Friday 22 November 2013

Natural Learning vs Institutional Learning

A while back I was lucky enough to spend some time with Roger Schank after a conference he spoke at.  More and more I am finding that a thorough appreciation of human learning, cognition, and memory is essential to the study of AI.  His books, especially Scripts Plans Goals and Understanding and Teaching Minds, are timeless essentials.

His core messages at the event were around how to improve our education system, something I take every opportunity to contribute to, and the contrast he drew between how people actually learn and how we structure education was really arresting as a way to pose the core problem:

Natural learning is:
  • Voluntary
  • Interest driven
  • Goal driven
  • Depends of failure
  • Fun
Which, on the surface, certainly resonates.

Institution learning is:
  • Involuntary
  • Based on the school's goals, not the individuals goals
  • Individuals interests ignored
  • Failure seen as bad
  • Not fun
I know a lot of people whose school experiences support at least a handful of these.

Makes you think.  I guess I will joining that PTA after all - although I guess you need to be a P first!