Friday, February 7, 2014

The New Illiteracy

Today's quote is from a prescient thinker of the last century, Alvin Toffler. Alvin Toffler is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution and technological singularity. Toffler is a former associate editor of Fortune magazine. - sourced from Wikipedia

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

– Alvin Toffler

At the time this was written in the 1970's the pace of change was much slower than it is today. Toffler, as a futurist, was able to forsee that as change increased so would the pace of learning. But the interesting point is not about learning, but rather the unlearning and relearning required to keep pace with technological change. Formal education is not well positioned to react to the disruptive change that is increasingly appearing. In fact the university system as we know it may well disappear in the next 50 years as it loses relevancy to self directed learners, unlearners and relearners. Another influential thinker, also writing in the 1970's, Ivan Illich, visited this theme in his book, Deschooling Society.

Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being "with it," yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.”
― Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

Learning, unlearning and relearning are all best done outside of the constraints of the formal education system.

Your literacy in this age depends on your own self-directed learning.

DK

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