Scholarship of Learning (again)

Last February I wrote a blog about the Scholarship of Learning. I had no idea how out on the edge this was. I have talked to a number of people, made presentations, and pitched the idea over and over. I have been surprised by the reception. “Of course we should have a scholarship of learning”, or “As psychologists, we have a branch called learning”, or “We already know about learning”. Not what I expected.

Today I entered the term in a famous search engine (Goggled) and had almost 80 million hits – not surprised. However, when scrolling through them, they are almost all associated with the scholarship of teaching and learning. Willox and Lackeyram (2009) began to address the scholarship of learning, but in a constrained manner. How People Learn (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000) begins the discussion, but it hasn’t really evolved. There are numerous journal articles in the psychological domain that address aspects of the scholarship of learning, but there isn’t really an established body that makes a systematic study and analysis of the literature. Instead, we have 79,000,000 hits about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) – focusing almost exclusively on “best practice in teaching”.

Where is the scholarship of learning? Where is the focus on how students, at any level of learning, acquire knowledge, skills or experience in a formal setting?

Education, or schooling, is not going anywhere soon. The revolutions in pedagogy aren’t really happening, just some evolution. How can we embed the scholarship of learning into the curriculum of every education or teacher training department in the world? When are we going to require our budding teachers to have prerequisite knowledge about how people learn? When is the scholarship of teaching going to begin relying on the scholarship of learning?

Done ranting.

How have we made something as exhilarating as learning, as oppressive as education?


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