Learning and Space Mean Communication: Theories Rooting in China, India, and Europe

Learning and Space Mean Communication: Theories Rooting in China, India, and Europe

Gilbert Ahamer (Graz University, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0672-0.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter places learning into a wider context and suggests three main categories as modes of thinking: the level of facts, the level of interaction and the level of perspectives. In order to provide a fresh view, learning as such is founded on communication (in several possible forms, including non-spatial e-learning). Successful learning from an evolutionary, global view is seen as enabling realities to actually be changed cooperatively. Didactics is seen as training directed at changing perspectives. Building on a concept of space that is generated by communication, and after a survey of historic approaches to space and cognition from Asia and Europe, learning is understood to be a generic result of the manifoldness of views and perspectives. A core suggestion of this text is: “to accelerate time means to facilitate learning” and vice-versa: “learning means to accelerate time”. An approach of “meta-didactics” is proposed to lead to a competence that is capable of bridging all possible standpoints – especially in the fields of globalization, multicultural comprehension and education towards global peace.
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1. The Greater Context

The theme of this entire book covers higher education including distance education; especially regarding how leadership in both fields can be attained. In this light, the present chapter decides on an unusual approach in order to prepare a fundamental view on the foundations of education and learning.

Learning as a decisive and universal theme of human development is here fundamentally linked to several other themes serving the targets of this text in the larger sense, namely

  • (1) Global evolution – when keeping in mind that human and civilisational evolution is apparently triggered, fostered and accelerated by successful (individual and collective) learning, hence (Formula 1, Ahamer, 2010).Formula 1: Learning enhances global civilisational evolution

  • (2) Well-being and health in a holistic sense (i.e., the potential and expectable sixth Kondratieff upswing suggested among others by Nefiodow & Nefiodow, 2011) that intends cultural equilibrium and the profound satisfaction of deep human needs in a society and the healing of energy-related imbalances (Tolle, 1997, Pearl, 2001, Loyd & Johnson, 2010, Hicks & Hicks, 2006, Thích Nhất Hạnh, 2010, Montessori, 1909, Steiner, 1960, Freire, 1968, Smith, 1976, Eckhart, 1993) to the degree possible under the given physical, evolutionary, developmental and political circumstances (Formula 2). Life is perceived as an opportunity to attain personal freedom and mental wealth. This approach is by far the most effective and strongest type of learning, but will not be dealt with in this chapter. The intention is to allow for self-creation and this is exactly the approach of an educator in the stage of mastery.Formula 2: Learning is healing. Healing is learning

  • (3) Communication in the general sense of mutual exchange that opens up “spaces” of interaction and communication, which ultimately leads to autopoietic self-construction of a humanitarian community among the globe’s citizens, based on the key notion of responsibility. This thought is expressed in Formula 3.Formula 3: What can be said about “space”, can be said about “learning” as well: both are constituted by communication

The advantage of contemplating a greater context as suggested by Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 lies in the possibility of making use of the tremendously large literature and deeper understanding provided by other streams of human thinking, namely (1) developmental and evolutionary theories of humanity, (2) psychotherapy including all traditions and options for individual or collective healing and finding a well-balanced status of living and (3) human geography, including its latest developments that have recently made it a “theory exporting” branch of science.

The motivation of the present article is hence to lay the foundations for an enriched concept of didactics and learning by including both Asian and European historical and contemporary traditions of thought, including very innovative thought. Such a concept of learning should build on primordial deliberations and entities and start from scratch, building only on unquestionable primary categories of thinking.

More concretely, the aim of this chapter is to introduce a radically new theory of learning as such – based on an audacious theory of space as such. This chapter suggests applying what has been said on space also to learning – thus generating a new approach. Conclusions for Higher Education (HE) are provided – including distance education – and this is a good argument for taking into account definitions of space as such.

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