Anchors for the Learning Community

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.

  • Libraries
  • Book Clubs
  • Philosophy clubs, a la Socrate’s Cafe.
  • Toastmasters
  • 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.