One of the topics that has been at the top of my mind over the last few months of summer has been learning communities. Universities, colleges, and schools play a very important part in education, but they shouldn’t be the only game in town. So I ask myself, what would a true learning community look like?
Here are some existing institutions that have inspired me and might be useful as seeds for supporting learning communities.
- Book Clubs
- Philosophy clubs, a la Socrate’s Cafe.
- Linux user groups and other related techie communities
- Science fiction conventions
- the ‘unconference movement’
- Professional associations.
- Amateur astronomers. Links out to the ‘prosumer’ idea and also raises interesting connections regarding academic and non-academic collaboration.
- distributed knowledge sharing a la delicious, furl, all the social bookmarking services, wikipedia
A random search on Google turned up Creating Learning Communities which looks promising and has some active mailing lists for discussing the issue.
I think I’ve been interested in this idea ever since I read The Day I Became an Autodidact by Kendall Hailey. I loved the audacity at the time, although I didn’t choose to avoid college. Reading the reviews on Amazon is intriguing, alternating between high praise and complaints about life as an over-privileged teenager. She’s even made it onto a Wikepedia stub and a streaming interview from 1988 is online. As one person at Amazon commented the interview has to be heard to believe the ‘mannered, Hepburnesque’ style of Hailey’s speaking style.