Learning in an Era of Rapid Tech Change

Leaning in an Era of Rapid Tech Change

The 6 R’s of learning based on “where” knowledge has been before…

In Your Brain Before:
1. Remind & Remediate: The knowledge has existed in the person’s brain before, but been forgotten or made inaccessible. In this case, the person must be reminded of what they once knew or be remediated (lots of practice) to allow the person to again perform a task competently.

In Someone Else’s Brain Before:
2. Receive & Reconstruct: The knowledge has existed in someone else’s head, but never in the particular person’s head. In this case, the person must receive the information (training is doing this receiving as fast as possible) or reconstruct the information (education is learning to flexibly reconstruct knowledge either by following the ways others obtained the knowledge or obtaining the knowledge in novel ways).

In No One Else’s Brain Before:
3. Research & Reflect: The knowledge has never existed in any human’s brain, and so the learner must discover it on their own. Often times this may require the learner to research questions and find their own answers. Often, the learner must “reflect” in order to create the question that research will eventually answer. Asking the right questions then becomes the highest level of learning meta-skill to be developed.

Two Future Paths and the Meaning of Learning

As technological advances change us and our environment making the half-life of knowledge shorter and shorter, we can expect to see a shift in the meaning of learning.

In the early stages of human history, learning allowed us to cope with a physically hostile environment. In this stage of human history, learning is allowing us to cope with a rapidly changing environment. Ultimately, we will either discover ways to make the environment seem more stable, or we will redefine the human condition to allow us to learn and evolve more rapidly than natural biological processes can sustain. In one scenario the rate of change is controlled allowing us to learn more like we do today, and in the other scenario the rate of change continues to accelerate requiring that we re-invent ourselves and thus the meaning of learning. Or we pursue these two possibilities in parallel, creating both a stable and satisfying path for people as we are physically today, and a path with a new species able to learn in an environment that continues to change at an accelerating rate. It is likely that both paths will be explored in the next hundred years. The former path may focus on established values (probably not like the Amish exist, but allowing advances in only certain areas and not others – energy reduction, weight reduction, strength of materials). The latter path will place no barriers on advancement of knowledge, but will require a new species fit enough to live with hyperchange.

The Meaning of Learning in an Era of Rapid Tech Change 20120419

Also see, Inspiration – Rebuilding Service Systems


  1. Pingback: Learning in an age of accelerating technological change re-visited – Service Science

  2. Thomas Friedman said it better in his book, “Thank-you for being late – an optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations:” http://service-science.info/archives/4331

    Doug Engelbart said it clearly, when he talked about how hard it was for his generation to imagine teenagers accelerating to 60+ mph in a car merging onto a highway by looking in a small piece mirror attached to a super-power car, compared to the horses on the Oregon farm he grew up on…

    Acceleration is a hard thing to wrap one’s head around.

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