Succeed with learning
Succeed with learning

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Succeed with learning

2 Thinking about someone else’s ideas

Figure 4 Peter Jarvis

If a topic is interesting it will usually attract people to think and write about it. This certainly applies to the topic of learning. This course will introduce you to some of the theories about the ways in which we learn.

When you are studying, it is generally a good idea to read about what other people have already thought about the subject, to help you develop your own opinion in an informed way.

If you are not used to reading about theories, this may feel a bit tricky at first. So just have a go, and then read the comment below each activity – this might stimulate more thoughts.

The first theory to think about was written by Peter Jarvis (Figure 4). Peter Jarvis is an academic who has spent many years writing about why he thinks learning is so important. In the opening to one book, he writes:

Learning is like food, ingest it and it will enrich the whole human being: unlike food, it is difficult to have too much … the processes of learning are a fundamental stimulus to life itself.

(Jarvis, 2006, p. 3)

Jarvis compares learning with food. Do you think that this is a fair comparison? Do you think that if people do not learn, they will die?

At first, this seems a rather unbelievable thing to say. However, when you consider that if people fail to learn about things that are dangerous, like hot objects or speeding cars, they may put themselves at considerable risk.

Activity 3 What do you think?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes for this activity.

When you have read about someone’s ideas, it is a good idea to step back for a while and have a think about what they might be really saying and whether you agree with them. So read the next sentence and jot down your thoughts.

What do you think Jarvis means when he says that learning is a ‘fundamental stimulus to life’?

Note down your thoughts in your learning journal.

Discussion

Here, Jarvis seems to say that learning can make life stimulating – more satisfying and interesting. It is what keeps us going forward in our lives, perhaps encouraging us to seek new experiences.

Do you agree?

SWL_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371