens out-of-the blue, like for example when I read a Wikipedia article in random. Curiosity gives me the proper excuse to join something with immediate practical value with new information and an extended perspective.

I can see this thing working amazingly in practice. Every time I watch a documentary on History channel about a person or a battle, I find myself checking on Wikipedia the related article. Every time I have a conversation that brings up a new and interesting word or concept – even common words like marketing and leadership that I do not 100% grasp – I do the same. Googling and reading has become the natural extension of my everyday learning.

I’ve got a theory[1]that traditional learning is not so efficient because it is separated from real-world context. We enforce people to learn something that does not inspire them;something that has not grown naturally inside them. This may work in theory but in practice is an enormous waste of resources.

Alternatively, I strongly believe that learning institutes (and companies alike) need to create a curiosity-friendly environment. They need to inspire people by, for example, making the right questions that ignite the curiosity process. Nurturing the learning need can make people happier from their training and multiply the outcome beyond our imagination.

[1] This idea has only recently grown inside me through the above-mentioned snowball effect.  I was in Educa-Berlin 2011 where one of the speakers mentioned the need to “pull and not push knowledge”. A sentence is enough to ignite a complex brain process.

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