4d 4 dimensional cube

Picking up from The Gorv’s comment on yesterdays post I think there is more to “learning 387.0” than meets the eye.

Generally everyone loves a term, something catchy, a container that describes what’s inside in a quick, snappy phrase.

Does “learning 387.0” cut the mustard?

I quite like it.  It has a certain lovely, meaningful yet sarcastic ring to it.  Ok, so probably not quite the buzzwords we are looking for.  

Let’s have a look at learning’s journey (a bit like the title of this blog may suggest), and give it a scientific twist.

Imagine a classroom filled with pupils and a teacher at the front with a blackboard. The teacher has a set lesson plan and teaches the class by telling and showing. There is no listening from the teacher, no questioning allowed and no feedback on whether the training works or not. As an alternative the teacher could wheel in a TV and video to the front of the class, stick a tape in, press play and walk out again.  

This is one way learning.  It’s one dimensional with information only traveling outwards from the assumed subject expert.

Adding another dimension means information suddenly goes both ways in the form of questions from the students and answers from the teacher.  It may also feature tests which are an obvious and effective way of measuring learning. This is effectively 2D but as with anything 2D it’s a rather flat experience.

3D learning occurs when we have information going both ways on the 2D plane and there is a third source which is referred to from within the classroom and delivered from the outside.  Think of this as every student having a computer connected to the internet and using it as a library to support and increase the knowledge given within the class.  This form of learning has a much greater depth.

In science terms the forth dimension is all about space and time.  This is similar for learning too. 4D learning is all about the ability to bend and distort the learning experience and sometimes fold it all the way back into itself.  It’s about coming at learning from all angles.  Now in our classroom we still have our teacher and our students but the teacher isn’t the only expert in the room and they are also open to furthering their knowledge on a particular subject.  Learning here is all about sharing.  What happens in the class doesn’t stay in the class and on the outside the whole world can share, participate and add to the learning experience.  

Let’s take an example of a wiki on dog training.  The teacher kicks the wiki off by adding some core content.  The students then begin to add to the wiki maybe with what they already know, maybe with what they discover en route.  This wiki can be seen by the whole world and suddenly you have other dog handlers and trainers adding to it.  Sometimes information given can be incorrect, maybe not now but maybe in the future.  Say for example a chihuahua will always perform a trick for a juicy bone, somebody makes a note of this on the wiki and the information is shared.  Maybe in 100 years time the whole chihuahua breed has become vegetarian and that information is void but the wiki still exists.  No problem, time is bent, the wiki is adjusted and then the information is up to date again.  The beauty is that everyone who is subscribe to this wiki via RSS will be updated when a change happens so the learner is never left behind.

So you see 4D Learning is all about being user driven.  It’s about a multi-way experience which is constantly changing, evolving and responding to learners input and support.

Can you get any better than 4D Learning?  Will there be a fifth dimension?  Absolutely not.  By it’s very nature 4D Learning in itself is also constantly changing, evolving and improving.  As a result it is a term that adapts and grow as and when necessary.

This is obviously just my opinion, not news.  Is it just fluff or do we actually need a term to create hooks?  If I’m going into a client meeting with either the term “learning” or “4D learning” I know I’d have much more success with generating excitement from the latter.

Marton House’s patent for the term “4D Learning” is pending… in my mind at least.

Image from wikipedia
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