Learning to Unlearn

Learn-Unlearn-Relearn

To move into new domains of learning and knowledge there is a need for revolutionary thinking to be confident enough to rise to the challenge of moving into the unknown. Education from school to university and then into workplace, is normally planned and structured around a developmental trajectory as a persons skills, knowledge and experience increase. But what about the future and learning, if we don’t know the skills or knowledge that we will require, how do we unlearn any irrelevant information? This could be termed as a deimplementation process of learning. The process of unlearning becomes an important process in our learning skills repertoire.

From the organisation viewpoint comes the focus on becoming ‘learning organisations’, but maybe this could be supported with seeking new logic and a process of unlearning. “Unlearning is not about forgetting. It’s about the ability to choose an alternative mental model or paradigm” (Bonchek, 2016). The skill is recognising mental models that are no longer relevant or effective. This reflexivity of working with uncertainty could be benefited by utlising already well used practices such as self reflection, which could focus on considering any of our biases we hold and allowing change to occur as we move forward.

This post was inspired by the Twitter conversation below, thanks to @precordialthump.

Keywords: Unlearning; Reflexivity; Transformation; learning.

Resources

Bonchek, M. (2016).Why the Problem with Learning is Unlearning. Harvard Business Review.

Klein, E. J. (2008). Learning, unlearning, and relearning: Lessons from one school’s approach to creating and sustaining learning communitiesTeacher Education Quarterly35(1), 79-97.

McGregor, A. (2018). Unlearning: The key to the unlock 21st Century problems? International Teacher Magazine (ITM).

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