At Dare2Know, we’ve built a seamless online learning platform with a strong social dimension, privacy control, and no hidden algorithms. Why? Because to meet our existential challenges, we will have to learn in very different ways in the future. But paradoxically, learning in ways that also take us back to the dawn of the enlightenment
New Ways of Learning
In my view, learning in the future will be more continuous, boundary-less, ontological, social and inclusive, where we move out of classrooms into virtual worlds, from silos to complex, unfamiliar spaces, from skill-building to ethical decision-making, from time-bound to continuous, and from a meritocracy to a homonomy, where to quote the Psychotherapist Angyal, we belong “to something larger than ourselves”.
Drifting, not learning
Yet, we seem stuck in a very different place. To use one bellwether, university student “value for money” scores are going down year-on-year, from above 50% in 2012 to below 30% last year, despite the available learning technologies and infrastructure investments.
We seemed locked in interminable disputes on social media prompted by manipulative algorithms, which foster greater division and less understanding. We are missing the climate crisis deadlines by a country mile. And worryingly, the number of successful startups is trending down in the UK.
We’re drifting, not learning.
Learning is existential
If we are to rebuild after Covid, face up to the climate and ecological crisis and address emergent threats from AI, and harness the opportunities opening up from new technologies and creative energies, a new enlightenment is the minimum we have to achieve. Otherwise, we won’t survive as a specie or will be condemned to live in a substantially diminished fashion.
At Dare2know, we’ve proudly built a platform that contributes to these goals.
Specifically, we’ve used a mixture of five distinctive integral elements to create a unique learning platform:
- A state-of-the-art learning management system supporting on-demand courses
- A social learning platform enabling collaboration and innovation
- Deep search capability, matching project founders with funders and investors
- Life-like VR animation, with a virtual “faculty” delivering expert tutorials with a perfect actor-like cadence
- Learning science, underpinning all our courses and mentoring with research know-how and real-world expertise
The result is a seamless platform where individuals, organisations and communities learn and innovate together. Our platform is designed for the way we need to learn in the future.
Our education system has overlooked the ability for self-learning and critical self-reflection. If you consider that someone like Tom Paine in the 18th century was self-taught, learned from ad-hoc social learning groups in London and Lewes, forerunners of the “mechanical societies” that formed the basis of the red-brick universities a century later, and yet he went on to write world-changing literature, like “Common Sense”.
Tom Paine is the ultimate adult learner; stuck in a dead-end tax inspector’s job, he travelled to the American Colonies in his thirties to expand his own and everyone else’s horizons. Great as he was, he devoted himself to something greater still. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Life long learning
Another fine example from the age of enlightenment was Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759 – 1797, whose brilliant writings, eventful life, love affairs to make a GenZ pop diva blush, European travel and first-hand experiences of the French Revolution, all informed her convictions about the education of women, founding a school in Stoke Newington at the age of just 24. Her writings laid the foundation of feminist thinking and gender theory. But of relevance here is the comment by her biographer Cora Kaplan, that Wollstonecraft, had
“a ‘curious’ legacy that has evolved over time: ‘for an author-activist adept in many genres … up until the last quarter-century Wollstonecraft’s life has been read much more closely than her writing’.”
Her life was literally an instrument of learning and change.
Life long learning
The institutionalisation and bureaucratization of learning in the form of the 19th-century university, first described by German Sociologist Max Weber, brought many benefits in the systematisation of knowledge and academic and scientific research disciplines. Yet, we’re increasingly entering an age where those structures are holding us back and creating a gulf between formal knowledge and pragmatic know-how.
We need to rediscover the capacity for self-study and expansive learning that the life of Tom Paine so powerfully illustrates. Like Paine and Wollstonecraft, we need to listen again to the call to arms issued by Immanuel Kant in 1784, on the cusp of the Enlightenment, Sapere Aude, “Dare to Know”.
As Holt & de Hold write:
“Sapere means to understand, but also to taste, and enthusiastically so, such that the Spanish have the expression con sabor, ‘with gusto’. What configures enlightenment is the experience of knowledge being created and savoured, especially when daring to push at the edges of convention, to enquire along the limits of common sense.”
Create your free Dare2Know account here, and make your life an instrument of learning:
Holt & de Hold, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0170840613502293)