Saturday, January 13, 2018

Learning More and/or Better

The following string of thoughts comes out of recent readings and meetings.  As always, more questions to ask than answers to provide.

We can think about learning in two dimensions, quantitative and qualitative.  Learning MORE is quantitative.  Learning BETTER is qualitative. 

I am inclined to think (or hypothesize) that learning MORE is a very incremental process whereas learning BETTER is potentially an exponential process.  I don't really want to use the word "exponential" here and I certainly don't want to use the word "transformational".  What I mean is that learning BETTER, addressing the qualitative dimension of learning is potentially more impactful than learning MORE. 

It's the difference between the idea of continuous learning, which is simply about learning more over time, and the idea of learning HOW to learn, which is about becoming a better learner.

This manifests itself currently for me in terms of something as simple as reading.  The number of books I will read this year is somewhat irrelevant.  I am much more interested in developing, nurturing my capacity to engage in deep reading and deeper learning.  There is some tension there because I could benefit from reading more broadly, which might translate into more books.  The compromise might be scanning more books from a broad spectrum of disciplines but reading deeply a smaller subset of those books.

Reading now:  Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age, by Edward D. Hess and Katherine Ludwig.

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