Informative Versus Transformative Learning

In the technology field, particularly programming I feel like we tend to focus a lot on informative learning. Informative learning is just building upon what you already know. For instance, if you already know how a for loop works in C, and then you learn how to implement it in LabVIEW, that’s informative learning. Everything new either builds upon or relates to something you already know. There is nothing wrong with informative learning. It is certainly necessary, technology changes very rapidly, but we really need something more.

To get really breakthrough results we need to change the way we think. That requires transformative learning. It’s not just taking what you already know and applying it in a new context like informative learning. Transformative learning changes the way you look at the problem. In programming, transformative learning happens when you dive deep into topics like agile, OOP, TDD, and CI. Each of these dramatically changes the paradigm about how we develop software. Informative learning is kind a gradual accumulation of more knowledge. Transformative learning is like a step change. Suddenly you see things in a whole new light and you couldn’t go back even if you wanted to.

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