About “Just-in-Time”-Learning or Why we are still Waiting for Educational Simulators

Learning is an autonomous process. Human beings (and other organisms) respond to a change in their internal or external environment. We are not able to adapt to every change but small and gradual changes are implemented without noticing.

When you play the piano and pay attention to the notes your fingers are playing, your fingers will remember the notes they are playing. After some time you are able to find the notes by “letting your fingers go their way“.

Education is forced learning. We want somebody to acquire knowledge or a practice in the timeframe we have defined. Some people are able to do this with ease others fail.

In the old days children were educated in the context they lived in. Most of the time they copied the activities of their parents. The girls became a mother and the boys took over the practice of their father. Some of them failed and went their own way.

At this moment children are unable to learn in the context they live in. School is a completely artificial context where people are forced to learn what the “policy-makers” have defined.

Children learn without any force outside the school-environment and in certain situations this environment is an environment the “policy-makers” don’t like. Children learn to survive in a ghetto and are trained to become a thief or a seller of drugs.

What we see is a conflict between “real life” and “constructed or abstract life“. In about a hundred years we have created a highly abstract environment and this environment needs workers to sustain itself.

The abstract environment changes with an increasing speed. When somebody is trained to repair a car the car is changed into a highly computerized system and repairing is only possible when the computer tells the mechanic what to.

Adding numbers and multiplying numbers was educated at school. The calculating machine changed the game. The only thing you have to learn is to use the calculator.

The educational system is far behind the abstract world we are creating. It is forcing young people to learn things but they are unable to motivate why. The industry needs people to operate the machines but when they have trained their employees the world has changed.

The outside (abstract or imaginary world) is distancing itself from the internal world of human being and the real world they live in. The communication industry creates its own imaginary world that is shown in movies and games.

Why do young people have to spend so much time in a constructed environment that is totally disconnect from every part of the outside world it was aimed at?

The solution to this problem was invented a very long time ago and it is was called Life-Long-Learning. If we start to learn something we really need we learn without any problem.

Why is life-long-learning or “just-in-time”-learning not implemented?

Why are policy-makers writing big documents about this issue but are not implementing their vision?

The main reason is that they want to implement this concept in the “old fashioned educational system” using the old fashioned tools and the old fashioned employees.

The world has changed everywhere but the Educational System is still in the state of 50 years ago. This is really a very strange situation.

The first problem we have to solve is when “just-in-time“-learning has to start in life. Let us pick an age. Say 13 or 14. It is the time when many children start to have a job.

In the vision of “just-in-time-learning” this is the moment to give them the opportunity to make mistakes and ask questions that are “to-the-point”.

When children change (= learn) and are “adapted” we could change their environment and add complexity. In the end some of them could become even brilliant scientists. There are many examples in history of “self-made” scientists (Faraday).

I can imagine that you have a lot of arguments to show that this is a totally unpractical solution.

We could do something else. We could simulate “real-life’ and change the educational environment into a game.

Again I ask you why this has not been done until today. Well the first answer is that it has been done and there are already very effective educational games on the market. Some of them are even for free.

The second answer is that they are blocked by the educational publishers that make a lot of money by selling books and of course they are blocked by the teachers who don’t know what to do when children are learning without them.

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