Learners are doers, not recipients

The title of the post is a quote by Walter J. Ong from “McLuhan as Teacher: The Future Is a Thing of the Past” and it’s also the first sentence in an excellent article on Wikipedia, learning and the internet in general running right now on The Awl.

Here’s the thesis from the piece’s first paragraph:

If learners are indeed doers and not recipients, from whom are they learning? From one another, it appears; same as it ever was.

Please read the whole thing and then go contribute an edit, link or talk discussion to Wikipedia.

Likewise, if you have trouble starting along the path of creation, tune-in to episode #20 of Back To Work (S01E20) “Muscle of Failure” and fast forward to 22:30.

The money quotes, for me:

“The tips and tricks are going to be super-useful once you know enough to apply them – in the context of having had some experience – but until you’ve had some experience, it’s really hard to make that useful. When what you really want to say to somebody is, ‘You’ve just got to get started.'”


“With whatever you do, whether it’s meditation or starting a business or exercising or whatever, it really helps to talk to other people or to do that thing around other people.”

So, since I’m a fan of Wikipedia, a user of it’s information and a contributor to its stores of knowledge, it’s a good model. I should be doing it more.

I should be doing a lot of things more and more often, not the least of which is writing and blogging is a type of writing so there you go.

Enjoy both the article and the podcast and then go do something about it.

Hate Wikipedia? Become a contributor.
Want to write more often (*raises hand*)? Blog about something and I’ll stop by to leave you a comment.
Want to start running? I can help there too.

Anyhow, I’m just feeling positive about my own abilities and output and there’s no time like the present to jump right in. Let’s learn something together! Let’s fail faster? Let’s DO SOMETHING!

Happy Wednesday!

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