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The Physics of Learning Online
The Physics of Learning Online

The Physics of Learning Online

In a Real Time World, is Education Fractal?

Fractals give us a new way to think about learning. This proposal by Teemu Arina says that the Internet has introduced connections and real-time access to information and in so doing has created fractal networks of information:

"As you approach a new topic, you start from a fuzzy idea of what it could be. As it comes into focus, new details expose themselves on the fringes, enabling you to discover even more interesting perspectives you were not aware beforehand.... When considering learning, we are pattern recognizers. Just like fractals, our neural networks evolve over time and extend outside of us. As our environment changes, so do we.  As we process information, in addition to entropy, new patterns emerge. By increasing the ammount of information, you increase the possibility of new patterns to be recognized by people.

In the digital world, entropy is information overload and order is the pattern that emerges from the interconnection of such information. Knowledge is like a hologram. In holograms, even smaller pieces of it include the picture of the whole object...The experience changes as your point of view towards the object changes. The knowledge is not in a single image, but distributed on a network.

This is pattern recognition. And it’s the culmination of fractal learning."

Its an intriguing way to think of learning. At the very least it reminds us that linear approaches to designing learning experiences are less effective in a world where content is 'always on' and accessible at any time.

In the age of real-time: The complex, social, and serendipitous learning offered via the Web

View more documents from Teemu Arina.
doug thompson
The Physics of Learning Online

doug thompson

Doug Thompson is CEO of Remedy which he founded a decade or so ago with a couple of old laptops and one of those fax machines with curling paper. Doug keeps a pulse on innovation and on maintaining the team-based culture that has allowed Remedy to grow from that modest start.