Learning How to Learn in An Information Age
Linda L. Nosbush
What was the focus of your project, including the key findings?
The research traces the stages of growth in the five-year journey that took us into schools and classrooms, a university, a community, and contexts of innovative interprofessional practice in health, education, social services, justice, and community-based organizations to discover the principles that shape and guide learning in an information age.
What impact did the research have on your understanding of teaching and learning, or perhaps on your teaching career?
By requiring us to look beneath the surface, the McDowell Foundation enabled us to understand the mechanisms and processes at work in Human Services Sectors:
° Learning is at once individual and communal – Contexts matter and we often communicate them through story.
° Learning is developmental – It is a gradual process that involves both evolution and revolution. For us, one of the most powerful transitions was from me to we. We learned to value the diverse skills sets professions and sectors can contribute to learning if we are committed to building bridges rather than walls and encourage cooperation, collaboration, and integration.
° Different kinds of thinking are required to understand our learning.
° Strategies are needed to move our thinking from the objective, to reflective, to interpretive levels, and finally to the level of action.
° We are all interconnected; action in one area affects the whole ecology of human development. When we work in concert toward common goals, we harness the capacity of a community to create environments where all can thrive.
° The trust and respect we have for one another as well as the individual and joint capability to own our mistakes, learn from them, and move forward together. Storytelling and Knowledge Exchange are powerful vehicles that can enhance our learning and knit us together as community.
° When we honour the unique lenses professions and sectors bring, we learn to see as others see, feel as others feel, and understand why others act as they do which enables a capacity to perceive the whole. What was initially data becomes information and then knowledge and finally leads to powerful integrated action. In this way, we create learning communities.
This initiative has caused us to conclude – Alone we go fast but together we go far!
What would you like to tell others about the McDowell Foundation?
The McDowell Foundation encourages researchers to reflect deeply on the contexts in which they are teaching and learning. It nurtures what if and how questions and enables asking those questions in a broader context. When those working in the field come together to seek answers in response to their community’s needs, they form a powerful bridge among the human services sector to negotiate the kind of change that creates rich contexts in which children can live, love, learn, and thrive rather than merely survive. Furthermore, this kind of research informs practice, thereby eliminating the time gap between theory and practice. This enhances a leadership role for education in the community and, as a result, our students and communities are the beneficiaries.