21st Century learning theory

Today, in addition to the knowledge we develop during high school and college, each of us also needs to learn how to design and implement our own personalized self-directed learning programs. We need to know how to take the knowledge, perspectives, and insights we acquired in high school and college and use them as resources to help us leverage our personal and professional experiences into effective self-directed learning opportunities, personal experiments that move us closer to the careers we want and the lives we're hoping for. In this regard, we must see our formal education for what it is; simply the beginning of a life focused on new learning. Our high school and college degrees must become the 'Front-End,' and the self-directed learning experiments we construct afterwards the 'Back End' of a lifelong pursuit of new, more sophisticated perspectives and more advanced modes of thinking, feeling and acting. 

These days, the learning equation we all need to be intimately familiar with and exquisitely capable of implementing is this one: 

"Formal Education + Self-Directed Learning Experiments = Successful Personal and Professional Development."

This equation highlights for us both the educational knowledge and the personal learning experiments we need if we're going to both survive and thrive in today’s complex and rapidly changing world. In practical terms, this equation highlights for us the fact that, as adults, those of us who have personal issues to address and those of us who have professional goals we're hoping to realize, must learn how to organize for ourselves both the Front-End and the Back-End components of this new 21st Century learning equation.


Front-End & Back-End Thought Papers


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Thriving in an Unscripted World
TLO’s Front-End –- Back-End Approach To Learning

It used to be a good education was the doorway to success. At a minimum, a Bachelor's degree was the key to a good job, if not to a fulfilling career. Graduate degrees would take you even farther. Today we know better; neither a B.A. nor an MBA are enough to assure you of either an executive title or a house in the suburbs, let alone two cars in the garage, and a comfortable retirement. Even a Ph.D. isn't enough to guarantee you a career and a life that includes a home in the suburbs, college for your kids, and a Sandals vacation in the Bahamas every year. 

EDUCATION IS NOT ENOUGH

Today, no amount of formal education is enough to guarantee you sufficient knowledge, perspective, and skills to assure your comfort, security, and success. In a world like ours -- one filled with radical complexities and accelerating rates of change, as well as with other contemporary challenges and opportunities --- a high-quality liberal

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THE 21ST CENTURY’S NEW LEARNING EQUATION

Anders Ericsson, author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, tells us that today, in addition to the formal education you’ve received, each of us needs to know how to take the knowledge and the insights our educational accomplishments have given us and use them as resources to leverage everyday experiences into effective self-directed apprenticeships. Formal education, Ericsson suggests, needs to be understood as the “front-end” of all our learning efforts, and the subsequent Self-Directed Learning Experiences we create need to be understood as the “back-end.” Essentially, the learning equation we all need to be familiar with and capable of implementing is this: 

"Formal Education + Self-Directed Learning Experiments = Successful Personal and Professional Development."

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Transforming New Knowledge into New Skills

It used to be a college education was the doorway to success. At a minimum, a Bachelor's degree was the key to a good job, if not to a fulfilling career. Today we know better; neither a B.A. nor an MBA are enough to assure you of either an executive title or a house in the suburbs, two cars in the garage, and a comfortable retirement. Even a Ph.D. isn't enough to guarantee you a career and a life that includes a home in the suburbs, college for your kids, and a Sandals vacation in the Bahamas every year. 

EDUCATION IS NOT ENOUGH

Today, no amount of formal education can guarantee us sufficient knowledge, perspective, and skills to assure our comfort and safety. In a world like ours, filled with radical complexities and accelerating rates of change, as well as other contemporary challenges and opportunities, high-quality formal education is a necessity. But...

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The Difference between Formal Education & Self-Directed Learning

Formal education and experiential learning are two different approaches to learning, two distinct methodologies that produce different results. For sure, they’re both concerned with learning. But, while they do evidence certain commonalities, the differences between them are more significant than the similarities. These differences shine through when you examine their nature, purpose, history, and methodology.

THEIR NATURE

Education is concerned with the transmission of knowledge from one individual to another. It’s the process through which a knowledgeable individual – usually a credentialed teacher – is formally charged with transmitting a community’s accumulated knowledge to other individuals who possess less knowledge and legitimacy.

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Education for Adults Living in a World of Unscripted Problems

At this point in history it seems clear that the education most forward looking adults are seeking is something they’re only going to find in a program that offers them the kind of learning hinted at in this 21st Century learning equation:- 

Formal Education + Self-Directed Learning Experiments = Successful Personal and Professional Development

 Whether you’re an adult who’s looking to accelerate your career or an adult who’s looking beyond professional advancement to building a career and life that’s both meaningful and satisfying, this equation highlights the proposition that your learning efforts need to include both a “front end” educational 

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Self-Directed, Experience-Based Learning

In this day and age, school-based educational efforts, on their own, can never be enough. Today, no amount of formal education can guarantee you the knowledge, perspective, and skills needed to assure your comfort and safety. In a world like ours, filled with radical complexities and accelerating rates of change, as well as other contemporary challenges and opportunities, high-quality formal education is a necessity. But degrees and certificates alone will never be enough to let you build the career or life you aspire to. At best, formal education can only be the Front-End portion of what, both today and tomorrow, has to become for each of us a lifelong learning journey

Today, in addition to our formal degrees, each of us needs to know how to design and implement our own experience-based, self-directed learning programs. Specifically, we each need to know how to use our own self-awareness to organize and launch the kinds of personal and professional learning journeys that allow us to do three crucial things:

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TLO's Back-End Learning Theory

Several different experts authored the theories, models, and concepts that form the foundation for TLO's "Back End" approach to learning. David Kolb, from Case Western Reserve University, is our lead expert. He almost single handedly created the field of experiential learning, and his work is the launch point for TLO's approach to Back End learning. Jack Mezirow, from Columbia University, is due similar credit for his development of Transformative Learning. Three Self-Directed Neuroplasticity pioneers, Jeffery Schwartz, Anders Ericsson, and Louis Cozolino provide the ideas, concepts and  tools that make it possible for us to show our Thought Partners how the quickly and effectively learn even the most complex socio-emotional skills in  a concentrated, focused way.

Experiential Learning is the foundation for TLO's Back End skill building programs. We use experiential learning with individuals who want to develop more effective ways

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Online Learning: The New Front-End for TLO's Learning Equation

Twenty years ago, when you wanted an education, you had to pick your school, apply, enroll when accepted, select your major, pay your fees, go to class when scheduled, listen to the teachers’ lecture, and take your tests, over and over again until you complete your required curriculum. This was the routine, at least until the 21st Century, came around, whereupon the online learning revolution got started.

Last year, the online learning market was worth more than $150 billion. Some are forecasting this will soon grow to $300 billion. Only the swelling numbers of students who are choosing online educations over formal bricks and mortar colleges matches this expanding market value.

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