What is Learning?

Courtesy of Shelley Wright

This blog is for all five of my classes. Please answer the following questions:
1. What is learning?
2. What have you learned this year?
3. What have you learned about yourself as a learner?

Please take this seriously and please read and respond to the posts of your peers. Thinking about learning, both as a concept and as an activity, might seem dumb, but i think it’s important that we start to question what we do everyday.

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41 thoughts on “What is Learning?

  1. When first asked, “what is learning”, I didn’t think much of it. I figured that since I have been learning my whole life, I could obviously explain to you what learning is; I was wrong. I started doing a bit of research regarding the topic and came across a great deal of psychological lingo. Learning can occur consciously or without conscious awareness. Babies for instance can begin learning prenatally. Their central nervous system begins developing priming the fetus’ body for learning and memory to occur. Before I go into development and learning in babies, I “learnt” there are countless different types of learning. Rote learning and formal learning are most prevalent in school systems. Rote learning is simply memorization, whereas meaningful learning refers to the concept that information and knowledge is fully “learned” and understood in its entirety, something that we all hope for in the end. Formal learning describes the practice between student and teacher in which the student is learning in a formal setting, likely a school. Active learning is an interesting concept, it means that a student is essentially learning what he/she wants to learn and therefore the knowledge is more impacting. This type of learning is most prevalent in upper years where students can choose electives, especially in university when they choose a field entirely and can eventually achieve a bachelor, master or doctorate degree (depending on how passionate they truly are about the subject). This year alone I have learnt more about myself as a student and a “learner” than I have during previous years. Grade twelve focuses a sort of independent pressure on you. You as a student need to decide the amount of work and dedication you are going to put in to your studies and truly focus your efforts where you feel they should be directed. In general, I think that what I have learnt this year is about myself, study habits that I have cultivated for next year and improved note-taking and research ability, grade twelve has really started to prepare me for university next year. The biggest question that I would like to pose to other “bloggers” is: “is learning inevitable? Do people really have a choice whether or not they are learning or continuing to further their knowledge? Can you choose ‘not’ to learn?

  2. I believe that learning is directly related the action of simply living. Through living and progressing in one's life, one must be constantly learning. I confidently believe that learning falls under the same category of things like breathing, eating, and drinking.Something that every person does constantly is think. We are all thinking every second of every day. We are thinking about miscellaneous and pointless things like how uncomfortable we are in our chairs at a certain moment in time. We are pondering the art of sitting in a chair comfortably and exploring what positions are comfy and how your own body reacts to the chair or the position your sitting in. We are learning about sitting in a chair. Even something stupid and ridiculous like sitting in a chair is an opportunity to learn. Learning has become so automatic that most people have no idea they are in fact learning. Even reading this, you are learning that I am either not very knowledgable or that I am intelligent. There is nothing that someone can do that does not involve learning in some way, shape, or form.I am now moving ever closer to the conclusion of my high school career. As I carved my last rocky path through the mountains of information I learned many things. I learned how to write essay's better with more decisiveness and impact. I learned how to graph lines that curve up and down endlessly with no determined direction. I learned about parts of the world that are wastelands of corruption, death, and misfortune and how it is our duty as human beings of the world to care. I learned how to portray the emotion of a man who is drowned in love for a girl who possibly cannot love him back due to his past. I learned about the unsteady legal system that is supposedly our protection against the injustices of the world we live in. My brain has been exceedingly inflated with information until the point of implosion. But what I really learned was that learning is not about listening to teachers barking words directly into your ears or swallowing lines and lines of text until it is embedded on the back of your eyelids. Learning is the interpretation of every single scuff from black shoes on the floor. Learning is the lockers full of pictures of penis's and the 'FUCK YOU's" carved into the cold wooden desks. Learning is the apple disregarded and abused under the couch after someone has taken one small bite out of it before thinking to themselves that the apple was too cold or soft. Simply put, learning is living.As for myself, I have learned that life is nothing but a journey of ups and downs that really does not matter to anyone or anything. One person is so insignificant and yet crucial simultaneously. I have learned that the only person who can define your life is yourself. You define what is important to you and you define what is not. I have learned that learning is the single most important thing that exists in this world of colour, disease, beauty, destruction, and simply amazement.

  3. The term learning is a lot like the term progress. I think that it is impossible to find on simple sentence to completely sum up either of them. While having a casual discussion in econ last week, we started brainstorming what we thought “progress” might be, and I found I took a similar approach when I began trying to come up with a meaning for “learning”. If I were to try and explain learning I would probably describe it as the ability to retain something, whether it be a skill, knowledge, etc. While this is a pretty broad definition, I think it’s impossible to limit the general idea of learning to anything smaller. I also don’t think that learning has to be solely knowledge based. Thinking back on the things I’ve learnt in my life most that come to mind, actually have no relation to school, or what one might commonly associate with the word. I think back on learning lessons/ learning from my mistakes, learning a new skill, and working towards understanding. Understanding was another word that I quickly associated with learning. You aren’t born understanding things, you have to establish a base, or learn something in order to be able to move forward to the next level. Essentially learning is the base to a large aspect of your life, and the things you chose to learn, or are forced to learn are the things that will end up affecting your life in the long run. How you choose to use what you learn is pretty much up to you. This leads to my next idea, that when learning there has to be an element of interest. People are naturally going to work harder on things they are interested in, and I find that when I actually like doing something or learning about something, I will become a lot better at it, and retain it for a much longer time period. This relates to what I have personally learned about myself as a learner. Basically that when I establish an interest I will become more successful at something. This has helped with a lot of my decisions, especially some recently. An example would be the courses I took this year compared to last. I struggled through a year of Gr. 11 chem and physics, only to realize that I hated going, and hated the concepts we were learning. I rerouted to courses that were more math or business related this year, and have found that I am generally a lot more successful. That is a part of what I have learned about myself this year. A lot about my interests, and interests career wise. I never really was forced to choose a career path up until this year, and I had to step back, and evaluate where my interests were, and where I could apply them in the future, in a job atmosphere. I think that answer all of the questions. It was interesting how easy it was to write this, maybe because it’s a skill i’ve established, or because I actually found it interesting to look back on what i’ve learnt, how it can be applied, and why it’s relevant.

  4. All my life I have been told that I go to school to further my education by learning. For 12 years, I have gone to classes Monday to Friday with the mindset of being taught important lessons. I am not debating the fact that I have learned since I began school, but is high school simply glorified baby-sitting? Does the real learning experience begin in outside high school?As I sat through Canadian History or Geography, I wonder why I need to memorize the fact that Mt. Baldy is 832 meters? While in high school I have gone through all the hoops and I am nearly at the end. I can truthfully say 90% of the information I have attained has slipped my mind mere days after exams. Running a business has proved to be the best learning experience of my high school life. In reality learning can only encompass information that passes from short-term memory to long-term memory. Other wise, it is simply memorization. I believe that if someone has absolutely no interest in a topic, they will not learn it. You have to be motivated to learn, and if that motivation isn’t present, information will not become part of long-term memory. A majority of high school experiences involve irrelevant classes that appear arduous and useless to students. Personally I have learned the most in this year through the development of my business in parallel to my studies in economics. I can see the application of my learning in a real life situation, which motivates me to continue to learn. I have learned to inner workings of local business, as well as many virtues important in the business world. Personally, I have learned that I will never truly learn a topic unless I am motivated.

  5. In my opinion, learning is when someone passes their knowledge down to someone, and that someone takes the knowledge they have learned and modifies it to “fit” today’s society. There are also many different types of learning to be considered, and I don’t think that teachers always consider the different options. Many of them are so used to the way they like to teach that they don’t realize if they changed it up a bit; it might really benefit some students. It could be as easy as taking a simple math equation and applying it to a real life situation. Instead of just saying “what’s 3-1?”, teachers could try and make it more realistic by saying, “if I had 3 concert tickets and I gave 2 away to my friends, how many am I left with?” Although this seems like a very simple example, it’s just to get my point across. For me, I have realized that if I am learning about something that doesn’t interest me, I tend to just not absorb what I am being taught because I don’t like the subject. Being in grade 12 this year and being able to pick pretty much all of my courses has given me a lot more success in my schoolwork since I am taking the courses that I like and I know I am good at. This year, I have learned that next year in university we are all going to have to be much more independent than we are used to in terms of how much dedication and focus we want to out into our studies, as Leanne mentioned in her comment. All things considered, I think its really tough to try and define learning because it is such a broad topic and everyone is always going to have certain opinions on what is considered “right and wrong”, and everyone is always going to have their own thoughts on what they think learning is.

  6. These are great responses – even with the cussing, Max. It's interesting that we have started this conversation about learning. Last night I attended the Manitoba Association of Computer Educator's AGM, and two of our guest speakers (Alec Couros and Dean Shareski) were talking about learning. They posed some interesting questions, such as: what is the difference between learning and sharing?I was impressed with the level of commitment that teachers have to the notion of learning. We struggle with it everyday and try to find some sort of truth as to what learning is – even if this truth is unattainable.

  7. Powerful stuff, Max. If learning is just living, however, why should we bother with institutionalized education or any form of formal education? I guess what I am asking is what is the point of education? Do education and learning have anything to do with creating and furthering knowledge in a community? Can I truly learn by sitting on a couch in parent's basement eating nachos? I would be absorbing bad television, but would I be creating anything? Would I be experimenting? Would I be making judgment?

  8. This year, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a Canadian, and how history can still effect the present, even through stereotypes and hatred. In February of this year I went with my dad to a conference on sleep and how sleep effects work. There were two lecturers there, one who was horrible, and one who taught me more than I thought I would ever know about sleep. The difference was that the doctor who had a good presentation kept the information relevant, clearly explained what he was talking about, and avoided telling the audience information that they would already know. The other speaker however, wasted his time on irrelevant information, or information that I already knew. This taught me that learning happens whenever someone has a new experience. This new experience could be doing something new, like meeting someone you'd never met before, or going to a new part of town, but this could also be a new experience that you have doing an old activity, such as trying to fix your computer when there is a problem with it. Either way, you discover more about the world around you,because you encounter something that you have never seen before, and when you interact with it, you can learn. As Kendra pointed out, this can make it hard for teachers to teach sometimes, because they always have to give the students a new experience every day, from the same old classroom. What I have learned about myself as a learner is that I apply myself in classes where the teacher is interesting, and where the teacher does teach me knew things, because in classes where that doesnt happen it seems like a waste of time. If the class moves along well, and teaches me interesting and relevant information, then I will be motivated to learn it.

  9. When first asked what is learning, the answer seemed pretty obvious to me. What came to mind is going to school 5 days a week for 7 hours a day and being taught by teachers. However, when I analyzed the question further, I soon came to realize how clearly wrong these thoughts were. To be able to learn, I strongly believe that you first must have a genuine interest in the subject before you can do so. If I’m being completely honest, this year has been awful in some ways for several reasons. I am forced to take subjects that I have zero interest in whatsoever, such as history for example. I don’t enjoy going to class, and as Dr. Levine stands at the front and talks for 55 minutes, I can honestly say that I don’t listen to a single word. Maybe I shouldn’t say that and it’s frowned upon, but it’s only the truth. It’s nothing against him personally at all, I just have no interest in knowing that Lucien Bouchard was the leader of Bloc Quebecois or that the Meech Lake accord failed because it didn’t meet the needs of all Canadians. If you ask me at the end of every history class what information I have retained, I can honestly say nothing. Does this really sound like learning? Not exactly. Once again, this is not because of the teacher, it is just due to the fact that no matter what I do I will never like history.The same is not true for courses I have a genuine interest in, such as math. I actually like going to every class, I’m completely engaged, and it pays off because I know what we’re doing. Because I like math, it motivates me to fully understand the material. When I understand the material, I am able to apply it and actually use it. To me, this is more like learning compared to what I do in history. Why exactly does this happen? Once again I believe it is because I actually like the course. It is a lot easier to learn when you actually like what you are doing; otherwise, you could be like me in the classes I don’t like and completely block everything out that is being said because you are not interested.This is why I think I’ll have a better year learning in grade 12. I won’t be forced to take classes I don’t want to take. I won’t have to go to biology and be lectured that respiration is gas exchange that occurs across cell membranes, specifically the movement of carbon dioxide and oxygen. For example, I had to look in my notes to get that because I didn’t listen in class since I had no interest. Clearly I didn’t really learn the material successfully. Next year I’ll be able to take the courses I think I’ll actually enjoy taking, courses that are more math related. I’ll be more likely to pay attention in class and hopefully be able to actually learn what is being taught properly.

  10. What is learning???Learning is an extremely difficult thing to define. So far, the discussion on this post has really agreed on two points. 1) That learning happens constantly and in many different ways2) That it occurs whether we like it or notI agree with both of these statements, but I’d like to take it further. I would say that we humans, or any type of animal, don’t need to ‘learn to learn’. It is an inherent part of us right from the beginning. Our brains are hard wired to receive information and connect it somehow. Therefore, in response to Leanne, I would say that learning is inevitable. It is simply not possible for us not to absorb information of some kind. I would say that learning is as essential to survival as eating or drinking. Think of the one sense that our body uses to teach us not to perform certain actions: pain. For example, you poke your finger with a needle. You feel pain as a result. Your body wants you to make the connection and learn not to poke your finger with the needle and harm yourself. Overall, we can see that learning, making connections between seemingly random snippets of information, is so essential to who we are that our bodies even use it against ourselves. These snippets may be acquired by different means, and that’s where active/inactive, visual vs. verbal and study skills come in. It may be a teacher lecturing you for an hour, or it could be recognizing that water is wet the first time your mom gives you a bath. Everyone has his or her preferred means of acquiring information. What is important, though, is that you get the information somehow, you connected it with other pieces of information, and you use it in some way in the long-term. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do this. Then the natural question is, why do some people learn some things quicker than others? Why are some things harder and some easier? This may be where Mitch’s idea of motivation and where Kate’s idea of interest comes in. If you are interested in a topic, you are more excited to know more about it. For instance, I learn history very easily, but math requires a significant time investment for me to learn a new topic. This year, I feel that I have truly learnt where my passions lie and what I want to do with my life. I’ve thought of being a lawyer for a few years now, but taking this course and seeing how much more excited I am to go to Law as opposed to Chemistry has really validated my choice of a life path. At the same time, however, I think that I have gained a more realistic view of the world this year. Doing these sort of meta-cognitive exercises factored into that. I used to be idealistic to the point of being naïve, but now I feel like I have a more balanced view. Not that I don’t still have hope and faith, but I do tend to balance it more against the facts and use more logic to make sense of the situation. Personally, I think that this will put me in a much better stead than any kind of knowledge of the Pauli Exclusion Principle, poetic scansion, or even garnishment. While the material I learnt will do me well, I’m not particularly proud of what I learnt about myself as a learner in general. I have noticed that I tend to put up ‘mental barriers’ around subjects that I don’t want to learn, largely because of a bad mark. I know that I have to know the concepts. In fact, I do know them. My brain has gone on autopilot and made the connections for me. However, as a result of a negative assessment, I have decided to make it harder for myself to learn these concepts. This tendency of mine makes me concerned for the future, as it may mean that I do not persist when presented with a difficult case or get discouraged after losing a trial. Overall, learning is a process. One that has no beginning or ending and with endless possibilities. While we may share what we learn, sharing itself is a personal thing.

  11. Learning is a natural experience. We begin to understand things naturally and unconsciously through some sort of motivation. By learning through intrinsic motivation, like wanting to read a textbook because you enjoy the subject, you’d probably enjoying yourself and not even acknowledging the fact you’re learning. Learning through extrinsic motivation, like studying for a good grade usually won’t have the same positive outcome. I feel as though learning with an extrinsic factor would make the person more stressed and less successful learning/studying because they may not care about the subject. Personally, if I’m not interested in a topic, I tend not to learn anything but just memorize the facts. If I have a passion for something, that’s when I find it easiest to understand and remember the facts in the long run. It seems like schools promote the idea of cramming and memorization rather than learning. As an example, I haven’t come across many people that genuinely enjoy analyzing shakespeare so students end up using sites like sparknotes to figure out what they should think about shakespeare rather than their interpretation of the work. I’m constantly asked, “did you get any marks back today?” or “how are your grades?” but never “did you learn anything today?”. The sad thing is, some days I wouldn’t be able to answer that second question. It seems like grades are supposed to signify that you’ve learned something yet that doesn’t seem to be a truth. Learning by your free will seems more likely to lead to success whereas forced learning may lead to no learning at all. As for myself, over the past year I’ve realized the importance of time management. Time and time again I’ve underestimated how long it takes to complete assignments and consistently leave them to the last minute. If I have homework in a subject I enjoy, I won’t have an issue with the deadline but too often that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  12. I think that, before answering the question of what learning is, I must first make an important distinction. “Learning” and “acquiring information” are not the same thing. “Learning” implies the attainment and absorption (and therefore retaining) of information that changes and/or benefits that learner in some small way. “Acquiring information”, on the other hand, refers to the attainment of facts which are stored in the short term memory, used for their purpose, and then immediately forgotten. As many of you will probably agree, I think we as students spend a lot more time acquiring information that learning. As Max said, learning has a lot more to do with living than it does sitting in a classroom for seven hours a day. Humans are in a constant state of taking in, processing and analyzing information from the world around us. So what benefit does the school system have for us? Why do I have the quadratic formula memorized? What is the purpose of my being told, over and over again, that photosynthesis is the process by which plants take water and carbon dioxide and, in the presence of sunlight, convert it into oxygen and glucose? I’m certainly not going to become a mathematician or botanist. So why bother? While we do a lot of acquiring information in school, we also spend a lot of time learning, whether we know it or not. What we do in school is learn to learn. In this building where we spend so much of our time, we are learning to take in, process and analyze the information which the world provides for us in a more efficient and critical manner. That’s what I’ve learned this year. I may only remember that William Lyon Mackenzie King was the first citizen of Canada for a few months, but I’ll know how I took in that information and how I applied it for the rest of my life. At least, that’s the goal. As for myself as a learner, I’ve mostly just spent this year realizing that I do not, in fact, have a superhuman memory and I cannot just remember everything my teachers tell me by staring at the wall and pretending to listen. I won’t need the facts forever, but I still kind of need them for the exam. Students should take notes.

  13. Learning is easy enough to do, but difficult to understand. For example, we learn on a daily basis, but the significance of this learning is often understated.We are told by our teachers and by society that learning helps us get good grades, but what purpose do these grades serve? After leaving school, there is no point to them, and throughout our lives, what we learn is very important.Many of the things that I learned in school will be forgotten after the final exams, but the information I do retain will be the most useful information I learned all year.

  14. To me learning is everyday living, some people measure it according to marks through school and some people see it as knowledge in social situations. I think society has the wrong idea because people are pushed towards academic excellence and arts and other areas are not seen as important. For the first 12 years of "learning" in school you have some options on what you choose to take but very limited amount. University structure is a lot easier for most people because they can choose their own interests and can choose as many courses of whatever they would like to learn. When people say they learn something new everyday I believe that because i do learn something new everyday, it may be something small and unimportant but that does not change the fact that you learned something. I can learn something new by walking down my street or by going to school, it doesn't change that fact that I learned something. People say somethings are not important to learn, but everyone is interested in their own learning and interested in learning different things about different topics. Everyone has their own view on learning and what they would like to learn but in my view everyone should learn what they want and learn about what interests them, not be forced to learn something that they hate and are being pushed away from that material since they do not have the desire to learn it.

  15. I agree with Max. Learning is living and experiencing different things. It comes naturally and is a human characteristic. Learning shapes you as an individual and the way you view things. Learning is moving forward.Learning isn't always positive. Sometimes we learn things the hard way. Sometimes we learn things we didn't want to know about. Learning is very important on many different scales. From birth we are constantly learning, weather we know it or not. This year a had a lot of facts and statistics thrown at me. Most of them were completely irrelevant to my life and I had no interest in them.This is not my teachers fault. They are given a curriculum that they have to follow and we, as students are supposed to retain all of this information. A school is not an ideal learning environment as the teacher to student ratio is WAY off. It is proven that everyone learns differently so how could the teacher cater to each of our individual needs.If by some miracle we memorize all of the irrelevant facts that are thrown at us, the chance is that by the time exams roll by, we will have forgotten majority of them. This leads me to believe that they key to learning is to somehow, become interested in the topic or have it somehow relate to yourself. For example; I have Mr. Henderson as a teacher for both Canadian History and Law. Honestly, Canadian history does not interest me for the most part and I struggle to complete majority of the work assigned. Not because i'm lazy, but just because it doesn't hold my attention and I couldn't be bothered to write about what the Jesuits did or what Clovis Point is. Sure, I live in Canada but that's not a big enough connection to make this class worth my while. No offence Mr. Henderson!!Mr. Henderson also teaches me Law. My mark is higher in this course simply because I am engaged in class and I enjoy learning about the topic. It is easy for me to complete work in this course because my understanding comes naturally. This had pushed me to come to the conclusion that in order to learn, one must be interesting and engaged. Memorizing teaches us nothing.

  16. I agree with Max. Learning is living and experiencing different things. It comes naturally and is a human characteristic. Learning shapes you as an individual and the way you view things. Learning is moving forward.Learning isn't always positive. Sometimes we learn things the hard way. Sometimes we learn things we didn't want to know about. Learning is very important on many different scales. From birth we are constantly learning, weather we know it or not. This year a had a lot of facts and statistics thrown at me. Most of them were completely irrelevant to my life and I had no interest in them.This is not my teachers fault. They are given a curriculum that they have to follow and we, as students are supposed to retain all of this information. A school is not an ideal learning environment as the teacher to student ratio is WAY off. It is proven that everyone learns differently so how could the teacher cater to each of our individual needs.If by some miracle we memorize all of the irrelevant facts that are thrown at us, the chance is that by the time exams roll by, we will have forgotten majority of them. This leads me to believe that they key to learning is to somehow, become interested in the topic or have it somehow relate to yourself. For example; I have Mr. Henderson as a teacher for both Canadian History and Law. Honestly, Canadian history does not interest me for the most part and I struggle to complete majority of the work assigned. Not because i'm lazy, but just because it doesn't hold my attention and I couldn't be bothered to write about what the Jesuits did or what Clovis Point is. Sure, I live in Canada but that's not a big enough connection to make this class worth my while. No offence Mr. Henderson!!Mr. Henderson also teaches me Law. My mark is higher in this course simply because I am engaged in class and I enjoy learning about the topic. It is easy for me to complete work in this course because my understanding comes naturally. This had pushed me to come to the conclusion that in order to learn, one must be interesting and engaged. Memorizing teaches us nothing.

  17. What is learning, it is the attempt to understand something new. Learning is just a process that happens when we encounter something new in this world. You can learn by listing, actions, and self curiosity. Some one can listen to a lecture and take pieces from it that they remembered, they learned parts of the topic. You can also learn through actions, if you run a stop sign and hit a car, you learned that you shouldn’t go right through, you learned how to stop. These simple examples are obvious to people. But one that is not so obvious is self curiosity. I have found that I really only remember and understand information if I am interested in it. If it is boring I would not necessarily attempt to put effort in learning the information. This bring me into what I learned this year, I have learned lots of things through random information and self curiosity to peruse a topic. For example I came across a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws6AAhTw7RA), this is on quantum levitation, as I randomly came across this video it interested me, I spent the next few days researching this topic and by doing this I learned that there is a superconductor, that works with a magnetic track. When it is on the track it suspends the disk in mid air. That is just one example of learning that I did this year. What I have learned about my self is that if I have the drive and motivation to go out and learn any thing can be conquered in that aspect, but I have also learned to teach my self. The school that I go to dose a good job of showing me, tools that I can use to learn, and teach then these tooles allow me to teach my self on a topic. This is a genius way of getting kids to learn about a topic and also help them develop the recourses to repeat the task. Get them to learn about a topic then get them to teach other kids on that topic. Once you learn information it is easier to remember once you try and explain it to another because it requires you to think about what is being explained. That is my view on learning.

  18. If you went to random people and asked them what learning meant, you would probably get a different answer from every different person. There are times when we know we are learning, and there are times when we know we are not learning. What is confusing is when we are learning even when we don't realize we are. Also, another reason why the definition of learning is so vague is because what someone considers to be learning may not be what another person considers to be learning. So if it is so hard to define what learning actually is, how can it be defined? The first thing that we must ask is why do we learn? The reason why we go to school or why we do homework is so that we can have a career. The reason why we have a career is so that we can make an impact on society. We make money from our careers, so that means that having a job is something that is valuable.Everything that I learned this year was nothing that was unexpected. It was more of a continuation of what I had learned from previous years. Perhaps I studied a more advanced topic within the same subject or I learned the same topic but with greater detail. This advancement of my knowledge has helped me to be closer to making a impact on society. In terms of what I learned as a learner, I learned that it is important to be balanced and flexible. Learning goes beyond the classroom. We must be involved in other activites. Also, we need to learn life skills, such as stress management. If we cannot control our stress, we cannot be effective learners. Also, we need to learn how to be adaptable to different learning methods. Teachers express their ideas in different ways, and the ability to take all of this knowledge requires the skill of being use to these different teaching methods. If we get turned off by a certain teaching approach, then we cannot take advantage of knowledge and skills that are taught to us

  19. I would define learning as the accumulation of knowledge. We are learning every day. The moment a baby is born, they begin to learn. They learn what their mother’s voice sounds like. They learn that when they cry, they will get attention. They learn that their food comes from their mother’s breast. From day one, we are constantly learning and accumulating knowledge, both consciously and subconsciously. Through simply living and experiencing the world around us, we are learning. I’ve learned a lot this year. However, I would say the majority of the things I have learned were outside the classroom. I’ve learned important life skills this year, mostly through trial and error, but also through conversations with others and through my own research. I think a formal education was very important in my development, but that I had already taken most of what I could out of it by the time I made it to grade 12.I have learned that I do my best learning on my own. The things I remember and truly learn are the things I choose to learn because I am interested in them. I think I’ll do better in university than in high school simply because I can choose all my courses. I don’t like being forced to do things I don’t want to do, so I’ve never done as well in subjects I don’t like.In response to your comment on Max’s post, I believe that while formal education is an important part of learning, it doesn’t fully encompass it. In school, we learn things that will help us go farther in life. Someone who never attended school would still be learning, although they wouldn’t be learning the specific skills they would need for further education or for most jobs. A high school drop out living in his parents basement is still learning every second of every day, but he isn’t necessarily learning things that will help him move forward in life.

  20. What is learning Learning has many different definitions. I think learning is the process of understanding a concept and being able to teach it to someone else. Learning is not memorizing and regurgitating something but completely understanding an idea. When you understand an idea you remember it, but you have not memorized it.What I learned This year other than the curriculum I have learned how to manage my time and how to stay focused when something does not interest me. As a learner I have learned about myselfI have learned about myself as a learner that I learn best when I do an activity or project. I have learned that sometimes without trying you can learn while other times I can be difficult to really understand a concept. J.M

  21. I have struggled to understand what exactly learning is… Its a very general topic as learning is a fundemental key in life. We cant help but learn, but yet our society makes learning sounds hard. MY question is how do we define what exacty learning is? Is it a lesson in school that we must remember to move on to the next grade or is it a life lesson we accept and help guide us through the next challenges we will face. I asked Mr. Henderson today what he thought learning was, and as awlays he gave me an answer that just made me think about it anymore. Is this a form of lerning? To me learning is when conversing with others about topics and opinions. In school they tell us there are many types of different learners, visual, reading based etc.. I believe this istrue to a point. Learning isnt about how we retain information best, its what we extract from the infromation and the opinions we base on the text that is learning. At the top it says remembering comes first in learning. So what did i learn this year… well, i learned that your last year of highschool has alot of lessons and major decisions that shouldnt be taken lightley. I learned what i want to become in life aswell as how to deal with certain aspects of life such as moving on and maturing. yes i learned some math and some other subjects but lets be honest i probably wont remember them 20 years from now. to me learning is still an open question. Do we define it from an education based opinion or life based or both?

  22. Learning isn't about the the memorizing or the marks. The true learning is what you can take out of what you learned in school. The things that will stay with you throughout your life. These things are things such as responsibility honesty work ethic, etc… The marks that you obtain in school are only short term. The facts that are memorized to obtain the marks will also disappear. If you really want to get the most out of learning it is necessary to work hard at getting the marks to learn for the future. This year I have learned a new way of learning and studying. In other classes I have "learned" facts and memorized them. This year, I have learned that the best way to learn is to truly understand the topics I wish to learn about. What I mean by this is not only are the facts of WHAT happened but also the WHY. Discovering the WHY is the understanding of the reasons for the given event. This is so much more effective when learning a topic than the act of simply studying the notes the teacher writes on the board and writing word for word in the "fill in the blanks" and being done with it. This idea is fundamentally flawed and defeats the entire purpose of school. Over the years, I have discovered that I am a learners that learns best by "doing". Everyone has a different way of learning. By discovering what type of learner you are, it makes studying, homework and assignments so much easier and makes everything make more sense and easier to understand. This is very important because it is something you can learn during school and take out school to apply in the real world.Overall in school, the learning we do each and every day when we are studying notes from our textbooks has so little importance in the grand scheme of things. By changing our current "convention" of learning to a more dynamic system where students can learn their own way would not only benefit our schools but also the end result of people who learn very much valuable lessons from school.

  23. What is learning? Men are never too old to learn. From a general perspective, the point of education is to improve the abilities, knowledge and personality of individuals and therefore improve the quality of a people. School is not the only place where we can receive education. We learn in life more than we learn at school. We learn in life through personal experience, through what we see and hear, through newspaper, television, historical stories, movies, music or elsewhere. In our lives we experience bunches of successes and failures. They could either be small or big, visible or invisible. A successful test may bring us joy, and a lost game may make us miserable for a week. Sometimes you pick up a piece of garbage from the floor of the dinning hall, probably no one sees it, but you have improved in your lesson of responsibility. Some people often become the focus of the public, but they draw people’s attention because they are notorious. They do a lot bad things, and they have failed in their basic education of morality.After a year of learning, and especially after learning in our law class which covers not only law but so many aspects of our society, I even more strongly realized that learning means something more than the word itself. Learning can give us more than knowledge. By seeing such a strong sense of humour in class, I felt we had something else. I felt learned something I can not learn from words. According to what I have observed, I felt that a proper education (or environment for learning) gives us rational, peaceful and lawful minds, and nice personality. By Mr.Henderson always (maybe sometimes) pretending to be our opposition and by getting questioned over and over again throughout every detail of one and another question that seemed to be plain and simple, we learned lawful minds that make us always solve everything with sanity rather than impulse. To be a good leader, the person’s sanity must always defeat his/her impulse and anger. Otherwise, what's different from a rabble? After learning law we know how to resolve a problem in the correct way, in a way it is supposed to be. Indeed, in a lawful society we need a lawful education. With only knowledge we only know how to do, now with a combination of law and morality we know what to do. After experiencing both the eastern and western, public and private education, I personally think, the impact of a proper education should be more than what it actually gives you. I mean, it is supposed to give you more than the required knowledge. The impact should be more like citizen awareness, or perhaps a lesson of life. James Lee

  24. With everyone finding learning different I believe that it can fall under two main ideas. When people learn it can be in an informal or formal learning process, both have different results. As people sit in class to "learn" about various subjects I would consider it formal learning not just because it is organized, but what you are learning and its process. In school environments students are learning only concepts that us humans have made today and not other small life lessons that are essential, the need for an informal learning to discover them. People learning in an informal way it can be as simple as driving a car to knowing your way around the city, simply living as Max said. This learning is much more important because once you are finished school you are out in the real world, and as much as you learn about Canada in the contemporary world, the first step is to survive.This year in I have learned lots both in school and outside of it though with Mr. Henderson's style of learning I learned much more. With more of an outside approach he is able to come closer to an informal way of learning even though it starts in school. Instead of reading that the name of the PC MLA in my area was Jack Pernier, I was able to go out and meet him in person at his local bank, now a name I really know. If school transformed so that we could learn more in the world like Mr. Henderson's initiative, as a student I believe I could learn more in the year.As I come up with the idea of informal and formal learning I realize that I must have learned it in my own way. When learning I find I know much more if I go out into the real world than sitting in a room as I have to adjust to reality. In school I learn lots just from lectures alone but I could do much more if thrust into a foreign environment. Most of my learning today I know because of what I learned from being in the real world, but even though you learn various small things they make a huge difference than just school alone.

  25. The other day I was watching a video of Noam Chomsky explaining the purpose of education and learning, and I feel that he explains this concept in a very thought-provoking way. According to Chomsky, learning is "cultivating that capacity to seek what’s significant, always willing to question whether you’re on the right track — that’s what education is going to be about." This statement really resonates with me and made me question what it means to learn and the purpose of acquiring knowledge throughout our lives. If anyone is interested in watching the video, it can be found on youtube (he's a really intelligent guy):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdNAUJWJN08I found his views interesting because he also argues that learning can take place in many forms, not just the traditional classroom and textbook setting. While some people in this blog discussion have argued that a lot of our learning takes place unconsciously and through unimportant daily events, I would argue that rather than learning directly from every single thought, sensation, and interaction that we have, learning occurs when we take the time to process these experiences, by filtering out what matters and what doesn't. We are constantly being bombarded by various stimuli throughout the day-whether that be interactions with others,the thoughts/emotions in our head, our own actions, or even in the classroom-and many of them pass by us relatively unnoticed as they fail to capture our attention. It is only when we create "some sort of a framework for what matters — always, of course, with the provisor that you’re willing to question it if it seems to be going in the wrong direction" and attempt "to evaluate, interpret, and understand" those various stimuli that we can truly learn from them. Otherwise these experience will only be short-term memories, our brain has to find the importance in order for it to store the knowledge away for future reference.You may then counter-argue this by stating that infants have not yet developed the ability to think critically, yet they are constantly learning. I would argue, however, that infants are constantly learning because at this young age, almost every experience is interpreted by their brains as being significant, as they are gathering as much information as possible about a yet unfamiliar world. While they may not be able to consciously "evaluate, interpret, and understand" their experiences, every single experience at this age can be used to gain further insight into the world… as every stimuli is novel. (In psych we learned that babies become less attentive and responsive to stimuli after they have been repeatedly exposed to it through a process of habituation; therefore the stimuli becomes less significant tothem over time, as their is no new information to gather).This year I have focused myself on developing these 5 important skills, through a variety of experiences: self-awareness, efficiency, autonomy, authenticity, and compassion. Over the past few years, one of the biggest things I have learned is finding my identity and discovering what matters to me. Throughout high school, I have gone through several different stages of trying on different identities and discovering my personal interests, learning through mistakes and accomplishments, and meeting many people along the way. From all of these experiences, I have been able to slowly filter out the things that are important to me, and today I feel I have a very solidified sense of identity and strongly defined personal values.

  26. (part 2)As a learner, I have learned that I am most successful in subjects that I have a geniune interest in, because I find them significant and relevant. Although I can manage to do well academically in other subjects, it is very difficult and takes me much more time to come to understand the material. Without interest, their is no intrinsic motivation and therefore I am solely motivated by extrinsic factors (such as getting good grades), which does not result in actual learning or a feeling of purpose. Through these experiences, I have come to realize that as I will someday enter into the workfield, I must choose a career that will allow me to be intrinsically motivated to do well and also a career that will allow me to constantly learn new things. In order for me to do well in my future job, I must enjoy it and find a purpose in my work. This has helped me narrow my focus a lot, yet still keep my options open.

  27. Tiff – The Chomsky film is great. If folks are lazy, you can scroll down a few posts as I used it with Grade 9 students.Tiffany, this is some impressive analysis, evaluation, and creating (writing). I think you and Noam (as we're pals) are bang-on when you relate learning to this notion of seeking out what is significant AND truly understanding something so that you KNOW it. Again, this gets us back to the epistemological question then of what is knowledge, but you have opened the door and led us down a path towards the truth (even if the truth is not attainable). Thoughts from peers? Tiffany has opened a can of worms!

  28. Learning in my opinion is an attempt to gain more knowledge than you already have. I guess you can base how much you have learned on how much you remember. I think that throughout life we are always learning, wether it be in a school, or on the streets. I think we can never stop learning, or we would never progress/develope as a person. I found that I learn well with hands on activities, but teaching other people really helps me learn material.

  29. Learning on the general level is the modification of behaviour through practice, experience, or training. In educational institutions, however, learning is seen as acquiring knowledge and skills with the intent of applying them in the “real world.” As many have said, learning requires interest as a source of motivation to “learn” and understand something as opposed to rote memorization. It is questioning and differentiating between important and unimportant information in correspondence to our values and interests. However, learning is not just absorbing information the education system deems significant. As Max said, learning is living – attaining the knowledge and skills gathered from experience needed for function in everyday life. I have learned a few valuable things during my first year at SJR. I’ve learned to become a concise and coherent writer, I’ve learned that marks aren’t always worth killing myself over, and from being in Mr. Henderson’s class, I’ve learned about the crises in the world and the flaws in our society. But most importantly, I’ve learned to be receptive and open-minded to different types of people and situations. As a learner, I have learned to push my limits and take my achievements to the next level. I’ve realized that, to attain a skill, I personally need to put in the tiresome hours of practice. I’ve also discovered that most of the information I tend to retain is that which I gained through hands-on experience.

  30. There are a few ideas that I agree with, from the discussion by the previous commentators. Learning is certainly an inevitable and daily process that lasts for a whole lifetime. Consciously or unconsciously, we absorb information everyday and use it for future reference. This absorption and application of information is called learning. When one really understands a concept or idea, he/she is able to apply that information to his/her decision-making, critical thinking, and problem solving. Of course, there is a distinction between memorization and learning. Memorization does not necessarily result in future use of the memorized information. However, there is a relationship between the two mental processes. Memorization is a fundamental part of our learning. For example, one memorizes basic math rules, so that they can apply them to real world situations. Counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and estimation are all basic math skills that people use on a daily basis (e.g. making sure you don’t overspend on a shopping trip). Like Emily, I believe the purpose of the educational system, especially during one’s high school years, is to assist students in learning to learn. Students learn about the most effective learning and studying methods everyday. Many, including the commentators on this blog, have learned that they must be interested in the subject, in order to learn. Students learn about themselves, when they realize that they have spent a class daydreaming. High school helps students figure out which subjects they are interested in or, rather, the subjects they dislike. This self-learning process enables students to determine their career paths.This year, I learned that different teaching methods make a large impact on my learning ability. I find that certain teachers have much more engaging and effective teaching methods than others. Consequently, I learn more in the engaging classes. In addition, I realized that I am able to absorb information at a quicker rate, if I use diagrams to organize the information. Long paragraphs of text are much more likely to be stored in my short-term memory because I force myself to memorize facts or ideas, instead of picturing them. Regarding myself as a learner, I have learned that I cannot learn until I thoroughly understand the concept and apply it to different examples. This year, more than ever, I realized that once I truly understand something, I will not forget it. As a result, I have pushed myself to always “learn” the concepts before moving forward. If I don’t understand, I ask the teachers an infinite amount of questions until the concept “sinks in”.

  31. After much thought, I have finally found what learning means to me. Learning is not information that sits back of your brain and then remembered for exams. Personally, learning is where you take the information that you've taken in, and apply it to the world. When an idea holds your interest, makes you think deeply about it and makes you want to find out more about it, this is when you begin to learn. This is because when you learn something you are truly curious about, you will remember it. Then, when you find the true meaning and the value of idea, applying it in everyday life, such as a job or a hobby, will come naturally. I'm presuming that this fact is the reason why people who hold high interests in math become mathematicians and those who feel that their athletic abilities could be applied in everyday become athletes. However, learning doesn't have to be this specific. For example, as a child, I learned to share. It took a while – I had to think about why I had to do it, but came to my attention when I saw that it was necessary because I began to realize the value of sharing as I was growing up. Now, it is an important life skill that is needed everywhere. A lot of children these days do not like "learning" at school with subjects, but by the time they have found something they profoundly enjoy and want to find out more about it, they have already learned.In my first year of senior school,I have learned that being responsible for myself will be a skill that is greatly needed in life. And through finding the importance of independence, I have obtained the skill of managing my time properly. On a personal level, I have learned to "crawl around in other people's skin", which has helped me in avoiding arguments.I have learned that sometimes, being a learner, that I need to compromise what I want for what I need, and if that meant missing opportunities to do fun things to study, I chose the latter. I came to the conclusion that dedication is what gets you far, and that putting in effort works well, even if it may be hard at times.

  32. I believe that there are so many components which make up learning. We learn new things everyday whether it be in class at school, from the news on T.V. or on-line, or through experience. I do agree with everybody else, that learning is inevitable! We have the potential to learn anything and there is always something to learn. I believe that we have some control over what we learn; however, a lot of new things are learned without trying.Learning is absorbing new information, ideas, or skills not previously known, thought of, or had. Any form of knowledge can be gained through teaching or experience. Learning new skills comes from trying them, and practicing. Building on previous knowledge is learning something new. By collaborating with others and sharing thoughts and ideas, we can learn a lot about people, and begin considering different views not previously thought of. Essentially, gain even more knowledge, a broader view on the world and skills by sharing ideas and putting them together. Learning is a process that will continue throughout life because the world is constantly changing and there are so many points of view on different matters to keep in mind.I feel that this year has been packed with learning. I have learned a lot about myself in terms of my interests at school and outside. I truly enjoyed learning about relationships between different groups of people such as the French and English in Canada. I previously had a sense of why there were tensions; however, I learned about numerous events in Canada’s history which have continuously caused separation, this year in class. In learning about the history, I was able to gain an understanding of why Quebec has wished to separate from Canada.I have found that I really have to be interested in the topic being taught to actually learn it. When I lack interest, it is difficult to understand, which results in having difficulty absorbing the concept. I feel that studying comes easier when I do understand, and I don’t have to spend as much time on it. Interest also comes with an open mind, so maybe I need to give some topics a chance before deciding that it will be difficult to grasp and study.

  33. I believe learning is organized discovery. We discover new things about the world around us and ourselves from the things we do, see and hear. Our brains are so well trained that we organize these thoughts; creating ideas and opinions we can use in the future. It may seem like a natural process because we are so used to analysing new things, but I believe that learning only occurs when we use our brains to understand or think about something. Learning isn’t natural, but it is inevitable. We, as people, are very observant of our environment and are easily influenced by others. For example, we pick up on new expressions people say and somehow we figure out what it means. Even though many people may want to, they cannot and will not stop learning. A person can sit in a dark corner alone, but they will still learn from their discoveries. Even if the person has sat in that corner a hundred times, they can still find something new to discover and learn about their environment or themselves. They may learn that their carpet needs to be vacuumed or that the world is a much better place when they don’t waste their time sitting alone in a corner. The point is: there is always more to learn about the world, about you and about past discoveries. Learning is not a concept we should think too hard about. We should all just enjoy life, go outside and discover new things; the learning part will come later.As a learner, I have learned to push boundaries and to organize my schedule. I learned to put the things that I think are important first. This year, I have learned many formulas and facts I will never have to use again in my life and I have learned a few skills that I hopefully will use. There are many things that are useless, but I have learned to be idealistic and like the few things I will take out of this year. Like Jess, I’ve learned that the world always has some kind of crisis and that society has many flaws.

  34. To many of our teachers learning is the concept of remembering what they have taught us and being able to write it down correctly on a test. But in reality we aren’t really learning, we are remembering. In my opinion you can only learn when you take an interest in something otherwise you are just remembering. The difference between remembering and learning is that; learning you take interest in something so you know it for a long time. Remembering, on the other hand is when you memorize something for a little while. Let’s take exams into perspective, most students only remember facts on the outline for the exam and not any longer. If you were to ask me what I learned in science last year, I could honestly not tell you. But if you were to ask me what my sixth grade ELA book “Number the Stars” was about, I could confidently tell you. The reason for this is because I remembered science facts in order to pass my exams but I learned facts about Number the Stars because I took an interest in the events that occurred during the Holocaust. Everyday I go home and everyday I am greeted with the same question by my parent’s asking, “ So what have you learned to today”? But to be quite frank, I haven’t learned a single thing from most. The reason being that I haven’t made me interested in anything to actually learn. However I’m not saying that I haven’t learnt anything from going to school. School has taught me how to speak basic French, write an essay/paragraph, to worry about my grades etc. This might seem cliché but the most important thing I have learnt and am still learning is how I am going to grow up and become a better person. I do not learn by having a teacher write notes on the board expecting me to memorize these facts for the up coming term test. Instead I learn by people giving me examples of things that I see in my daily life and can relate with. So there it is, learning in my opinion can only happen if you take an interest in something.

  35. learning in my opinion is the inevitable gain of knowledge either Actively or inactively. As Max was saying, sitting on a couch in your parents basement does allow you to learn. you do not need to put in an effort in order to learn things. if he was eating nacho chips at the time he could have learnt that he does not like regular nachos he only likes doritos. It is still furthering his knowledge. Active learning at the time however is the concious effort to gain knowledge. going to school to gain a better education is a form of active learning. you can learn in many different ways, through life experience, mimicking, and active learning. What I have learnt this year is that leaning in school becomes much easier when you are allowed to break off and choose things to learn that actually interest you and not just be forced down one very wide spread of topics. I have learnt that I have learnt many things throughout the year in school, most of which if asked about now i would probably not recall off the top of my head. what i truly learnt this year was mainly just about myself. i have learnt so many things about myself as how i behave and why i feel certain ways. i feel that i have learnt much more valuable things going to school sand being in high school in general than i ever have with actually going to classes. as progressing through towards the later years of high school the education aspect is becoming much more prominent and mandatory, and dedication is becoming a must, the early years of school teaches you how to learn, and as this is showing, what learning is and why it is important.

  36. Learning is the acquisition of knowledge. This is something that is done every day, and it would be very difficult to avoid "learning" new things. Learning can be anything from cramming for exams to knowing the name of your best friend to knowing not to stub your toe on the side of a desk, and information learned can come in handy anywhere.This year, I have learned some very important study skills. I have also learned (Thanks Mr Henderson) that it is very important to have a real understanding of a concept in school, as opposed to just reading the textbook and answering questions, memorizing dates and such. Mr Henderson's class in particular, I feel, has had the best learning environment in this sense. I have learned about myself that I do not easily learn things just by repetition, or by using memorization techniques (or at least I have difficulty learning in this manner), but I can only really understand and memorize a subject if I understand how and why it works, and how and why something happened. For instance, in science this year, we needed to memorize an equation for finding the "frequency of a strobe", and I just couldn't memorize it, because it was a seemingly random equation, and it was very difficult to figure out what each individual part meant or did.Mitch

  37. Learning is the transfer of knowledge from one person to another. Learning is to make mistakes and to not repeat them again. Learning is the gaining of intelligence. Only through learning does one achieve success.Throughout this wonderful year in Canadian History, I have learned many things about the history of Canada. I have also learned to accept the ideas of others. Also, in order to learn even more effectively, one should not just mindlessly memorize facts, rather one should learn the facts and think critically about it. WilliamI have learned to think critically and to look at both sides of the story, before making judgments and coming to a conclusion that is both logical and thoughtful. However, what I have learned the most about is, what is an oxbow lake?

  38. I think that learning is about discovering something new. It is obviously not limited to just school academics but everything in our world. You can learn things by yourself or from a person who passes their knowledge to you. Although we learn many "useless" things in the world, we should cherish it because it is knowledge. Knowledge is power. What is important, however, is the ability to use knowledge to apply it to real life situations. That is truly what learning is about. I've learned quite a bit in Canadian History this year. I've learned a lot of new events that happened throughout the history of this country and the implications of those events. For example, if the English first settled Quebec, would there be no divides between the English and French like we see now and over the past 400 years? I've learned that the actions of people in the past truly affect our lives today. As a learner myself, I've learned a number of crucial things. First of all, to succeed in something, you have to be responsible and put in the time. You can't just chill on your bed, play Diablo 3 all day and expect to get a 99% average. It just doesn't work that way, at least in high school. Also, I think when people are "forced" to learn something (for example, a school course), they will not be as interested and thus not do as well. People enjoy what they love and they should follow their passion, to an extent.

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