Thursday, 28 August 2014

People learn best when there are fewer or no mental and physical restrictions

[Reproduced from pijitailaiX] Do Internet and social media create social division as claimed by PM Lee? Nevertheless, learning and sharing do need diversification. Perhaps, he is still in the mode of hierarchical  learning and sharing. 

People learn best when there are fewer or no mental and physical restrictions, especially in country like Singapore.

My mode of learning shows that I am at the Distributed Individual Quadrant#0. When I first enroll in this course, I just want to learn to be a good learner not leader. I am a motivated learner and have never thought of a leadership role in learning.

What can I share and initiate changes in learning? This is in particular that I am not living in a western environment that 'political right' plays less influencing role in sharing and learning.

Singapore is a country that practices market economy and capitalist system. However, when we come to learning, political right and wrong will make a huge difference. If you are at the wrong side, it is hard to share your knowledge not to mention becoming the promoter of your knowledge.

Even in institutions of higher learning, free sharing and learning is not a right and privilege. Political discussions and debates are restricted in Singapore universities as shown in the following headline:

[Yale-NUS slammed for ban on political protests, groups]#1

Even Yale University has to adjust her academic freedom in Singapore.

Human factors
Hence, the human factors of physical, cognitive, social, cultural and emotional experiences are very different from the standard GSE2x Leaders of Learning.

How can I design a learning environment in Singapore where restrictions and limitations are the fact of life?

My Quadrant is a digital world. The ideal environment is of course an environment of free expression. Without this pre-condition, sharing and learning will not reach their full potential. There is no restriction on MOOC learning in Singapore. Facebook and other internet uses are also free. But one will have to be careful about his or her comments as there is a culture of defamation suits#2 in Singapore.

Nevertheless, if I were to engage in Leaders of Learning activities in Singapore, the ideal environment is to expand the horizon to other quadrants.

Physical: To encourage face to face sharing and learning, ideally, we can expand and share the digital experience and knowledge to physical environment. Some publics places, for example, museums, libraries or community clubs are suitable environments. However, to overcome the obstacles, the leaders of learning will need to solve the political right and wrong issues first. The government will not allow citizens to promote ideas, thoughts, learning experience and knowledge different from their standard mode of learning and national agenda.

Physical expansion to Hierarchical Individual and Collective environment is very difficult. It is an ideal expansion but not feasible in Singapore. Alternatively, the expansion to Distributive Collective is much easier and can be achieved by joining a network or digital community.

Cognitive: We learned above the university offers no independent thinking, hence, cognitive dissonance is highly possible in Singapore. As political right or wrong is predetermined by the government, we may end up learning (or sharing) some things that we don't like or don't enjoy. How to right the cognitive interactive issue between people and experience is very challenging. It will have to come back to the basic question of right of freedom and free expression. Again, it is a difficult question. GSE2x Leaders of Learning provides an ideal western environment for learning. However, adjustments have to be made to
match the local situation, like the case of Yale-NUS College or we have to improve the political environment to create more free spaces for sharing and learning.

Social: How do people interact? Due to the restrictions on public space uses, learning and sharing is a one way traffic. Public facilities, schools and communities are out of bounds to people who hold alternative views and experience. There are few exchanges and interaction between the so-called 'political right' and 'political wrong'. However, as the digital world is a free world, we see more interactions in the social media rather than in the rigid mainstream media of broadcasting and printed media. If social media, digital education is the future trend, then the political development will have to follow this evolution of learning experience.   

Cultural: The social factor affect the cultural factor and behaviours. We are now experience a low public trust#3 and divided Singapore. The rapid economic (high growth, rich-poor gap) and social changes (big inflow of foreigners) have made the once (or developing) shared norms, habits and values unsustainable. One example is fewer public flats are flying Singapore flags during national day#4. How can learning play a role in promoting a social norm? The government is engaging in a national SG Conversation#5 but more people in the social media and digital world see it as a propaganda.

Emotional: The social divide and cultural divide have created different emotional experience for Singaporeans. If you are in the so-called 'political right', your feelings and thoughts of the future Singapore will be very different from those of 'political wrong'. The current state of learning and sharing environment is not conducive in Singapore.

We have seen more protests either legally held at the Speakers' Corner or illegal vandalism like graffiti.

Without political changes, the ideal environment for learning and sharing of knowledge will not take place in Singapore. In fact, in the longer term, a restricted and control environment presenting only one-side learning experience will do more harm to Singapore, economic growth and competitiveness included.


In the Hierarchical Individual Quadrant you scored 15.87%/1.59%
In the Hierarchical Collective Quadrant you scored 22.22%/23.81%
In the Distributed Individual Quadrant you scored 85.71%/100%
In the Distributed Collective Quadrant you scored 31.75%/30.16%






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