Why is self-directed learning and professional development so important today? Rawn Shah, commenting on one of my presentations, said that knowledge is evolving faster than can be codified in formal systems and is depreciating in value over time. This pretty well sums up the situation.
Think about the fact that knowledge is evolving faster than can be codified in formal systems … and what does that mean for all of our formal systems? Schools, government, and even religion are no longer stable bastions of knowledge. The logarithmic curve of knowledge, like our population, has hit us like the proverbial hockey stick it portrays.
Image by Waldir
One of the ways to deal with this knowledge explosion is to use what we have, our humanity. We have developed as social animals and our brains are wired to deal with social relationships. By combining technology with our brainpower, we can figure things out. We are naturally creative and curious. We just have to build systems that nurture our inherent abilities. Schools do not do that. Most workplaces do not. Our economy does not. Most of our governance systems do not. The answers to our problems are within us, collectively. We have more creativity (for good and bad) than any other creature. We need to harness it.
This is what social learning is all about. Not just solving problems, but creating new ways of working. There are amazing technological inventions and discoveries every day, yet we and our media focus too often on our problems. On the edges of society people are experimenting with new ways of working and living together. What is most amazing is that now we can learn about these things with a simple search or click. Two billion people connected to each other is absolutely amazing, yet many of us cannot see the forest for the trees.
Here are just a few examples:
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The Internet is a cornucopia of people sharing what they know. All one needs is the interest and a few skills to filter this. Don’t have the skills? Ask somebody. There are many people willing to help.
It seems so obvious to me, but most organizations are trying to deal with this complexity in simplistic ways. Humans have the ability to deal with some very complex things, yet too often our cultural and organizational barriers block us from using our innate abilities The future is connected, messy, loose, and open. Anything else will be sub-optimal.