Episode 4: Creating change through informal learning communities

In this fourth episode I speak with Vince Horn, co-founder of the popular podcastshow Buddhist Geeks. He’s also a teacher in the Insight Meditation Tradition, in addition to being an explorer of what he calls Pragmatic Dharma. Besides talking about geeky Buddhist stuff, we delve into the idea of informal learning communities, and how – together with web-based technology – this type of endeavor can facilitate individual and collective learning and development.



Episode Links:

Buddhist Geeks Website
Pragmatic Dharma
Kevin Kelly
Kenneth Folk
Daniel Ingram
Hokai Sobol
Ken Wilber
Insight Meditation Tradition

For the English people out there wondering about what the heck “Levevei” means – read this!

James Alexander Arnfinsen (redaktør)
James Alexander Arnfinsen (34) er lærer og arbeider i Osloskolen. Han har bred erfaring innenfor dialogbasert prosessledelse, nærværstrening og konflikthåndtering. Ta kontakt med James på følgende adresse: james.arnfinsen @ gmail.com
James Alexander Arnfinsen (redaktør)
James Alexander Arnfinsen (34) is a teacher, his subjects being geography, religious studies and sports science. He is currently working as a teacher in Oslo, Norway. In his spare time he practices Aikido, a Japanese martial art.
  • http://twitter.com/shamansun shamansun

     This was a great conversation. Left quite a bit to think about concerning the struggle for bottom-up networks to make a critical breakthrough: including the importance of “traditional” forms of knowledge while still allowing for the network to thrive. It reminds me of the very structure of a forest: we have tall trees that reach up for the sky, vertically, and then a sprawl of interconnected roots, branches and micro-ecologies therein. Can we model the architecture of informal learning successfully after nature? 

    • James Arnfinsen

      I really like your metaphor about vertical growth and horizontal growth. I always find it amazing how vivid pictures can paint pictures of complex topics! I came to think about Michael Pawlyns Ted Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QZp6smeSQA 

  • Anonymous

     Thanks for this fluent interview James! I listened to it while doing 6 weeks’ worth of ironing – my least favourite chore, so it made the task so much more enjoyable.
    I was interested in the idea of the pros and cons of formal and informal learning. In my field (cognitive behavioural therapy) formal learning is certainly importnat, eg the diploma course I have just finished. It delivers up to date content and monitors results to agreed standards. But just as much learning goes on in other fields, eg my supervision. And there is a sliding scale of informailty/formality, eg I have a relatively formal one to one supervision with an ‘expert’ who also acts as a reference/check in terms of professional standards. But I also have some less formal supervision with colleagues (peer supervision) from which I learn different things, and I’m able to be more ‘myself’. The question was posed in the programme ‘How to make informal learning get the benefits of formal learning’ (that’s not a direct quote!) but I wonder whether that is (a) possible and (b) desirable. Once the informal learning becomes more formal then it gains something but also loses something – it’s informality quotient! I would prefer to have the model of playing part in a variety of learning communities alongside each other, each of which bring their unique benefits (and drawbacks). Does this make sense? (Or maybe I misunderstood the point being made!)

    • James Arnfinsen

      Yeah, this makes sense to me. Like Vince Horn commented, there is a value in “transcending and including”, meaning that we should probably do more than just walking the formal road, but without tossing the baby out with bathwater! I find it reassuring to know that your field seems to include both and I’m glad to here that our conversation helped you in your ironing.Thank you for sharing your thoughts!