Tough’s Iceberg

From an NALL (New Approaches to Lifelong Learning)  Working Paper entitled The Iceberg of Informal Adult Learning by Allen Tough, guru of self-directed learning:

I found his comment about people who are “content” and “don’t see any need to learn” very intriguing.  My husband and I took a different route home from the vet and “learned” all kinds of things about our growing community.  There were new homes, new hotels, new dormitories.  It’s pretty superficial learning really yet there’s an underlying theme that we are coming to understand, that of growth.  So, without trying very hard, we learned something.

I agreed with his idea that learning was often invisible because it was shown as something else: writing a report or wiring the car.  Tough writes, “They don’t think: ‘I did some learning in order to do that task,’ they just think of the task.”  There are really two questions here: What did I learn to do that task? What did I learn from doing that task.


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