‘Learning’ is the most terribly confused and conflicted term. It has been so utterly subverted by education, that it’s near impossible to use it meaningfully any more.

It has helped me, personally, to identify three distinct types of activity sometimes described as ‘learning’:

Education: this is a set of rituals in which people are expected to memorise information (sometimes described as ‘learning objectives’) in order to pass a test. Whilst humans are able to do this given sufficient incentive, it is terribly inefficient process (they forget almost all of it quickly) and it rarely has any impact on behaviour. It is not ‘learning’ in any meaningful sense and doesn’t change people. Sadly, almost all of the activity we describe today as ‘learning’ is, on closer inspection ‘education’. However, the activity has become bureaucratised on a monstrous scale and is proving hard to stamp out.


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