Haven't some of your most meaningful memories been of times when you accomplished something greater with others? Didn't it bring you closer in the flow of camaraderie - even when someone in your group didn't act right - like you?'
What we learn from those times is vital in an information-flooded, connected world - and that's a good thing.
The most common and satisfying ways we learn and invent are not from sitting in a classroom seat being taught or trained. The world is too complex and fluid now to keep up with everything all by yourself. That doesn't mean that we aren't sought-after for our mastery of a topic or skill. It simply means we stay relevant when we engage in projects with diverse others, learning and experimenting as we go. Like children we still learn best by observing, imitating, re-mixing, making fresh mistakes and, most of all, by playing and using our imagination - with others.
That's why this book by two long time lovers of social learning-by-doing is so relevant today for students of all ages, in school, at work and involved with the causes and projects that most matter to us.
While their book is aimed at transforming learning in schools every concept I read can be equally applied to any part of our lives - lived well with others.
If you'd like to see the next chapters of your life as the kind of adventure story you co-create with others and want a bigger voice in the role you play - literally - read and share this book with those you think will make engrossing, imaginative playmates.
Some of my favorite quotes from this book:
* The new culture of learning gives us the freedom to make the general personal and then share our personal experience in a way that, in turn, adds to the general flow of knowledge.
* In the new culture of learning, people learn through their interaction and participation with one another in fluid relationships that are the result of shared interests and opportunity.
* Play is the tension between the rules of the game and the freedom to act within those rules. When play happens while learning it creates a context in which information, ideas and passions grow.
* The important thing about the Harry Potter phenomenon is not so much what the kids were learning, but how they were learning. Thought there was no teacher in this setting, readers engaged in deep, sustained learning from one another through their discussions and interactions.
* In a world of near constant flux, play becomes a strategy for embracing change rather than a way of growing out of it.
* The challenge is to find ways to marry structure and freedom to create altogether new things.
* Study groups dramatically increase the success of college students in the classroom.
* The connection between the personal and the collective is a key ingredient in lifelong learning.
* When information is stable, the explicit dimension becomes very important. The speed of light, for example, is probably not going to change....The twenty-first centry, however, belongs to the tacit. In the digital world we learn by doing, watching, and experiencing... not by taking a class or reading a manual.
* Students learn best when they are able to follow their passion and opeate within the constraints of a bounded environment. Without the boundary set by the assignment there would be no medium for growth.
* Indwelling is a familiarity with ideas, practices and processes that are so ingrained that they become second nature. When engaging the learner, we must think about her sense of indwelling, because that is her greatest source of inspiration, but it is also the largest reservoir she has of tacit knowledge.
* Dispositions indicate how a student will make connections on a tacit level... how she is likely to learn.
* Learning from others is neither new nor revolutionary; it has just been ignored by most of our educational institutions...
... and, I would add, by most of our organizations.
From the people under 30 who grew up studying and playing in groups I have enjoyed playing and co-creating on everything from business start-ups to models of more effectively serving causes. I hope that a version of this book is put up online for shareable input from us all - commenting, adapting, re-mixing the ideas, thus turning it into an ecosystem where we can hone our ideas on the new culture of, not "just" learning but also inventing and co-creating better ways to work and play together. You may also enjoy another book, co-authored by John Seely Brown, Pull.The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion