Do we need more than ‘just’ attention to learn?


I don’t believe we learn “simply by attending”….there’s more to it than that. It’s got something to do with integration and synthesis and making ‘new connections’ (resulting in new neural pathways). It is these new connections that we know as “Aha moments” – when things suddenly become crystal clear. This is captured well in my view by John Nelson in the book “What color is your parachute? For retirement(2007)”. He talks about the “sea of information out there and the difficulty of making sense of it all. It splashes around with no sense of order. It is also relentless – like a fire hose that forever is trying to fill you up as though you were an empty barrel.” Where he takes this metaphor next is the notion that it is “at the confluence of the information stream and your own stream of consciousness, that you’ll make your best decisions”. I would add that it is when you are paying attention to the confluence of streams of information that you “make connections” and where most learning takes place.

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