Learning about Human Learning: How to Know More and Why We Will Never Know Enough

What is human learning, what makes it distinct, and how can we account for its uniqueness? Professor Anna Sfard will briefly review the widely differing answers that have been given to these questions by generations of thinkers, and reflect on lessons that can be learned from the history of research on learning. She will make observations on next steps that can or should be taken in that research. The point of departure for these reflections will be the acknowledgement of one special feature that sets human learning apart from any other: human learning occurs not only in individuals, but also on the societal level. The fact that the society learns as a whole, that is, that people’s activities grow in complexity from one generation to another, can be shown to be the primary source of all human uniqueness. These observations will lead her to the question of how to think about learning to acknowledge the constant interplay between changes on individual and societal levels and to understand its primary role in making us who we are.

Presenter: Professor Anna Sfard Thursday 25 May 2017