- Andersonn Prestes
A week on Harvard's "Leaders of Learning"
I took an online course by HarvardX called “Leaders of Learning”, I'm not sure exactly why, but let’s say I had some free time and found the syllabus interesting. Also, I was curious to take anything from the most prestigious school in the world.
I enjoyed the course and took it very fast. The instructors are great as well as the material. They draw a theory of learning defined by four quadrants and two axes: Hierarchical individual, Hierarchical collective, distributed individual, distributed collective. Then, they’d explain each quadrant as mode, organization and design. They show you the different points of view and want you to find your own theory of learning that will ultimately define the way you lead and contribute to improve learning worldwide.
The hierarchical axis is the traditional vertical mode of learning, with a teacher, institutions, standardized texts, and so on. The distributed is horizontal, driven by own interest, self-learning, networks and done in an everyday basis. Individual is focused on the person – for example, a competitive framework among students in the hierarchical individual mode. On the other hand, collective is focused in groups – for examples, networks of common interest on a subject of learning in the distributed collective mode.
There is a test to get to know your own theory of learning given in the beginning of the course (then again in the end). I was glad and not surprised by my own theory that had not changed along the course. Below are my results (within in each quadrant the highest result possible is 100%):
In the Hierarchical Individual Quadrant you scored 3.17% In the Hierarchical Collective Quadrant you scored 26.98% In the Distributed Individual Quadrant you scored 76.19% In the Distributed Collective Quadrant you scored 49.21%
I believe learning is something innate to us. We are born learners. In the phrase “We learn best when …”, I wrote motivated and interested. If we are engaged we will learn, otherwise we will hate it, and sleep. It is so clear that we need a reform in our education system that it is not even polemic to say so. The course gives you some ideas, and that feeling you can try to work towards something better than what we have now.
We need modern institutions, better design and organization, and a mentality that we can learn anything, anywhere (especially online), taking responsibility for our own learning.
Knowledge is humility, freedom and exchange; it is really bad to have extreme competition in the learning environment like we have.
I cannot do much right now, but I certainly enjoyed taking this course and recommend it.