Myth #1 (of 12): Education and Learning are two sides of the same coin.

For decades I used to believe that education (not educators) and learning were so interconnected that I assumed they were two sides of the same coin. However, over the past 10 years I have come to realize (through Masters research and working in a number of different countries) that learning and education need to be as conceptually separate as the church and state discussion.

Consider the following statements:

  • Education is solely concerned with content it deems important, whereas learning is focused on individual interests.
  • Education is delivered in a linear fashion, whereas learning is non-linear and constantly evolving
  • Education is measured by static standards – unless sanctioned change, whereas learning in measured by internal motivation
  • Education is top > down, and from external > internal (sometimes), whereas learning is bottom > sideways and from Internal > external (sometimes)
  • Education is a noun, whereas learning is a verb
  • With education you must know ‘x’ to get to ‘y’, whereas learning is only limited by the person, based on their drive.
  • Education is for the masses, whereas learning is highly personal.

Learning and education are two fundamentally different animals and need to be treated as such. “…teachers may [have to] cover content, but if it doesn’t promote learning, does it really matter that its been covered? (Weimer, 2015). I find it interesting how many different experienced teachers and instructors in so many different countries are verbalizing how frustrated they are because their respective systems are to restrictive. As Kitchen (2013) states it, “formal education is merely an institutionalized and standardized method for the imposition of what is perceived as important to learn and how it is to be learnt.”

Just because someone passes a drivers test, it does not mean they have really learnt how to drive. Just because someone can rent a car in many different countries, it does not mean they know how to drive in those countries.

Final Thought: “While assessing knowledge is essential, it is not the end of learning. (Monahan 2015).

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