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Thinking vs. Learning - What's the difference?

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  • Dennis Heindl
    I am looking for help understanding the difference between Thinking and Learning. NOBODY seems to know, including University Professors. When I ask people,
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 27, 2007
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      I am looking for help understanding the difference between Thinking and
      Learning. NOBODY seems to know, including University Professors. When I
      ask people, the most common response I get is: "When you learn you think .
      and when you think you learn". While that is absolutely true, it seems to
      imply there is no difference



      Even the Britannica dictionary seems to lack clarity (particularly for
      THINK). Think: To have in mind or call to mind; To reflect on; To exercise
      the power of judgment, inference or conception; To form a mental picture; To
      consider something. Learn: To gain knowledge or understanding, To come to
      know; To fix in the mind or memory; memorize .



      Here is what I think the difference is:



      Learning: Is about acquiring a critical mental mass of raw material (data,
      information, knowledge and wisdom) that is required for effective thinking
      to occur.



      Thinking: Is about applying cognitive tools (questions, thought processes,
      mental triggers) upon learning to produce ideas, solutions, understandings
      and new ways of thinking.



      Thank you for responses.



      Dennis



      Dennis J. Heindl

      Nth Degree Software, Inc.

      8819 Glenwood Dr.

      Greendale WI 53139

      414-529-1878

      <http://www.nthdegreesoft.com/> www.nthdegreesoft.com

      Mentoring Technology ... To Enhance Thinking Abilities





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dennis Heindl
      Angela, Thank you. Yes, that is the common belief. I think that when thinking and learning are defined to be the same, that thinking gets short-changed. I
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 28, 2007
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        Angela,



        Thank you. Yes, that is the common belief. I think that when thinking and
        learning are defined to be the same, that "thinking" gets short-changed. I
        believe, if learning gets defined as gathering data/information and thinking
        as defined as applying learning that it opens the door to finding new ways
        to enhance people's natural "thinking" abilities.



        Dennis



        Dennis J. Heindl

        Nth Degree Software, Inc.

        8819 Glenwood Dr.

        Greendale WI 53139

        414-529-1878

        <http://www.nthdegreesoft.com/> www.nthdegreesoft.com

        Mentoring Technology ... To Enhance Thinking Abilities





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Kamran Niazi
        Denis, I support your view, had expressed it differently though kamran ... Get your own web address. Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business. [Non-text
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 28, 2007
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          Denis,

          I support your view, had expressed it differently though

          kamran


          ---------------------------------
          Get your own web address.
          Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business.

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Kamran Niazi
          Denis, I support your view, had expressed it differently though kamran ... Get your own web address. Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business. [Non-text
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 28, 2007
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            Denis,

            I support your view, had expressed it differently though

            kamran


            ---------------------------------
            Get your own web address.
            Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Andy Roberts
            ... I would take a wider view of learning to include the aquisition of competencies by a number of means which includes but is not restricted to deliberate
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 28, 2007
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              On 28/03/07, Dennis Heindl <dj@...> wrote:
              >
              > Thank you. Yes, that is the common belief. I think that when thinking and
              > learning are defined to be the same, that "thinking" gets short-changed. I
              > believe, if learning gets defined as gathering data/information and thinking
              > as defined as applying learning that it opens the door to finding new ways
              > to enhance people's natural "thinking" abilities.
              >
              I would take a wider view of learning to include the aquisition of
              competencies by a number of means which includes but is not restricted
              to deliberate inetellectual activity.

              For example learning through practice, repetition and training would
              not normally be considered to be thinking but you can't learn how to
              ride a bicycle or play an instrument by thinking about it.

              --
              Andy Roberts

              http://distributedresearch.net/blog/
              http://pajamanation.co.uk
            • P Stubbs
              Dennis, What a great question – grabbed me at the get-go. So… I’m going to try to put this as concisely as I can so I can deal with it properly. For me,
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 28, 2007
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                Dennis,

                What a great question – grabbed me at the get-go. So…

                I’m going to try to put this as concisely as I can so I can deal with it properly.

                For me, learning is the process of incorporating information into an existing conceptual mental map while possibly adjusting that same map to accommodate the new input to form knowledge (think constructivism). If the information is new to the learner, then it may reinforce an existing map element, it may require a new map element, or it may contribute to the elimination of an existing map element. Under this concept, learning could also accomplish the same three alternatives with only the relationships among existing elements. Most likely, learning involves bits of all the above in varying degree.

                I can’t improve on your description of thinking as in your post.

                Hope this helps in some small way.

                Regards,

                Pat Stubbs
                San Jose, CA


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Peter Ruwoldt
                An interesting audio about this is at http://www.alanwatts.com/ra/OP_Thinking.mp3 He basically states that thinking is about representing the world using
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 29, 2007
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                  An interesting audio about this is at
                  http://www.alanwatts.com/ra/OP_Thinking.mp3
                  He basically states that thinking is about representing the world using
                  symbols and so is abstract. I think that he is saying that learning can
                  happen without thinking. Pavlov demonstrated that dogs are able to learn
                  to salivate at the sound of a bell.
                  Peter

                  P Stubbs wrote:
                  > Dennis,
                  >
                  > What a great question – grabbed me at the get-go. So…
                  >
                  > I’m going to try to put this as concisely as I can so I can deal with it properly.
                  >
                  > For me, learning is the process of incorporating information into an existing conceptual mental map while possibly adjusting that same map to accommodate the new input to form knowledge (think constructivism). If the information is new to the learner, then it may reinforce an existing map element, it may require a new map element, or it may contribute to the elimination of an existing map element. Under this concept, learning could also accomplish the same three alternatives with only the relationships among existing elements. Most likely, learning involves bits of all the above in varying degree.
                  >
                  > I can’t improve on your description of thinking as in your post.
                  >
                  > Hope this helps in some small way.
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  >
                  > Pat Stubbs
                  > San Jose, CA
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > to unsubscribe: <mailto:onlinefacilitation-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com>
                  >
                  > http://www.fullcirc.com/community/communitymanual.htm
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  --
                  Free and Open education for all

                  Peter Ruwoldt
                  Grant High School
                  Hosking Avenue
                  MOUNT GAMBIER SA 5290

                  P. 08 87263107 (Do not leave voice mail)
                  F. 08 87250173

                  ruwoldtp@...
                  http://www.watiwara.com/
                • Dennis Heindl
                  There seems to be a lot of initiatives to improve education and learning . BUT not many, if any, initiatives to improve thinking. Here is an analogy on why I
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 29, 2007
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                    There seems to be a lot of initiatives to improve education and learning .
                    BUT not many, if any, initiatives to improve "thinking. Here is an analogy
                    on why I think it is important to understand the difference between learning
                    and thinking.



                    In the process of learning, students are generally first taught
                    data/facts/information. To reinforce learning, the teacher usually then asks
                    "questions" about what was taught. It is these "questions" that become the
                    instruments or TOOLS of thinking. With a tools distinction, people can now
                    start to develop the right "cognitive tools" to enhance: creative thinking,
                    systems thinking, planning, decision making, problem solving, etc. In some
                    respects, it would follow the same principal of using any "manual tool"
                    (hammer, saw): Choose the (mental) tool appropriate for the task at hand.



                    Dennis J. Heindl

                    Nth Degree Software, Inc.

                    8819 Glenwood Dr.

                    Greendale WI 53139

                    414-529-1878

                    <http://www.nthdegreesoft.com/> www.nthdegreesoft.com

                    Mentoring Technology ... To Enhance Thinking Abilities





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • LaDonna Coy
                    Hi Dennis, I m fairly new to this list and grateful for your questions. I went to my trusty visual thesaurus (see attached images of the words think and learn
                    Message 9 of 10 , Mar 29, 2007
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                      Hi Dennis,

                      I'm fairly new to this list and grateful for your questions. I went to my
                      trusty visual thesaurus (see attached images of the words think and learn
                      and see the interesting connections or lack thereof). Enjoy!

                      Maybe the differences being so unclear would explain why (at least in my
                      experience) most people divert the conversation to cognition (plus
                      "thinking" seems to be the predominate western way). The conversations I am
                      usually engaged in begin when we talk about training. If we train people
                      have they learned? How do we know they have learned? Does learning imply a
                      change in action/behavior? or in our thinking? or both? At some point we
                      usually ask ourselves . . . "and what do we hope people learn as a result of
                      the training?" Then people go into learning objectives aka training
                      objectives using the usual verbs that describe behavior (althought the list
                      I most often refer to does not include the terms "learn" or "think" (sigh).
                      (Active Training, M. Silberman).

                      I wonder, what are our underlying assumptions about thinking, learning and
                      the fit with training, education? Your comments made pause to consider what
                      I think (grin) I know about thinking and learning. (chuckle)

                      I couldn't seem to come up with a rational description . . . so here's what
                      did come to me (grin).
                      To me, thinking is like chess . . . while learning is like sailing. Your
                      thoughts (grin)?

                      LaDonna

                      LaDonna Coy, MHR, CPS, CDLA
                      Virtual Learning & Prevention Consultant
                      Applying Technology for Learning and Positive Change
                      117 Jill Way � Clinton, OK 73601
                      (580) 309-3382 (cell)
                      (580) 323-1195 (Clinton Ofc)
                      (918) 473-6789 (Checotah Ofc)
                      Skype: ladonnacoy
                      coyenator@...


                      On 27 Mar 2007 18:08:42 -0700, Dennis Heindl <dj@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I am looking for help understanding the difference between Thinking and
                      > Learning. NOBODY seems to know, including University Professors. When I
                      > ask people, the most common response I get is: "When you learn you think .
                      > and when you think you learn". While that is absolutely true, it seems to
                      > imply there is no difference
                      >
                      > Even the Britannica dictionary seems to lack clarity (particularly for
                      > THINK). Think: To have in mind or call to mind; To reflect on; To exercise
                      > the power of judgment, inference or conception; To form a mental picture;
                      > To
                      > consider something. Learn: To gain knowledge or understanding, To come to
                      > know; To fix in the mind or memory; memorize .
                      >
                      > Here is what I think the difference is:
                      >
                      > Learning: Is about acquiring a critical mental mass of raw material (data,
                      > information, knowledge and wisdom) that is required for effective thinking
                      > to occur.
                      >
                      > Thinking: Is about applying cognitive tools (questions, thought processes,
                      > mental triggers) upon learning to produce ideas, solutions, understandings
                      > and new ways of thinking.
                      >
                      > Thank you for responses.
                      >
                      > Dennis
                      >
                      > Dennis J. Heindl
                      >
                      > Nth Degree Software, Inc.
                      >
                      > 8819 Glenwood Dr.
                      >
                      > Greendale WI 53139
                      >
                      > 414-529-1878
                      >
                      > <http://www.nthdegreesoft.com/> www.nthdegreesoft.com
                      >
                      > Mentoring Technology ... To Enhance Thinking Abilities
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >



                      --
                      LaDonna Coy, MHR, CPS, CDLA
                      Virtual Learning & Prevention Consultant
                      Applying Technology for Learning and Positive Change
                      117 Jill Way � Clinton, OK 73601
                      (580) 309-3382 (cell)
                      (580) 323-1195 (Clinton Ofc)
                      (918) 473-6789 (Checotah Ofc)
                      Skype: ladonnacoy
                      coyenator@...

                      "A paradigm shift occurs when a question is asked inside the current
                      paradigm that can only be answered from outside it."
                      --Marilee Goldbert, The Art of the Question

                      "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change
                      something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
                      --Buckminster Fuller


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • LaDonna Coy
                      Oops. Here s the visual thesaurus images of the words think and learn . LaDonna coyenator@gmail.com ... -- LaDonna Coy, MHR, CPS, CDLA Distance Learning &
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 29, 2007
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                        Oops. Here's the visual thesaurus images of the words "think" and "learn".

                        LaDonna
                        coyenator@...

                        On 27 Mar 2007 18:08:42 -0700, Dennis Heindl <dj@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I am looking for help understanding the difference between Thinking and
                        > Learning. NOBODY seems to know, including University Professors. When I
                        > ask people, the most common response I get is: "When you learn you think .
                        > and when you think you learn". While that is absolutely true, it seems to
                        > imply there is no difference
                        >
                        > Even the Britannica dictionary seems to lack clarity (particularly for
                        > THINK). Think: To have in mind or call to mind; To reflect on; To exercise
                        > the power of judgment, inference or conception; To form a mental picture;
                        > To
                        > consider something. Learn: To gain knowledge or understanding, To come to
                        > know; To fix in the mind or memory; memorize .
                        >
                        > Here is what I think the difference is:
                        >
                        > Learning: Is about acquiring a critical mental mass of raw material (data,
                        > information, knowledge and wisdom) that is required for effective thinking
                        > to occur.
                        >
                        > Thinking: Is about applying cognitive tools (questions, thought processes,
                        > mental triggers) upon learning to produce ideas, solutions, understandings
                        > and new ways of thinking.
                        >
                        > Thank you for responses.
                        >
                        > Dennis
                        >
                        > Dennis J. Heindl
                        >
                        > Nth Degree Software, Inc.
                        >
                        > 8819 Glenwood Dr.
                        >
                        > Greendale WI 53139
                        >
                        > 414-529-1878
                        >
                        > <http://www.nthdegreesoft.com/> www.nthdegreesoft.com
                        >
                        > Mentoring Technology ... To Enhance Thinking Abilities
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >



                        --
                        LaDonna Coy, MHR, CPS, CDLA
                        Distance Learning & Prevention Consultant
                        Applying Technology for Positive Change
                        117 Jill Way � Clinton, OK 73601
                        (580) 309-3382 (cell)
                        (580) 323-1195 (Clinton Ofc)
                        (918) 473-6789 (Checotah Ofc)
                        Skype: ladonnacoy
                        coyenator@...

                        "A paradigm shift occurs when a question is asked inside the current
                        paradigm that can only be answered from outside it."
                        --Marilee Goldbert, The Art of the Question

                        "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change
                        something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
                        --Buckminster Fuller


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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