Learning happens naturally - humans are inately equipped to learn, explore and discover.
From time immemorial, families, communities, societies and groups have deliberately inducted children and newcomers. During the industrial revolution, movements to create a skilled workforce and movements to protect children and workers from exploitation initiated the emergence of mass education systems. Individuals learn to satify their needs by participating in the activity of organizations. Organizations learn to satisfy the expectations of their members. The modern world is the product of the learning of all its various individuals and groups.
The modern world is riding an accelerating wave of unprecedented change. Discoveries create changes that lead to more discoveries. Long lived social arrangements and practices such as master/servant and master/apprentice relationships have been discarded. Employers no longer claim ownership of their employees skills. Employees move between employers and jobs. Individuals own their knowledge and skills and are free to apply them as they choose. Successful individuals expect to learn continually to maintain their capacity to participate.
Learners, however, draw heavily on others: parents, siblings, peers, work colleagues, teachers, lecturers, etc. and on the achievements of others: art, technology, language, mathematics, books, recordings and so on.
Many readily assist others to learn. Altruism, a willingness to help with no expectation of a reward, often motivates those who engage in the task. A willingness to freely share knowlege and skills is possibly another inate human trait. The many who make information and tutorials freely available on the Internet apparently possess it.
1st July 2007
Banner image: from Hubble Site. Cropped from a Hubble Space Telescope panorama of the Eta Carina Nebula, a stellar nursery where new stars and planetary systems are forming by gravitaional contraction of molecular clouds.