Posted by: r.m. | November 26, 2008

so have you/we learned?

Learning is defined [in this UNEP training for trainers] as “an emotional and/or cognitive transformation taking place during information collection and information processing, bringing about behaviour change or change in the ability to act differently.”

It is not simply accumulated information.

Rather – learning brings about behavior change – or a change in the ability to act differently.

What a powerful statement.

So: have we learned?

So: have you [my students, for example] learned?

If so, what behavior will you change? What behavior do you know have the ability to change?



  1. i love this. i’m putting it on my syllabus next semester. i think the author must have read some paolo freire before writing this bit. it’s just lovely.

  2. Great sentence! It will make me think each time I learn something new, how this new information will change my behavior rather than how much time it will take me to memorize it!

  3. Great sentence! It will make me think each time I learn something new, how this new information will change my behavior rather than how much time it will take me to memorize it!

  4. Serge – brilliant! Thank you

  5. I think that unconsciously we are learning.. It’ true we spend hours studying ecology :-), but we have evolved a sense of responsibility towards every plant, every animal, every source of pollution.. A few months ago, if someone would’ve told me a kind of fish has gone extinct I would’ve said so? there are plenty of fish in the sea.. Now our attitudes have changed.. we know the importance of each constituent of life for us.

  6. Its true, if you don’t try and apply what you learn to your behavior, the information is easily forgotten. We’re not going to remember how many centimeters of rain fall each year in Nebraska, but we should know its importance to life and ourselves.

  7. We read lots of pages and memorize them all for the tests.. But we definetly not keep them for a long term… What we keep is the main ideas and the impact they leave on us. For example, we studied El Nino and La Nina. Honestly i dont remember its detailed mechanism, but i do remember how serious it is and how dangerous it’s getting with climate change, thus it developed in us the feeling of responsibility towards the earth and our future on it.
    That’s the importance of studying…it’s not about having a 100 on the tests by memorizing the details for a week, it’s about gathering the most important ( although general) ideas and using them to improve life!

  8. what a great thought! actually its not a thought anymore its the truth! we pass on a lot of details and events in our life. we read and memorize by heart and what you memorize is not what is important. when you understand and interpert what you memorizd is what really matters. it is the knoweledge you get from what u memorized and how u manage to include it in your real life! what you learn is simply the things you actually get from learning!

  9. It’s so true…We go through a lot, and sometimes we realize that we barely learned anything from it! We should take a pause everytime and realize what we are really learning and comprehending, and try to enforce it on our everyday life. We would then be shocked at how much our lives would change, and to the better of course.

  10. Fit to write an assignment about 😛
    Seriously though, the statement rings true. We are detached if we simply learn material only to forget it in a short period of time. The information taken in should be used to our advantage; personally, emotionally, and mentally. If we could change one tiny thing about ourselves or our behavior every time we were taught something new, I’m sure we wouldn’t have landed ourselves in the chaos we now find too difficult to try to reverse.

  11. “That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.” – Doris Lessing

    Guess I just understood what learning is…:P

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