Thinking About Learning All Wrong

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Thinking About Learning All Wrong

In the Lema house, we have a high value for learning and education

My wife was a teacher in school districts for almost two decades and then spent time home schooling our two kids until they got to high school. She has a masters degree in education. And while my masters is in leadership and entrepreneurship, I read every book she was assigned in her program (that I could understand).

We're fans of the public school system and the homeschooling we did was part of a charter program that gave our kids the best of both worlds – classrooms with other kids, and time at home for us to craft the program we wanted.

We took different routes with each of our two children. My daughter skipped grades. My son, just as smart, had no desire to ever be apart from kids his age. Both have been successful – because my wife is brilliant.

I don't have a formal role as an educator, but if you've spent time with me, you know that I don't approach any part of my work without educating. Like I said, we have a high value on learning and education.

It also led me to step into my recent role leading LearnDash, the leading online learning solution for WordPress.

All that said, there's one concept about learning that consistently bothers me. It's been the topic of tons of conversations with my friend and leader of WP101 – the leading platform for learning WordPress.

Why must learning be so tough?

Why do we build courses with 36 lessons instead of 6? Why do we create material that suggests someone must become an expert before they can start? Why do we talk about “drinking from a firehose” as a good thing?

Remember when I wrote about the power of mini-courses?

I'm Reading A New Book

Today I started a new book called GRASP: The Science Transforming How We Learn, by Sanjay Sarma. I was just 17 pages in when I read this – clearly written better than the way I just summarized my problem.

We've been thinking about learning all wrong. We've internalized the idea that learning is meant to be an ordeal through which students must persevere or fail. I'd like to step back and ask why. Human beings are built to learn. It would not be too overdramatic, in fact, to argue that our learning ability is our birthright as a species, hard won through eons of natural selection. The difficult part should be over. When did the abstraction of useful knowledge from the world around us become attainable only through bitter perseverance? When did learning become not the fun sort of adventure story, but a grim slog against the odds?”

GRASP: The Science Transforming How We Learn

As you can imagine, I agree 100%. I think we've been thinking about learning all wrong. We've made it something to endure. Not something to enjoy. We've made it something that feels hard. Not something that makes us happy.

I'm Excited to Learn More

This book was published recently. The author is an expert in their field. The material covers what we know scientifically about how people learn and what we can do to make it better.

I'm excited to learn more because I'm positive it will impact my daily work. I believe it will also impact our family. And most importantly, I'm excited to see how we can take these ideas and blend them into future editions of LearnDash.

I hope you'll join me on this ride. Pick up a copy of the book.

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