The Learning Galaxy© represents the dynamic relationship between the primary drivers or forces of learning. All learning is experiential; even cognitive reflection still occurs within someone’s unique experience. Learning is not limited to a linear path; rather, it occurs through an organic, ever-changing relationship between four primary drivers or forces. These forces interact with and influence each other in combinations and permutations, depending on the context of the experience. It is called a Galaxy because the elements are locked in a gravitational orbit to one another, always influencing the other, but waning and strengthening their influence depending on their proximity. Any distinct constellation of these elements, set within a specific context, will result in a particular learning within a unique individual.

There is no linear progression to the variables, and their dynamic relationship is as important as the variables themselves. Humans are simply too complex for any of the variables to progress in linear fashion, or for any to exist or act in isolation. They need to be considered as a system, each influencing the other. The influence of any one element is constantly changing, depending on the weight and proximity of the variables to one another.

The application of The Learning Galaxy© is to move learning design and delivery past the conversations around particular learning styles–which still have a place–and past the artificial demarcation between ‘adult’ and ‘other’ educational principles, and move toward a more holistic view of the human learning experience. It is hoped that this more inclusive perspective can lead to deeper design, more engaging and meaningful experiences, and stronger, more beneficial and sustainable learning. The key drivers of learning within The Learning Galaxy© are Ownership, Authorship, Relationship and Mentorship.

The learner owns her learning goals and the processes to achieve them.

Understands ‘What is in it for me?’ (WIIFM)
Understands ‘why’ this needs to be experienced and learned (which may include, but is broader than WIIFM)
Learning is accelerated and the individual’s inner resources are marshalled when she owns her own learning; when she believes that the goals of that learning will benefit her and/or the world around her; and when she takes and/or shares responsibility for the processes of that learning. On some level, she has to have the belief or hope that this lesson is worth the investment of her limited time and energy, and will result in a better future. Hope is not too grandiose a word, although she may not articulate it like that. When she loses hope that her efforts can make a difference, she consciously and unconsciously will not, and cannot, expend the effort required to learn, grow and change. Without a sense of hope, learning cannot happen except at the most basic level and only for a short time. With hope, learning can happen at the most profound level over long periods of time.

The ‘gravitational’ pull of Ownership within The Learning Galaxy© is as a catalytic agent. Strong Ownership brings life to the other forces and provides lift and power to their direction. Conversely, weak Ownership creates drag and diffuses power away from their direction.

By Don Jones