Last week I introduced a thought related to each of us perceiving the world differently, and provided a story of two people walking down the street while logging two different experiences. This was related to the deception of perception, but this understanding is related to our entire being.
This is also how we learn, through our perceptions. We have the power to self identify our knowledge gaps, the power to fill in those gaps, thereby leading to self-actualized empowerment through this type of education process. As a RN, my knowledge gaps are not your knowledge gaps, my understanding is different from your understanding, my competency is different from your competency, even if we were provided the same training, work in the same unit, receive the same ongoing education, and are considered “equal” by the profession’s view. This is why asynchronous self-led education and hands-on practice is so needed, for all professions.
Sure, in order for us to obtain a baseline of understanding around a particular subject, we need to be provided the facts, the background, and examples in which we can understand what we need to learn. After that, how we interact with the subject and content associated with it are truly up to our previous experiences.
Think about it, if you were providing education around boat operations to someone who might have experienced a near drowning in the past, how well do you think this person will be paying attention, thereby grasping the knowledge being provided? Little to no information will be obtained and retained because this person will likely be reliving the traumatic experience. They might be a genius when it comes to operations of machinery and would excel in this, however we are attempting to jump to the top of the pyramid before even providing a foundation of safety. No learning can occur here.
Now, what if instead we provided a safe environment for everyone to explore their own knowledge gaps, especially the ones that we did not even think about while building the curriculum, i.e. personal experiences? This now levels the playing field and offers safety, which is one of Maslow’s basic needs. Education then becomes about learning and not about facts, about the receiving of holistic information instead of only pre identified informational fragments, about the healing of biases that are serving as dams to new knowledge entering and allows the flow of new information to travel in a way that is right for that person, which ultimately becomes about the person instead of the program.
Learning is in our nature, and feeds from our innate curious self. Einstein said, “imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” Imagination is found within our “learning” as it allows curious self-exploration, which is more powerful than the “knowledge” that comes from being provided information. Both are important, but if we allow our imagination, and the imagination of our students, of our employees, of our children, to run free through self-exploration of the specific topic, we will offer an environment for them to reach their own Perceptive Education. This place, my friends, is the place where true innovations are born.