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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Learning by doing...

taking photo from this
Source: Dr. Debashis Chatterjee (Professor at IIM, Lucknow, India)
He can be reached at

There used to be a time when we finished school and entered the real world of work. That was when we had to stop learning to begin aerning. Now learning and earning go hand in hand. Learning is the new form of productivity. In order to grow at work, you got to be a fast track learner.

What does fast track learning mean? It simple means you've got to build a plane even as you are flying it! Sounds crazy doesn't it. Times are scary. You have to learn on the job how to do the job. Another was of describing this is: learning by burning your fingers! As our wise old uncle Aristotle said, "What we have to learn, we learn by doing."

The school of learning today has expanded to include Kindergarten to life time. The tree inter-connected contexts of fast track learning are:
1. Uncertainty
2. Change
3. Complexity.

Unfortunately, most of our schools teach the exact opposite things:
1. Certainty
2. Rigidity
3. Linearity.

These schools are going to be just as relevant as teaching a raging bull to be well behaved in a China shop.

We need to change what we learn and more importantly, how we learnt. For example learning in the body will become as important as learning through the head. Memory based learning will have to be supplemented more with hands on learning-like the way a potter learns to make a clay pot. Learning at the level of emotions will also become important. That old wise habit will have to re-visited: we have to learn by heart!

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