Management and life centers

Management is about the right people making decisions. It is about forming the trust and delegate chains. It is about hierarchy. Don’t be afraid of hierarchy, because life is full of centers. To have something that is full of life, life centers need to be formed naturally. To have an organization that is full of life, life centers also need to be formed. The forming of life centers in an organization is exactly about “right people making decisions” and “forming the trust and delegate chains”.

So don’t be afraid of hierarchy. Every organization has hierarchy. The right question is how many levels of hierarchies there are in an organization, there are too many or too few, whether there is natural flow btw hierarchies, whether there is transparency, whether there are still channels of communication across hierarchies, and etc.

This hierarchy is totally based on individuals’ ability to make the right decisions in this domain. And it it about making decisions and taking responsibilities for your decisions. It doesn’t extend to to your personal life (this part is usually quite difficult for people coming from the oriental world to comprehend).

I have seen startups where bosses seem to be afraid of hierarchies. They are afraid to delegate any responsibilities and authorities to other people. It seems they are trying to maintain a flat structure, but in reality, the bosses often become the sole authority in the company and make decisions on every level. A lot of micromanagement indeed.

Finding the right hierarchy, having the right people at the right positions and at the same time maintaining natural flow between hierarchies and transparency are what management is all about. In short, management is about center of lives.

I often say that software is about creating lives. Thus you can see why I say software and management are inherently connected. I don’t see a software engineer as a good software engineer if s/he cannot do good management. However, what we often see in the industry is that a lot of people tend to think that software engineer cannot do management, and thus management belongs to people who can not do software. It sounds bizarre. However, that is how many software companies are run today. What a tragedy if you run a company like that!

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我是如何进行年度回顾总结的

我的不少朋友都是喜欢做年度回顾总结了。从去年年底起,一直到春节,就陆续看到他们的年度回顾登台了。我利用春节几天,也做了个年度回顾,因为平时自己一直记录学习笔记,所以这个年度回顾也是在笔记本上完成的。虽然有点姗姗来迟,下面也跟大家分享一下我是如何做年度回顾总结的。

首先给大家我笔记本上去年的一个年度统计数据,一共记了3176条笔记,其中有2007个便条,647个网址,515个网摘,7个知识包。 另外也统计了各年度最常用标签,年度产生的新标签等等。关于这个统计功能和页面,请看另一篇专门介绍新开发的统计功能的文章。

通过年度统计数据,可以很快的了解一整年的大概的情况。然后就是使用笔记本的日期过滤中的浏览去年功能,让笔记本只显示去年2014年里的笔记。通过快速浏览,可以大致发现这一年需要回顾的几个大的主题,比如管理,软件团队管理,产品管理,技术(包括其中具体的几个技术专题如git, python, shell, database),osl发展,notebook设计和开发。然后就是按相应标签组合来过滤出相关笔记对每个主题依次回顾。

整个过程是先确定回顾主题,然后快速获得每个主题积累的大概的经验信息,然后再深入细节,尤其对于一些有足够积累的领域去努力形成整体的知识。最后就是查缺补漏,顺便再整理一下笔记。

在这些主题里面,在管理方面,因为平时就注重随时的总结,已经形成一系列博客文章。形成了整体的知识和深层的理解。具体看个人中文博客:http://blog.sina.com.cn/happystone2009

而在技术方面,却是需要积累了足够的实践经验和重要信息片段(如带cheatsheet, tip标签的内容)后才合适进行整体的回顾,试图形成整体的理解。比如这次主要对git做了回顾总结,整理出一个大概的整体的知识,认识深度上也有很大的收获。详见:http://91biji.com/wiki/index.cgi/Git 另外,在shell方面也积累了足够的经验了,也该结集提炼出系统的知识出来了。

其他对osl发展, notebook的设计和开发这样的比较大的主题,不断组合出一组标签来侧重于某个方面进行回顾,来总结自己过去的工作,确定下个阶段发展的重点。另外对于产品设计,软件设计,旅游等比较小的专题也进行了回顾总结。

在回顾中的每条重要的感受和想法写也同样记录成便条,加上yearly review标签,供以后的反复回顾和参考。

用笔记本来对平时就随时抓取的学习瞬间(learning moment)的“重要体验”来进行比较长的一个时间段的回顾,是相当有效的学习方式。

一个是长期笔记记录,你可以注意到那些经常出现的东西,它们反映了那个时期的一个特征,能给你提供很好的反思基础;一个是过了很长时间后的回顾,没有了当时深在其中的某种情绪,可以更客观的审视当时自己的感受;一个是不同阶段的不同环境的比较,会有非常有意义的发现。

因为笔记准确的抓取当时的体验,并且客观的做了保留记录,你不需要在年底的时候凭借你的记忆效的来做模糊的有误差的回忆。并且所有的都已经形成文字可视化的呈现在你眼前,减轻了你的心智负担,避免一边要在大脑里缓存记忆,一边要对其做分析平衡和计算。

下面我就具体的对以上说到的四点,分别举几个例子:

第一个,对于长期里多次出现的,比如我发现有一个时期我的笔记里有很多关于人生的态度要像年轻的时候有那样的闯劲,继续乐观。这些出现的频率挺高,我意识到其实是有点人到中年在心境上有些变化,而这些笔记大概是意识到这些变化吧。

再举一个例子,我在回顾在现公司的管理方面的经验总结时,我发现所有的问题放在一起一看,很明显可以发现原因都是一个:组织太大了,造成了管理上的各个方面的困难。解决的办法:一个是把公司拆小,形成许多相对独立的小的个体,恢复类市场的机制;一个是利用web(互联网),把整个公司再变小。

关于第二点,比如通过各个公司的比较,其实各有各自的问题。似乎可以看开点,并且没有必要对自己当前的环境过于抱怨,把情绪化的东西去掉。

关于第三点,我在回顾时按照过去工作过的三个不同的公司来进行比较。按照在每个公司工作的时间段过滤提取出那个阶段的笔记。这些公司属于不同行业,管理文化,软件环境都很不一样,也是不同的公司规模。第一个最小,三十多人。第二个将近百人。第三个很大,十几万人。第一家是纯互联网行业,由美国硅谷回国创业者创办,在互联网界有一定知名度。第二第三家都是比较传统的公司,对于我来说,属于去帮助推进互联网的数字化进程吧。不同阶段的体验的集中碰撞出很多很有意义的发现。

比如我在浏览笔记的时候突然意识到第一家的管理和后两家的管理实际上是两个极端。第一家的氛围和美国公司很像,至少在氛围上还是相当平等互重的。员工,主管和老板之间都是名字相称。老板中午甚至非中午一样靠在椅子上打呼噜。公司的注册资料,财务资料等公开的放在柜子里不上锁。是相当的开放的文化了。但我个人认为问题是没有形成管理上的一定的信任层级。高管之间缺少创业团队的那种经常的正式非正式的交流和切磋。而很多重要的事情又一开始就放到整个公司层面去讨论。很多人其实还没有形成一定的能力时是不适宜揠苗助长的,对其成长并不利。而第二家第三家都有相当传统的上下级关系,各种总漫天飞,敬酒文化,吹捧文化非常重。而相应的在管理上的信任层级非常僵化,没有形成基于业务能力上的信任层级。

而我在浏览前面两个小公司的管理经验时,对比后面在大公司的管理上的感受,这个感受上的差异性,让我更理解小公司和大公司在管理上的深层次上的不同。比如在小公司比较容易形成主人翁意识,因为所有的事情都在你眼里。在大公司,即使本来主人翁精神很强的人,也很难形成主人翁精神,因为公司太大了,你看到的只能是很小的一部分。在小公司,对所有的一切都可以具体的感知,对管理很有具体的感觉。而对大公司就不那么容易把握了,很难去感受。当然意识到差别了,就会主动的去尝试把小公司里的主人翁精神带到大公司里去,以及如何利用web(互联网)把大公司再变小,让所有的事情发生在一个屋檐下面。这些对比帮助我思考把小公司里的管理体验如何运用到大公司的管理上。

还发现第二家公司和第三家公司一件很有意思的事情。虽然两家公司规模迥异,却在一点上非常相像。在第二家公司,由于老板是传统业界人士,不熟悉互联网,所以下面一堆高管忽悠老板。老板也对所有的人都抱着戒心,对谁都不信任。当然本身也没有认识人判断人的能力(我一直认为老板不懂业务问题不大,但一定要会看人。像刘备文不如诸葛亮徐庶庞统,武不如张飞关羽赵云,但是会看人懂得信任人)。而第三家公司因为员工数庞大,虽然老板和最高管理层相当优秀,但是最高管理层和基层之间隔了好几层,这些中层和基层的人就是基本上嘻嘻哈哈了。不是说他们不负责,不认真,但是工作文化在我看来是嘻嘻哈哈。为什么说嘻嘻哈哈,因为没有人真的当回事。缺少个体的兴趣就不会有真正的负责。

另外通过三个阶段的对比,可以发现比如哪些是职业发展中真正重要的机会,每个工作阶段技术长进的领域和程度,从而对自己的职业发展所需要的东西有个更清晰的认识。每个环境都给你不同的东西。如果你的目标是比较高的,你就需要去不断积累在不同方面的经验,需要结合自己当前的整体的情况,去最好的利用当前的环境,或者把握未来的机会。

我通过回顾后,会对每个阶段在各个领域的成长打分,最后算个总和,评估每一个阶段的成长值。比如下面这个便条:

2013,2014 achievement: tech 3; paas 3; inner source 3; profession of digitizing 3; travel 3; management:11; media and publishing industry: 1; translation industry:2; commerce: 4; medical 3; big company culture 2; SUM: 38.

这样通过时间段和相关标签的过滤,可以对每个阶段的某个侧面进行聚焦的回顾。通过笔记本来进行这样的回顾是非常有效的。其实我以前也经常做年度回顾,正是因为发现可以通过笔记本的方式让回顾更加高效的轻松的进行,才开发了笔记本。

记忆是不太可靠的。尤其是时间比较长的记忆。一般来说本周的事情你可能还是能够比较印象准确的,长了就有些模糊了甚至会有比较大的误差。这次回顾我就发现了好几次我的印象其实是不尽然的。幸亏通过当时的笔记,忠实的找回了正确的印象。

另外,我们在很久以前对自己的人生做的决定,当时一定还是有许多的考虑的。这么长的时间过去了,你也走过了这段路,你是否还记得当初的选择,是否仍然不忘初心?比如我在近两年前特别希望增加在商业和产品管理上的锻炼,以及带团队,积累公司管理的经验。如今回头看,我已经达到了目标,已经自信自己可以带好一个软件团队,甚至管理好一个上百人的公司。现在我觉得自己则更需要专注的是在实际的技术上继续再走深走广更多细节和更加过硬,在技术上基本达到自己当初开始时对自己的期许。不忘初心,清楚自己的成长,更明白下一步的方向。

此文献给跟我同样喜欢通过笔记方式来管理自己学习和知识的学友们,献给所有擅长反思喜欢学习的朋友。我们都是自学者,让自学更简单一些!

另外会写一文,介绍笔记本的统计发现功能,比如过去每年的统计结果,各个阶段的统计结果,该阶段的常用标签和新标签,每年的笔记数量重量平均值等的比较分析。

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New features

We have a few new features released to help you better manage your daily learning:

Swapping of book:

If you go to a note list page, for example
http://3exps.org/social/leon/bookmarkbook/notes/?q=t%3Atip+%7C+t%3Acheatsheet+%26+t%3Agit&all=
, you can see on the right upper corner of the page, there is a dropdown list of book names in red font, you can try switching it to another book name such as note, you will be directed to
http://3exps.org/social/leon/notebook/notes/?q=t%3Atip+%7C+t%3Acheatsheet+%26+t%3Agit&all=
It will swap out the book name part of the url while keep the rest the same.
Screenshot available soon.

More date range filters:

First when in a note list page, press alt+p to open up the display filter. You will see that now you can view notes of last year. You can also view by a date range, by entering a request parameter in the url like this date_range=2014-08-20—2014-12-29. Date range filter is set for the session. So for all note list (snippets, bookmarks, scraps, frames, notes, personal or social) you will have this filter applied. To reset it, simply choose date range to all.

Clicking on desc to expand and collapse a note:

In a note list page, you can click on the desc (description) part (it is the second part. So it can be url part for bookmarks ) to expand the note. Clicking on it again will collapse it. For personal notebook, for now you can only expand it. For social and group notes, you can expand and collapse.

Support for passing page_size parameter:

In a note list page, you can pass the parameter page_size to change the default page size. The maximum you can set is 200. This is also stored per session. So you have this page size for all note list pages.

Fixed menu bar

In a note list page, the menu bar of the notes will become fixed to the screen when you scroll down enough. So it will be convenient for you to select some notes for bulk edition without having to scroll back to the very top.

Screenshot available soon.

Simple frame display:

For frames that has no child frame, we build a simplified template for displaying. So it looks better. For example, you can view this frame (in Chinese):http://3exps.org/social/leon/framebook/notes/note/9174/

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Inner Source Software Development Environment

Inner Source, basically is to bring Open Source inside a company. The Open Source software development platform and process allow programmers across the world to work on the same project at anytime, and produce very high quality software that is well documented. It is a higher standard of software development. This platform and process can be brought inside a company for members in a company to participate in software development process seamlessly. It is “Open” to all people inside a company.

  • Like open source software projects (for example Linus in Linux project, Guido in Python project), inner source respects project ownership as well, at the same time allows for very open discussions and inputs without losing efficiency. So every project will have an owner, whose role and responsibility is just like an open source project owner.
  • Flat learning curves for competent new developers. When new developers join, they don’t need to ask here and there to get to know all the resources. The environment should be built up to allow new developers to start contribute to the projects soon, just like in open source projects.
  • Programmers participate in a project just like how they participate in an open source project: normally they start from debugging or working on TODOs inside the code, and submit pull requests. And they move up the ranks by making contribution and demonstrating skills.
  • New official projects will be listed under new projects page. These new projects need to be “owned”. Programmers can apply to own these projects.
    Programmers can start their own projects as well in company code platform (github currently). However, these projects have to demonstrate its usefulness and quality to be recognized as “official” projects.
  • Programmers’ work and contribution will be evaluated based on the official projects that programmers work on. The evaluation will be based on professional experience and judgement instead of superficial numbers. After all, software process is a complex process. Numbers will be used to help analysis.
  • There is no boundary of programming and programmers. There are certain percentage of tasks that will be assigned and arranged by team leaders. Additionally, programmers can work on any project that they are interested and feel they can make a contribution. So devops people, QA people can work on programming projects as well. Non tech team members can also work on programming projects. But the acceptance of pull request will be the right of the project owner.
  • With official and unofficial projects, we intend to build up a rich environment with many projects that people can participate in and learn various programming skills step by step. All projects are following the open source standard, with flat learning curve and easy to participate and contribute. Thus a learning environment for software programming will be built up, which will be essential for us building up a strong software team.
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我是如何学习git的–谈谈互联网时代的学习方式

我是10年初开始和朋友一起做一个项目的时候开始使用git来作为我们的代码仓库进行远程合作的。当时主要是先看了一下维基百科等了解了一下基本的概念,和svn的区别等。记得当时joelonsoftware刚好有些文章介绍git这样的分布式的代码仓库,Joel当时也是刚开始学习了解Git,Mercurial这样的分布式代码仓库,写了些文章。一开始因为要在自己的vps上建git bare仓库作为合作的主仓库,朋友在git方面比较有经验,跟他了解了一下使用git的合作编程的常用的流程。在自己服务器上搭了个git bare仓库。后来又在github和bitbucket上有更多的基于git基础上团队协作,不断积累自己对git的理解和实际操作经验。实际经验积累的比较多了以后,发现有一些写的比较好的能够清晰掌握git概念模型的文章如阮一峰写的几篇,再找出自己多年的笔记,做了个整体的总结,算是把git的比较清晰的概念模型建立起来了。

整个学习掌握git的过程,我没有去上什么培训班,没有专门找什么老师来教我,也没有去找什么所谓的教科书,甚至没有怎么专门的学习git。除了一开始大概集中看了下git的基本概念和介绍,和最后做了个整体的回顾总结,从没有花大块的时间专门去学git,都是在实际工作过程中逐渐的积累自己的经验和理解。

试想如果还是以传统的学校课堂的方式去学习,要等到什么时候才会有git的标准教材出来?等到有git的标准教材出来,有git课堂出来,恐怕也是git快过时的时候了,就好像以前我们在学校里总是在学习已经过时的东西一样。其实即使有了标准的教科书了,教你的老师就一定有大量的实际经验吗?缺乏大量的实际经验的“老师”,真的理解他所教的内容吗?大量的技术的涌现,你在学习这些新的技术的时候,还没有教科书,你如何学习?很多人脱离了学校学习环境后面对生活中需要学习的大量的知识,似乎总是手足无措,要回到学校课堂式的那种学习才感觉好像抓住了一根拐杖似的。

这里我试着以学习git为例,试着跟大家探索自学的方式。其实我相信很多人在学习这些新技术时,都大致采取类似的方式,不管是有意识还是无意识。但我想通过学习git这个具体的例子,展示一下这个自学过程的最基本的一些步骤,并对其过程从几个方面做个分析,帮助大家形成对于自学的更为理性的认识和理解,可以在以后的学习中更系统有效的运用这些方法。

首先是通过维基百科或者官方网站这样的站点区获得初步的概念和理解。这里如果是在学习自己感兴趣领域的人,基本上很快就能领会基本的概念是怎么回事,就可以通过动手实践去积累具体的经验了。

我们知道文字阅读是比较消耗时间的。很多时候我们读了大段的文字,还是不清楚作者所指。这对作者的文字表达其实是有比较高的要求的。如果初期发现的材料质量不高(对于比较新的技术,这是经常会碰到的事情),那么与其花太多的时间阅读材料,不如尽早的去接触实物去实际操作,可以省去很多的时间。这时一般都是找些很快就能够上手的实例或者项目,完成一些简单的操作,对一些基本的概念建立起感性认识。比如git是分布式的代码仓库。对这个分布式的理解,可以很快的通过一些具体的操作获得真实的感受。这样的感性的经验是需要你在实践中去不断积累的。而你要获得对于某个领域的知识的理解,你就需要从多个方面多个层次去不断积累感性的经验。

通过网上查询或者参与网上社区,基本就可以找到当前比较好的学习资料。这些好的学习资料,恐怕很多学校里的老师都不知晓。如果是比较新的技术,暂时还缺乏好的文档或者教程,也没有关系,并不阻碍自己的不断学习进步。在实际工作中不断的解决问题,不断从网上找到片段式的好的信息或者答案(比如stackoverflow就是编程领域一个很好的资源,只要查到的是stackoverflow上的信息,尤其是很多人点赞的,应该是相当不错的资源)。

实际经验和好的资料积累到一定阶段,就可以进行整体的回顾和总结。可以自己快速的提炼出整体的知识。积累到什么程度时可以进行整体的回顾和总结了,你是可以感觉得到的。在那个时候,只要投入不多的时间做个回顾,你就可以获得整体上的理解,靠这个整体的理解和融会贯通,你不再需要更多的记忆就可以快速的运用知识在各种场合里。

在整个过程中,如果我需要弄清楚某一个概念,我就去找概念性的资源。如果我需要更多的实践,我就在实践中去积累。这是很灵活的学习,不浪费时间的学习。所以这里对自我的感觉是至关重要的。我们必须能够清楚的感知自己是处在哪一个学习的阶段,在每一个阶段需要什么样的知识,是概念性的还是实践性的感性的知识。什么时候需要通过比较长的时间去点滴的积累,什么时候需要在短时间内大量的投入快速取得整体的突破。并且知道在互联网上哪里有你需要的合适的资源。比如知道维基百科可以是很可靠的基本概念的资源。Stackoverflow是获得具体的点滴的实践知识的优秀的资源。互联网已经提供了比较快的获得各种资源的方式,如果可以很好的自我感知,就可以快速灵活恰当的去利用互联网的资源,快速的学习。

这样的学习方式,依靠自己的感知,利用丰富的互联网资源进行快速高效自由的学习。

最后自己总结出来的知识,包括那些在学习过程中收集的好的资料和信息以及多个层面多个角度的理解,是可以和大家进行分享的。如果有好的分享这些整理过的来自学习实践的活的知识的社区,那又成为其他学习者的可以利用的优秀的学习资源。并且这样的知识是活的知识,是随着人们的学习进展和不断的贡献得到不断的更新不断改进提高的知识,而不像传统的教材,难以更新或者更新极慢。同时这样的知识是立体的,可以有丰富的示例,项目,问题,博客,视频等等(比如这个学习领域软件编程或者关于教育)。

上面总结的这个基于兴趣的自学,大家可以看到其实是非常简单的。其要点主要是基于兴趣,在生活和工作中不断积累,感知,和积累到一定阶段后的总结。很多人总是感觉脱离学校后的自学很茫然无从下手,其实只是因为学校学习带给人们的错误学习观念太深了,一旦脱离就感觉诚惶诚恐失去依靠。我们需要不断通过自学实践去摆脱那些错误的学习观念,恢复自己其实在孩童时期就有的天然的学习能力。大家需要明确的知道:基于兴趣的自学才是真正的学习!抓住以上的要点,如果再有好的网络工具,帮助大家在生活工作中及时收集积累好的资料和个人领悟,人们可以很方便的进行基于兴趣的自学。

下面我们来看看,和传统的学校学习比较,这样的基于兴趣的自学除了兴趣驱动外,有什么特征。

第一:逐层次逐点的学习

从来不需要传统学校学习那样的大块的专门时间的学习。任何学科,都可以逐层次的逐个点的慢慢的积累,这样就可以时刻和实践结合,利用互联网,不断的去积累。不光传统学校那样呆在一个封闭的环境里连续学习十几年是完全没有必要的,就是连续学习一年甚至一个月都是没有必要的。最多几天(比如学习生物),就应该可以完成一个层次的学习。

利用互联网进行逐层逐点的学习,需要注意对所找到的材料的价值的判断。如果当前找到的资料比较费解,花很长的时间所获得的收获也很少,那很可能是资料的质量不太高。那就大胆的先放着。尤其当你可以通过实践去增进对其的理解的,或者你暂时的工作并不需要对其的大量的运用和深度的掌握的时候。(这些应该是绝大多数的情况。)你是有着多种的方式去增进你对该领域知识的理解的,并不是一定要专攻教科书,毕其功于一役。很多时候,你甚至是依靠在比较长的时间段里的偶尔冒出的灵感或领悟来不断增进你的理解。

其实在我学习git的过程中,早就发现网上有免费的git书,但当时觉得质量不够好,至少阅读比较费时间,涉及的细节太多。所以只是暂时收藏了放着,等到以后需要的时候才去具体的阅读。很多资料都是这样的,碰到了但是暂时不太适合你当前的知识程度,就可以先收集起来,标注一下,等到以后需要的时候再去集中阅读。

对于git的学习,我自然不敢说我现在就全部学透彻了。要学透彻了,恐怕就要看源码了。以我以前做过硬件的经验来看,只有到硬件那个层面,才算真的清楚什么是什么。但是即使不算对git的知识全部透彻了,我想这样的知识状态并没有什么问题。知道自己哪些还不清楚,时刻等待着机会能够去更深入的了解,而不用受限于传统学校教育的观念,似乎学习就必须一次打破砂锅问到底,追根问底才行。其实以我们的现在的科学知识所达到的深度,难道就已经对这个世界知根知底了吗?在新的实践中,我们会不断发现过去理论的局限性,发现必须在更深的层面去重新认识和理解。所以,大家在学习中就放心的浅尝则止,不求甚解吧。暂时放下书本是没有关系的,人的认识一定是要和实践结合的,根据实践的经验去反思总结来逐步增加自己对世界的认识。其实我们个人对所处社会和文化的认识,不也是在大量实际经验的基础上进行反思总结的结果吗?

更何况人的一生需要学习的东西很多,你完全应该根据自己当前的兴趣和需求等去感觉要在当前的这个知识领域深入多少。自学的关键就是要去把握当前自己的学习需求和相关理解力跟当前资源或项目之间平衡。比如说软件编程就是一个很大的学习领域,过去我根据自己的兴趣主要专注的在软件工程,对象化编程,数据库设计等方面,对算法和性能相对关注的比较少。但近几年,随着在软件工程等领域的知识的逐渐成熟,自然更多的开始关心算法和性能等方面。但是我其他一些朋友,可能从一开始就更关注在算法和性能方面。如果你喜欢某一个领域,希望自己在这个领域能够有杰出的能力,你必然需要学习很多的东西。如何结合自己的兴趣和实际的境遇去平衡自己的学习,逐层的推进自己的知识和技能,就是你所需要的重要的能力。

第二:时刻与实践的结合。

当然也正是因为可以逐层逐点的学习,才有可能时刻不脱离实践。对事物形成理解力是很重要的。学习就是去建立那种理解力。要形成理解力,你就需要足够的空间和时间。需要大量的实践去获得感性的体验和认识。需要在一段比较长的时间里去从各个层面各个角度去丰富你对这个领域的理解。需要不断的回到这个知识领域。这些,只有在生活中的自学才能够帮你做到。

因为时刻与实践的结合跟上面的逐层次逐点的学习是相辅相成的,我们这里不再多讲。

需要说明的是我们并不是要完全否定学校学习的方式,我们只是在找各种情况下的最快的达到学习目的的方法。当然学校学习过于僵化,并且在绝大多数情况下是极其浪费时间的学习方式。更大的问题是这种僵化的学习方式往往变成人们观念里的唯一的学习方式,而使人丧生了自我感知的能力,这直接导致人们学习能力的丧失。

当然取决于你的能力和实际的情况,你可能会一上来就花很多时间把git完全搞清楚。如果你觉得那样你学得更快,没有问题。如上所述,我们并不是要否定其他的学习方式,只是说大家应该清楚其它的选择,以及知道何时应该用其他的方法更快速的前进。只要不是只有一种学习方法,只要你能够基于兴趣去学习,不断的去感知,去利用各种资源快速的学习,那就是好的。

我想澄清这些后,大家可以摆脱传统学校学习观念的束缚,认识到其实平时在使用的自学的方式就是真正的学习,即使自己以前只是潜意识的松散的(甚至抱着负疚感的,好像自己不是在真正学习一样)在运用,从而开始真正自由的学习。

以上讲的还只是对于一个具体的技术的学习。这些对于很多程序员来说,因为他们平时需要大量的学习新的知识,所以多少都会有些自学的经验。另外,对于学习敏捷编程这样的比较大块的东西,实际上也是完全可以通过互联网来自学的。

我在2003年读研究生上软件工程这门课的时候,当时的教材主要介绍的还是CMMI类的软件工程方法,因为我对软件工程很感兴趣,就在网上自己找相关的资料信息,接触到了敏捷编程。那时候敏捷编程刚提出来没有几年,许多人都不知道。但是通过我的查询阅读,以及不断的扩展性查询相关的知识,不光对敏捷编程运动里的人物和他们的许多文章有阅读,还把interactive computing, Christopher Alexander等都挖出来了,是个不断思考不断阅读的过程,对敏捷编程发展的整体的状况,背景,来源,具体实践等等都弄得比较清楚,结合自己长期对软件的兴趣去思考,自然能够比较深的理解其本质的含义。此后多年来在软件工程领域的实践,经历了各种不同的项目和不同的软件环境,在十多年的时间里把自己对于敏捷编程的原则和具体实施有了很深的理解有全面的把握和整体的感觉。而且这些学习,实际上是跟我对软件本质的兴趣是一致的,是和更广阔的人文学习不可分割的,甚至是和管理的经验息息相关的。缺乏这些方面的兴趣,是很难深入的理解敏捷编程的。

这里重复一下,敏捷编程的学习,我没有上任何敏捷编程的课,没有接受任何敏捷编程的培训,完全是通过互联网上的学习和实际工作的积累,不断的感觉和总结,才形成了自己的知识。我相信自己在敏捷编程方面的知识可以超过任何一个敏捷培训师。最后加上这句不是为了自夸,而是为了说明基于兴趣的自学才是真正的学习之道。而互联网资源的丰富,已经使得这种基于兴趣的自学可以自由自然的开展。在不久的未来,这也必然成为大众主流的学习方式。

同时大家也可以从敏捷编程的学习看到,一个知识领域是跟其他相当广泛的领域的知识和理解相关的。缺乏其他领域的广泛学习,敏捷也是无法去深入的。传统的学校学习是无法囊括这样的学习的。但是互联网时代的学习可以为这样的学习提供合适的工具,让其显现出来。

为了帮助大家更好的看清楚过去和未来之间的联系,我们可以再比较一下这种基于兴趣的自学和传统学校式学习的区别。我们看到基于兴趣的自学基本上是一种连续性的学习,而传统学校式学习有着严重的断裂,太多的我们过去学习的东西已经接不上了。比如我们在学校里花费这么多时间学习的教科书上的内容,都已经尘封在久远的记忆里去了。我现在仍然在生活中学习许多的医学知识,过去大学里学习的很多生物的知识能够起到一个很好的底子,我也经常上网去查找某器官或者组织的解剖图或者比较底层的系统的知识来帮助自己对实践中积累的知识有更好的理解。不过目前的互联网数字化进程的程度,还不能找到生物方面比较丰富的数字化的内容. 而要去找以前的教材已经是不太可能或者过于麻烦了。但我相信随着数字化进程的深入,不久一定会有很多更好的系统的生物知识(可以是图片甚至三维动画)在网上可以很快的找到。每个人需要的时候就可以找到某一张解剖图或某一个层面的系统知识进行学习,结合自己的实践经验形成自己的对于整体知识的理解。也就是说即使对于生物或者医学这样的领域知识,也是可以利用互联网结合自己的生活来进行逐层次逐点的学习。

所以我相信,未来一定是这样的学习。旧的基于学校课堂的学习模式早已经不适用于我们这个时代了。大量新知识的涌现,呼唤新的学习方式。大家只要广泛的参与到自学中去,不断总结自己的经验,并设计相应的软件工具帮助自己和他人的自学,我们就可以逐渐的创造出未来的主流的学习方式。

希望在以后大家想要学习某个知识时,不是首先想到去进什么学校,上什么课,或者找某某老师来讲学。而是首先动起手来,找到合适的资源和项目,开始在这个领域的知识积累。

附上git学习的WikiNotehttp://91biji.com/wiki/index.cgi/Git

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Regarding test

Test should be more a test of the person who gives the test: how do you evaluate the person in front of you. Ask what he likes and what he has the most experiences in, ask him to describe it to you, evaluate his language skill, communication skill, critical thinking in the process. Don’t create any test that the candidate needs to spend extra time to prepare. The candidate only needs to do one thing and that is building up his portfolio. The person who evaluates should have the skills to get into details into any field, and know how to ask questions. So the test is more a test of the person who gives the test. With current testing, we saw too many crappy test givers and too many talented people suffering from those crappy tests. Repeat again: they should not spend any extra time just for the test. They only need to do well at what they are doing. Maybe they need to do some reflection and summarize their experiences. But we have tools to make that the ongoing process along the way. So they don’t have to do that particularly just for the test.

I still remember when I was taking a learning theory and technology course from a famous education school professor. When he discussed about test, I said plainly that I don’t like test. When asked why, I said it can never really test people’s understanding of the knowledge, and it wastes people’s time in doing the real thing. Instead, people can be evaluated just by what they have done and people should be given chances to try things.

I interview people and I hire them. I know the test is more a challenge to the test giver than the candidate. The candidate only needs to express themselves well. And expressing oneself well is the basic skill of anyone or anything who wants to play with others. As the person who evaluates, I need to look into their blogs, twitters, github and so on. I need to have a broad interest and have the knowledge to get into any field and need to know how to ask various questions, and is able to tell what I need to know, for example critical thinking ability, analytic skills, broad interests in tech or in life, design skills… Which college s/he goes to and the GPA? Doesn’t matter.

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Declaration of Self-learning, the long version

For the short version, read here.

Here we want to recognize what we have achieved in our understanding of learning, and call for further actions to lead to future learning.

The current prevailing education model, e.g. the school classroom based education model, or so called Compulsory Schooling, has only been around for 150 years. Its design goal is to strip away human beings’ higher capacities and keep only the lowest ones, so people can work along the assembly line and be part of the assembly line. So in this education system, human beings are just a higher form of machine.(John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education) But in the new era of economy, we need more people who are able to explore knowledge and think independently. The current increasingly severe crisis facing United States and other western countries lies in the fact that the far outdated education system cannot meet the needs of the new knowledge economy. So this is the era we are going to replace the old education model with the new one, one that brings out the true face of learning.

To do that, we have to think outside of the box of classroom, and think deeply what is learning and what is knowledge. We cannot turn to conventional educators for guidelines since lacking of learning experiences they only know of classrooms when it comes to learning and they tend to use all kinds of technologies to decorate their fancy classrooms. Without the concept of classroom, they are unable to think what is learning and what is knowledge. Fortunately, many years of practices and experiences from Sudbury Valley School, Summerhill and other democratic schools, from unschooling movement, and from many self-learners such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein are the real rich nutrition we can turn to. Typically, we can learn from over 40 years of practices of Sudbury Valley School, a school that has no classroom, no homework and no exams and what kids there do all day is just playing:

  1. Learning is always self-directed, and children (adults too, of course) can make decisions on their own learning;
  2. Children can learn everything by playing. In sudbury schools, children play whatever they feel like playing;
  3. Children can equally participate in school matters, and if given that equal chances they participate in school matters in a rational and responsible way. Feeling and improving one’s surroundings is essential to the wholeness of a human being, and should never be taken away from one;
  4. Children learn in their daily lives. They don’t need to be isolated from their daily lives in order to learn. They also don’t need to be isolated from larger society for the purpose of learning;
  5. No external tests should be given to children. They can evaluate themselves according to their internal goals and from their playing. Children should feel of their own space instead of let that feeling being constantly interrupted and damaged by external tests;
  6. Sudbury staff do whatever they can to help protect children’s feeling of the space: space internally and space around. For example, children shouldn’t be timed with external clock. Children’s sense of themselves shouldn’t be interfered or driven by external tests. Children feel of their inner needs of learning. In sudbury schools, children can be with themselves. Children feel of their environments and make change to that environment, evaluate that change and make further improvement. Children participate in larger social life instead of being cut off and isolated from it. So you can see in sudbury schools, children feel fully of the space;
  7. Although children direct their own learning, sudbury staff also play an active role. They help make learning a little easier once learning needs arise. Sudbury staff made sudbury school a comprehensive supportive learning environment. They build a safe playground for children to play together.

So you can see sudubury experiences are simply about playing and feeling. No. 1 is the prerequisite of playing. No. 2 to No.4 are the content of playing. No. 5 and No. 6 are about feeling. No. 7 is about making learning easier and building a playground. I have to add it here that this playground very much mimics the playground the open source movement has built up for software programmers. It is all about making learning curve flatter and making things play with each other.

For those who still have doubts, it is not playing that distracts them from learning. It is external tests, meaningless homework and subjects they are not ready to learn that distract them. Actually playing provides all the context, drive, feedback and goals for their learning. They learn by playing. Please don’t ask me why playing. Playing is the primary activity. Learning is the secondary activity. Don’t sacrifice playing for learning.

Thus it is not school time that we have to guarantee our children. It is the play time that we have to guarantee them. People never became illiterate because they played too much. People became illiterate because they had to work day and night from a young age and had no time to play. Especially in the modern world where there are bookstores and internet anywhere, people don’t become illiterate because of playing.

Not only do we need to guarantee our children the time to play, we also need to guarantee them the time to pause and feel. We need to protect children’s time to be with themselves and feel of themselves. Children in sudbury are given time to be with themselves, to feel their internal clocks. And their feeling of the space is protected from external tests, meaningless homework and forced upon subjects, which are designed to destroy their sense of space and thus to make them unable to learn.

Trust us, play while equipped with strong feel is the most efficient way of learning. It may seem chaotic to the outsiders, but for the people doing it, they are following their own hearts and it is by all means following the natural order!

But this learning revolution is not just about children. It is actually more about us adults because it is us adults who already forgot what is learning and constantly interfered with children’s learning in a violent way.

We have put our minds into a cage called classroom. And without a classroom, either a physical one or a virtual one, we are unable to learn. Yes, we still learn intuitively and slowly little by little. But that speed of learning cannot catch up with the needs of the new era of economy and an increasingly sophisticated society. We need to learn a lot more. We need to learn big! We need to understand multiple domains of knowledge and understand the whole world. We need to be entrepreneurs and explore the world. People need to understand the sophisticated society and don’t get fooled by politicians and corporations. We need to build many things to make this world better. We need to empower ourselves by real learning! As the society gets more complicated and the world gets smaller, it is dangerous if we don’t upgrade our education system.

So let’s expand Sudbury School Model to the whole society including adults. Sudbury school is a safe playground for children to play together. For the adults, let’s turn the whole society into a better playground! Let’s make the whole society a comprehensive supportive learning environment!

We hereby call for actions:

  1. Call for the declaration of Freedom of Learning: individuals should have the right to decide for themselves what to learn, how to learn, from who to learn, when to learn and where to learn;
  2. Call for people who can truly bring technology and understanding of learning together. For that, software programmers need to turn to practices and experiences from Sudbury, Summerhill, and other democratic schools, and from the unschooling movement. They also need to be lifelong self-learners themselves and learn several big things in their lives and have very rich learning experiences. Only so, can we see how technology is really applied to learning and truly make the revolution happen. Especially we need to pay attention to various institutions that started to center learning around self-reflection, which has proven to be very effective in turning people who have been accustomed to school-way of learning (e.g. fixed, instigated) into a self-driven and self-initiated real life learning, and which is probably the major area that learning software will come from. With email, webpage, google, facebook, even with mobile internet and cloud computing, we are still at the beginning of this software revolution, which is a process of digitization of human world. We have been lingering around long enough not entering the core of that digitization. Now let’s march into the core! Let’s usher the era of consciousness software! We are all self-learners. Let’s make self-learning easier!
  3. Call for people of all ages, in school or out of school already, to engage in self-learning and learning in real life, to use self-reflection tools to help capture their learning every day and build up rich and well-structured knowledge, and to share that rich knowledge with others and guide others in their learning. The more people can learn out of school and in real life, the less significant school will be. When I was in college, only 5 to 10% of my knowledge was learned in school. As we build up strong self-learning communities and show people the power and richness of self-learning, we can make the old classroom based education model obsolete and replace it with this new one;
  4. Call for all organizations to participate in making the whole society a comprehensive supportive learning environment. We need various organizations to carry out their own education responsibility for the community. For example, hospitals should be the place for people to learn about health knowledge and law firms should be the place for people to learn of knowledge related to law. We need various organizations to open up their office space for young people (or not that young people) to tour during certain hours or over the weekends for learning purpose, or set up internship and programs for young people (or not that young people). We need various kinds of open labs and hacker space where people can learn and build stuff;
  5. Call for more comprehensive evaluation of people’s skills and capacities. For example, ability to explore and think independently is definitely an important skill. Devise tools or methodologies to make that evaluation easier for employers. The whole society needs to be more mature in how to comprehensively evaluate people’s working skills and capacities. And the internship we mentioned above is a key part of it. It would be the best if we programmers can build up some kind of crowdsourcing task distribution system and badge system that can rank people’s skills in different categories and levels according to the tasks they accomplished. At least, in some industry, that is possible.

We strongly believe that the future learning will be all about learn while play. People fully engage in playing, which means several things including improving their environment and participating in larger society. The learning part can be done by strong feeling. For that we can have meditation sessions that help people feel of themselves and things around (feel of space) with great clarity. We can also have software that help people capture their experiences and do self-reflection, at the same time build up well-structured knowledge and share that knowledge. Everyone can become a teacher, and they can teach in their spare time. Especially the barrier for teaching effectively will be extremely low for those who excel at their professions and do really possess the knowledge. We believe the future learning and teaching will be in this way. People don’t have to lock themselves up in an isolated environment for so long just for the purpose of learning. That is too industrial age. People can learn continuously and naturally in the same way they learn when they are very little: learn by play. The whole society will be the supportive comprehensive learning environment. That is our vision of future learning!

Self-learning was the reality from day one of human history, and has always been there throughout our history, even in the dark age of Compulsory Schooling. In term of accomplishing its design goal, Compulsory Schooling can be called a success. But as we enter the era of economy that calls for more explorers of knowledge and independent thinkers, we have to say to Compulsory Schooling:”Mission over. You are now dismissed!” Now it is time to bring forward the real learning. Now it is time to make human beings complete and return human beings to their full potential. In our time, instead of being choice of a few, self-learning is going to scale up to a massive level and become the mainstream way of learning. As the Compulsory Schooling was designed to prevent people from understanding the whole and thus being entrepreneurs, in this new age of economy, we need more people to be whole and be entrepreneurs. We need more people to explore social knowledge, build social products and solve social problems. It is the age about our happiness!

So together let’s bring out the true face of learning!

Let’s end with this from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”:

“Self-taught, are you?” Julian Castle asked Newt.

“Isn’t everybody?” Newt inquired.

“Very good answer.”  

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Declaration of Self-learning Version 2

For the newest version, read it here.

Here we want to recognize what we have achieved in our understanding of learning, and call for further actions to lead to future learning.

The current prevailing education model, e.g. the school classroom based education model, or so called Compulsory Schooling, has only been around for 150 years. Its design goal is to strip away human beings’ higher capacities and keep only the lowest ones, so people can work along the assembly line and be part of the assembly line. So in this education system, human beings are just a higher form of machine.(John Taylor Gatto, The Undergraduate History of American Education) But in the new era of economy, we need more people who are able to explore knowledge and think independently. The current increasingly severe crisis facing United States and other western countries lies in the fact that the far outdated education system cannot meet the needs of the new knowledge economy. So this is the era we are going to replace the old education model with the new one, one that brings out the true face of learning.

To do that, we have to think outside of the box of classroom, and think deeply what is learning and what is knowledge. We cannot turn to conventional educators for guidelines since lacking of learning experiences they only know of classrooms when it comes to learning and they tend to use all kinds of technologies to decorate their fancy classrooms. Without the concept of classroom, they are unable to think what is learning and what is knowledge. Fortunately, many years of practices and experiences from Sudbury Valley School, Summerhill and other democratic schools, from unschooling movement, and from many self-learners such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein are the real rich nutrition we can turn to. Typically, we can learn from over 40 years of practices of Sudbury Valley School, a school that has no classroom, no homework and no exams and what kids there do all day is just playing:

  • Learning is always self-directed, and children (adults too, of course) can make decisions on their own learning;

  • Children can equally participate in school matters, and if given that equal chances they participate in school matters in a rational and responsible way. Such active participation in improving their surroundings is a big part of children’s learning and is what make them complete as human beings;

  • Children can learn everything by playing. (Why? The needs of learning come from being social and playing, and they gain feedback of their learning from playing as well. Children naturally will like one thing at a time. After they have fully played and fully learned, another thing will gradually draw their interests. So they get to learn everything by playing. If they happen to find what they love to play for their whole lives, either by then they probably have tried and played many other things or they love this thing so much that they will learn everything with this thing. So no need to worry about children playing. Before children grow to full adults, their playing time should be guaranteed since that is their learning time to prepare them to become fully responsible adultsand playing is the natural way of learning);

  • Children learn in their daily lives. They don’t need to be isolated from their daily lives in order to learn. They also don’t need to be isolated from larger society for the purpose of learning;

  • No external tests should be given to children. They can evaluate themselves according to their internal goals and from their playing. Children should feel of their own space instead of let that feeling being interrupted and damaged by external tests;

  • Sudbury staff do whatever they can to help protect children’s feeling of the space: space internally and space around. For example, children shouldn’t be timed with external clock. Children’s sense of themselves shouldn’t be interfered or driven by external tests. Children feel of their inner needs of learning. Children feel of their environments and make change to that environment, evaluate that change and make further improvement. Children participate in larger social life instead of being cut off and isolated from it;

  • In addition to protecting children’s feeling of the space, sudbury staff also help make (self-) learning a little easier once learning needs arise. In summary, sudbury staff made sudbury school a comprehensive supportive learning environment;

There are many other lessons from sudbury practices. But to keep the manifesto brief, we stop here. Sudbury book Free at Last is a good book for you to read further.

So let’s have our future learning built based on these practices and experiences. Let’s expand Sudbury Model to the whole society, including adults, and make the whole society a comprehensive supportive learning environment. First, let us summarize our understanding of learning on a deep level. Especially we will summarize it in a way that helps digitize learning :

  • Learning is to shape our internal brain structure to match external world. So of course, it is both social and internal. It is never separated from real life. Learning activities are external, and they are scattered and everywhere. People engage in various activities in their daily lives to accumulate drops of experiences in various domains of knowledge over a long period of time. But learning is also very internal. Learners need to feel the space of themselves and the outside world. One needs to feel where they are and where they need to go in their learning. Self-reflection is central to one’s learning. One needs to discern what they have experienced and reflect on their experiences over a period of time;

  • Associated with the understanding above is that knowledge is flowing everywhere and has many layers. Knowledge at the bottom layer connects knowledge at the top together. People are sensing knowledge in different domains on different layers in their various activities. And once deeper knowledge is formed, it helps recall knowledge at the top when faced with new situations. Trying to make connections and forming deeper knowledge is “understanding”of knowledge;

  • Thus the basic skills of learning are breaking down (analyzing) and putting together (comprehending). Learners need to break down knowledge into various parts and sense them in various activities. Learners then need to put their drops of experiences in various activities together to achieve an understanding of the knowledge on the whole. Self-reflection is the way you practice these two basic learning skills, and through self-reflection you get to pull all the experiences in various activities together to form meaningful learning;

  • Since learning is never separated from real life, learning surely can be and should be driven by curiosity. Thus people can learn everything by playing. Thus we want people to have as much time as possible to engage in playing, and only spend the necessary time on reviewing their drops of experiences gained in playing to achieve the whole and deeper knowledge in order to play better;

  • Since real life learning is the main way of learning, the so called “informal” learning is actually the formal learning. Real life learning is the formal learning.

And we call for actions:

  • Call for Freedom of Learning: individuals should have the right to decide for themselves what to learn, how to learn, from who to learn, when to learn and where to learn;

  • Call for people who can truly bring technology and understanding of learning together. For that, software programmers need to turn to practices and experiences from Sudbury, Summerhill, and other democratic schools, and from the unschooling movement. They also need to be lifelong self-learners themselves and learn several big things in their lives and have very rich learning experiences. Only so, can we see how technology is really applied to learning and truly make the revolution happen. Especially we need to pay attention to various institutions that started to center learning around self-reflection, which is probably the major area that learning software will come from. With email, webpage, google, facebook, even with mobile internet and cloud computing, we are still at the beginning of this software revolution, which is a process of digitization of human world. We have been lingering around long enough not entering the core of that digitization. Now let’s march into the core! Let’s usher the era of consciousness software! We are all self-learners. Let’s make self-learning easier!

  • Call for people of all ages, in school or out of school already, to engage in self-learning and learning in real life. The more you can learn out of school and in real life, the less significant school will be. That is the way we make the old classroom based education model obsolete and replace it with the new one;

  • Call for all organizations to participate in making the whole society a comprehensive supportive learning environment. We need various organizations to carry out their own education responsibility for the community. For example, hospitals should be the place for people to learn about health knowledge and law firms should be the place for people to learn of knowledge related to law. We need various organizations to open up their office space for young people (or not that young people) to tour during certain hours or over the weekends for learning purpose, or set up internship and programs for young people (or not that young people). We need various open labs where people can practice and learn;

  • Call for more comprehensive evaluation of people’s skills and capacities. For example, ability to explore and think independently is definitely an important skill. Devise tools or methodologies to make that evaluation easier for employers. The whole society needs to be more mature in how to comprehensively evaluate people’s working skills and capacities. And the internship we mentioned above is a key part of it. It would be the best if we programmers can build up some kind of crowdsourcing task distribution system and badge system that can rank people’s skills in different categories and levels according to the tasks they accomplished. At least, in some industry, that is possible.

Self-learning was the reality from day one of human history, and has always been there throughout our history, even in the dark age of Compulsory Schooling. In term of accomplishing its design goal, Compulsory Schooling can be called a success. But as we enter the era of economy that calls for more explorers of knowledge and independent thinkers, we have to say to Compulsory Schooling:”Mission over. You are now dismissed!” Now it is time to bring forward the real learning. Now it time to make human beings complete and return human beings to their full potential. In our time, instead of being choice of a few, self-learning is going to scale up to a massive level and become the mainstream way of learning. As the Compulsory Schooling was designed to prevent people from understanding the whole and thus being entrepreneurs, in this new age of economy, we need more people to be whole and be entrepreneurs. We need more people to explore social knowledge, build social products and solve social problems, for example, how music should be shared and how artists can better support themselves, how seniors can live better lives, healthcare… It is the age about our happiness!

So together let’s bring out the true face of learning!

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Declaration of Self-learning Version 1

For the new version, read on this page.

Here we want to recognize what we have achieved in our understanding of learning, and call for further actions to lead to future learning.

1. The current prevailing education model, e.g. the school classroom based education model, or so called Compulsory Schooling, has only been around for 150 years. Its design goal is to strip away human beings’ higher capacities and keep only the lowest ones, so people can work along the assembly line and be part of the assembly line. So in this education system, human beings are just a higher form of machine. But in the new era of economy, we need more people who are able to explore knowledge and think independently. The current increasingly severe crisis facing United States and other western countries lies in the fact that the far outdated education system cannot meet the needs of the new knowledge economy. So this is the era we are going to replace the old education model with the new one, one that brings out the true face of learning.

2. Fortunately, many years of practices and experiences from Sudbury Valley School, Summerhill and other democratic schools, from unschooling movement, and from many self-learners such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein, tell us what is learning and what is knowledge. Typically, what sudbury practices tell us:

a) learning is always self-directed, and children (adults too, of course) can make decisions on their own learning;

b) children can equally participate in school matters, and if given that equal chances they participate in school matters in a rational and responsible way;

c) children can learn everything by playing;

d) children learn in their daily lives. They feel of their surroundings and make improvement to their surroundings;

e) no external tests should be given to children. They can evaluate themselves according to their internal goals. Children should feel of their own space instead of being interrupted by external tests;

f) sudbury staff do whatever they can to help protect children’s feeling of the space: space internally and space around. For example, children shouldn’t be timed with external clock. Children’ s sense of themselves shouldn’t be interfered or driven by external tests. Children feel of their inner needs of learning. Children feel of their environments and make change to that environment, evaluate that change and make further improvement. Children participate in larger social life instead of being cut of and isolated from it;

g) … there are many other lessons from sudbury practices. But to keep the manifesto brief, we stop here. Sudbury book Free at Last is a good book for you to read further.

3. So let’s have our future learning built based on these practices and experiences. Specifically, let’s:

a) Call for Freedom of Learning: individuals should have the right to decide for themselves what to learn, how to learn, from who to learn, when to learn and where to learn.

b) Acknowledge our understanding of learning:

i. Learning activities are external and they are scattered and everywhere. But learning is very internal. Learners need to feel the space of themselves and the outside world. Self-reflection is a vital learning skill. Learners need to pull all their learning experiences from various learning activities together to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the domain knowledge. In fact, learning is to shape our internal understanding to match external world. Of course, it is both social and internal;

ii. Since learning is scattered and everywhere, it is never separated from real life. Thus learning surely can be and should be driven by curiosity. Thus people can learn everything by playing. And they learn best by playing because at the very least the learning needs all come from playing, and that is the natural way of how learning happens;

iii. Once people start exploring knowledge, they will realize the source of knowledge is from real life. So people have to learn in real life;

iv. The so called “informal” learning is actually the formal learning. Real life learning is the formal learning.

c) Call for people who can truly bring technology and understanding of learning together. For that, software programmers need to turn to practices and experiences from Sudbury, Summerhill, and other democratic schools, and from the unschooling movement. They also need to be life long self-learners themselves and learn several big things in their lives and have very rich learning experiences. Only so, can we see how technology is really applied to learning and truly make the revolution happen. In the process of digitization of human world, we need to march into the core! Let’s usher the era of consciousness software!

Self-learning was the reality from day one of human history, and has always been there throughout human history, even in the dark age of Compulsory Schooling. In term of accomplishing its design goal, Compulsory Schooling is a success. But as we enter the era of economy that calls for more explorers of knowledge and independent thinkers, we have to say to Compulsory Schooling:”Mission over. You are now dismissed!” Now it is time to bring forward the real learning, in which self-learning is going to scale up to a massive level and become the mainstream way of learning.

So together let’s bring out the true face of learning!

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Consciousness Software

What we are building here at OSL is a kind of consciousness software, which helps people manage their consciousness.

One way to look at it, consciousness software is a deeper level of digitization of human world. As internet is transforming and affecting deeper of human society, we definitely see that the learning/education world will be fundamentally restructured.

Or you can look at it in another way, the previous waves of digitization have left people with a mess with their data. They have to go to various sites to enter their data, and the data they entered mostly don’t belong to them anymore, or at the least they don’t have any control on it. So we want to restructure internet in a way that we go back to where data come from, let people manage their own data and really “own” their data on their private storage. People choose to share that data with other people(team) or public. Once in public, companies can use that data to build their services. If that service is profitable, the data owners gain a percentage of that profit. The data owners also always own their data, which means they can take back their data if they want (depending on how they have chosen to share their data with public supposing there should be several mechanisms for choosing from).

This is the idea that Opera Unite has proposed on restructuring Internet, although they didn’t touch on the semantic part. The semantic part resembles the efforts in semantic web a little, but still quite different and simpler.

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