Learning Patterns, or Lenses

Some initial ideas for “learning patterns” — building blocks that might be components of great learning experiences. After, of course, A Pattern Language.

As in APL, these patterns could operate on a few different levels, organized perhaps by scale or context. They encompass lenses for thinking about interactions with subject matter, communities of learning, the contexts or settings within which that learning happens, and more. (This concept drawn from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses.) They aren’t yet organized in any particular way, but I have an inkling they could be.

Patterns, lenses — however you want to think of these ideas listed below, they’re fragments, food for thought, unassuming but, I hope, full of potential energy for unlocking different ways of thinking.

Patterns / Lenses for Learning:

  • Rich, provocative texts
  • Directed inquiry / reading
  • Group of learners with shared goal(s)
  • Self-contained learning group
  • Network of learning groups
  • Loose institutional affiliations
  • Bibliographic edges; expanding library
  • Mixture of reading and conversation
  • Vague prompts (productive ambiguity)
  • Knowledge and question sharing
  • Alternating cycles of intake and output
  • Application of learning to projects; experimentation
  • Fractal perspective(s) on a subject
  • Acute awareness of the adjacent possible
  • Available structures of accountability
  • Malleable superstructures
  • Respectful conflict / debate
  • Adjustable cadences
  • Flexible note-taking mechanisms
  • Storehouse for the distillation and maturation of ideas
  • Evolving terrain of learning paths
  • Optionality in attentional direction
  • Time and space for deep work
  • Information hyperliteracy
  • Emergent leadership
  • Multitiered commitment levels
  • Porous subject boundaries
  • Temporary and / or local constraints
  • Cooperative exchange
  • Diversity of opinion
  • Periodic crystallization
  • Infinite access (unbounded resource pool)
  • Clarifying limits
  • Focal points for learning efforts
  • Variegated textures (of people, topics, goals, questions, answers…)