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Want to know what 75 professionals said about “UNLEARNING” in Alvin Toffler’s quote, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn?

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Although most respondents agreed to the importance of ‘unlearning’, they think that ‘unlearning’ is another form of learning. Literal ‘unlearning’ occurs only in case of brain damage!

Some of the ‘cut’ diamonds (according to me):

  1. Learning is clearly not a permanent change, otherwise we would never forget.
  2. ‘Unlearning’ is a process of learning technique rather than knowledge and concepts.
  3. It is not unlearning as much as it is relearning and establishing new neurologic paths in our brains.
  4. “Unlearning” can mean seizing the opportunity to break precedent.
  5. Unlearn? I suspect that is difficult as it would require brain neurons to atrophy and the information to literally die out in the brain.
  6. To me, unlearning is just learning a new way.
  7. Who said you can unlearn a behavior?
  8. You never un-learn, unless you sustained brain damage.
  9. Learning and change of behavior are not synonymous.
  10. I don’t think that we ‘unlearn’ any basic learning.
  11. Learning is a form of memory.
  12. You just learn new things…you don’t unlearn.
  13. Which came first, the chicken or egg?
  14. Do you really need to unlearn? Or are you just learning something new?

The entire compilation runs into 20 pages. Click here to download.

RK Prasad

CEO

Click to a view free course on positive reinforcement

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  • Interesting article.
    To me unlearning is another kind of learning where past learning does not interfere at all. Mostly past learning distorts current learning.

  • I’ll address the first five points in order.

    1. False syllogism. “Forgeting” does not mean that the memory – a pattern of neural activation, not a discrete entity with a particular location – is gone. Likewise, forgetting clearly does occur despite the fact that physiologically, memory excitation patterns appear to be permanent. There can be a number of things that are responsible for this, including neurotransmitter imbalances, disease states (cancer, Alzheimer’s), reduced metabolic efficiency (as in aging), pharmaceuticals, etc.

    2. Not quite. Learning is not a monolithic process, and includes various modes: learning that (concepts, information), learning how (technique), learning why (reasoning), learning if (modeling), and so on.

    3. Partly true. Behavioral learning occurs throughout the body – e.g., in our muscles and peripheral nervous system – not just in the sensorimotor cortices. This is sometimes referred to as embodied cognition.

    4. Mixed metaphor. “Breaking precedent” has more to do with conceptual recombination than learning as discussed here. It also involves sociocultural factors and a psychological metric known as functional fixedness, which is closely related to creativity.

    5. Inaccurate. It would involve reforming (strengthening or weakening) connections between neurons within a metanetwork of neural activation patters. All cells – including neurons – continuously die and are replaced without impacting memory.

  • It is necessary to have minimum knowledge of neuroscience to not fall in fatal ideological errors. It is not possible to unlearn. Which happens when an efficient behaviour replaces an inefficient one is that a new neural route between the reality and the resources (astrocites network) is created, only therefore the first route -the erroneous- loses capacity to transport information because the new one has more capacity and speed. Then, if you want is to eliminate an inefficient learning, the unique thing that you must do is to practice the efficient one. The question is to change to the concept e-learning by e-training.

    Santiago

    (sorry by my english)

  • Nice! Thanks for put up