Etienne Wenger, author of Digital Habitats, Communities of Practice, Situated Learning, and other books, asserts that human knowing is fundamentally a social act (emphasis mine). By hearing about the experiences of others, you mash up snippets of data, add them to your own, and fit them into your sense of who you are and what you can do—together and with others. “To learn is to optimize the quality of one’s networks,” says Jay Cross, author of Work Smarter and Informal Learning. “Learning is social (emphasis mine). Most learning is collaborative. Other people are providing the context and the need, even if they’re not in the room.”
Now, I have no problem with the statement, “Most learning is collaborative,” for I believe that to be a very accurate statement. However, I do believe that the two bolded statements are over-assertions. Not all learning is social. Granted we are social and communal beings, and granted that we do not live in a vacuum; however, we can learn independently and autonomously.
From initial consideration, I believe there are at least three types of non-social learning: Contemplation, Personal Reflection and Pure Investigation.
This is a missing art in most people’s lives. Consider this: personal reflection as an art of learning. While reflection is simply contemplation, personal reflection could mean reflecting on personal development. While there may