Monday, July 27, 2015

Learning New Knowledge-Military and Higher Education

Full knowledge development is a slow process that helps integrate and use information to solve practical problems. We learn from our environments, others, and formally through education. The process of learning takes time as we digest the information and then seek to create practical use for that knowledge.  All education, whether military or industry oriented, should be focused on eventual practical application.

From the beginning of time people have learned through their natural settings to ensure survive. As society’s complexity increases it also becomes necessary to formalize that education. Knowledge has turned to higher levels of abstraction and without internal motivation to learn much of the information is lost forever.

Successful learning moves from focusing on knowledge acquisition to application (Vogel-Walcutt, J., et. al. , 2010). Information is drawn through the senses, defined, pondered, and applied for benefit. If information is not used in some capacity its acquisition is earned at a questionable cost.  
Intelligence is the ability to gain new knowledge and skills and use that knowledge to solve practical problems. At times this may be in abstract through the use of theory but it may also be as simple as learning how to use a hammer and nails. Intelligent people work as professors, auto mechanics or anything else.

In the military the time frame for learning must be truncated to fit within a short period. Sometimes this could be a single class or as long as a few weeks. The military must teach, integrate, and then use that knowledge for benefit. The longer it takes someone to learn the less they can capitalize on such knowledge.

Higher education teaches more abstract skills that take much longer to learn. They are less focused and require a broader understanding of an industry and the world. Despite the time-frame it is still necessary to have an “end game” with that knowledge where the person can complete in life.

Learning is an essential part of being human. Those who develop to the highest states are life-long learners who thrive off of their natural intelligence. Their nature continues to seek new information and use that information to solve important problems. As the world becomes more complex both the military and higher education will need to find ways to transfer information cheaper and more efficiently than the past in ways that covert raw knowledge to practical problem-solving.  

Vogel-Walcutt, J., et. al. (2010). Increasing efficiency in military learning: theoretical considerations and practical applications. Military Psychology, 22 (3).

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