Two Broad Learning Activities in a Healthy Community
Learning new things and teaching what you know are the two fundamental learning activities of a thriving community.
Unfortunately, these two learning activities are completely different and must be separated in the way the community conducts them.
Learning new things requires experimentation, research, exploration. Learning new things does not progress in a linear way. Learning new things is often messy. We don’t know the answer before we start when we learn new things.
On the other hand, Learning new skills is completely different. It is a linear process. We know the answer before we start.
A “Learning” Community is different than a “Non-Learning” Community
A Learning Community is distinguished from a “non-Learning Community.” A Learning Community believes in its soul that things are always changing and that to thrive it needs continual learning to keep up with the changes. A Non-Learning Community believes that it knows everything that needs to be known and there is no reason to learn anything new.
A Learning Community respects change and respects that any and all individual members of the community could help the community improve. A Non-Learning Community fears change and does not allow individual members to affect change within the community.
A Learning Community is interested in doing research to find better ways to do the things the community needs to thrive. A Learning Community is interested in teaching the skills needed to thrive to those that want to learn them. A Non-Learning Community prevents research to find new ways to do what it does because that research might challenge the status quo.
“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful in its success, than an attempt to introduce innovations. For the leader in the introduction of changes will have for his enemies all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new.” Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses, 1513, Chapter 6.i
Yet, despite the difficulties that change often brings, continually improving the things a community does is critical for a community to thrive.
Whatever the community is about, continually learning how to do it better and then continually doing it better is what sets that community apart from its competitors. If the community is a fishing community then to thrive it must continually learn how to fish better and continually teach the community how to fish better. If the community is a farming community then to thrive it must learn how to farm better and continually teach the community how to farm better. If the community is manufacturing community then to thrive it must learn how to manufacture better and teach the community how to manufacture better.
Recognize here that I use the term community very broadly. A community is any group of individuals that self identify as a group. A business is a community. A market is a community. A family is a community. A religion is a community. A city, state, or country is a community. So Walmart is a community. GM is a community. Los Angeles is a community, Germany is a community. Your church is a community.
Let’s say you are a Java Programmer. You then belong to the Java Programming Community. If you are a welder, you belong to the Welder Community. Both the Java Programming Community and Welder Community should be interested in finding new ways to do Java programing and new ways to weld. And they should be interested in teaching new Java Programmers and new welders how to program and how to weld.
Let me, if you will, provide another example. My wife and I are a community. Granted a community of only two. But a community none-the-less. And our little community has gone though a lot of changes. Newly wed, children, no children, different jobs, different homes, retirement, sickness, and aging. In order for our little community to thrive we have to continually research new ways for us to get along every day. And we need to teach each other how to do the things we need to do to thrive as a little community.
Linking Learning Communities Together
What could make an individual learning community even better is being able to share stuff they learn with other learning communities. A fishing community that learns a new way to manufacture boats could share that knowledge with boat making learning communities. And a boat making learning community that learns new ways to weld with a welding learning community.
Unlike the old days where it might have been possible for a community to know everything there was to know about their community, in the 21st Century there is just too much information to know everything. The foundational thinking that allows a learning community to respect change and respect the abilities on its individual community members also allows that learning community to respect that other communities learning.
Two Learning Tracks
The curriculum encompassing learning new stuff is the “Research Learning Track.” The curriculum encompassing the teaching the stuff we know is the “Skills Learning Track.”
These two tracks, the Research Track and the Skills Track, require two different educational structures:
- The Research Track is optimized with a dynamic, open, and “peer-to-peer” educational structure. The Research Track is focused on the key questions the community needs to answer in order to thrive. The communities research track will inform the community on what skills the community needs to thrive.
- The Skills Track is optimized with the traditional educational structure of a teacher teaching and a student learning. The Skills track can easily be one way – teacher to student. The Skills track is focused on the specific skills the community needs to thrive.
While each community would have different specific things they are researching and different specific skills they are teaching, the educational structure of the two different tracks would be the same independent of what the community is about.
Research Learning Track
The Research Learning Track is driven by the key questions the community needs answers to.
- What is the best Business Model for a Community?
- What is the best Business Model for the @lantis Learning Community?
- How to improve Interpersonal Communication?
- How to improve Family/Group/Team/Political Communication?
- Improve Decision Making
- How to improve Decision Making?
- How to avoid fatal mistakes?
- Economics and Politics
- What is the best economic system for a particular situation?
- What is the best economic system for the @lantis Learning Community?
- What is the proper role of Government in Economics?
- What is the best Education System for the Community?
- What is the best Education System for the @lantis Learning Community?
- Information Management
- How Information is Generated?
- How Information is Stored and Retrieved?
- How Information is Communicated?
- How Information is analyzed?
- How Information is Acted upon?
- Mastering the Internet
- What is the right Answer for “Net Neutrality?”
- What is the best way for a community to promote competition and innovation?
- What is the best home networking/automation systems?
- What is the best mobile system to use?
- What is the best Internet Provider network for the community?
- What is the best Video Provider network for the community?
- Should you pay your kid an allowance?
- How should you discipline your kid?
- How does Religion fit into a 21st Century Information Age?
- Skills and Assessments
- What are the best skills to know to compete in the 21st Century?
- How does the community measure performance in those skills to determine which are the best and who does them the best?
Skills Learning Track
- Communication Skills
- Computer Skills
- Mastering the Internet
- Java Programming
- Search Engine Optimization
- Micosoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint
- Photo and Video
- Network Design and Optimization
- RF Theory
- Propagation Modeling Software – Planet EV, Atoll
- RF Tools – Mapinfo
- Business Analytics and Decision Making
- Change Management
- Project Management & Project Planning
- Time Management
- Personal Finance