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Uncertain Times or Uncertainty at Times!

Learning in a Predictably Unpredictable World.

Amid an unpredictable pandemic, further burdened with an unfortunate lockdown, heartening to observe the resource mobilization efforts of  communities,  startups  and organizations. And the multi purpose digitalization interventions at our homes and work.

A study by Yale scientists in 2018, pointed out that our learning is not fixed but adapts to the stability of the environment. We learn more from indefinite situations. In essence, uncertainty promotes learning, while stability can make us complacent, hence will not teach us anything.

This research appears to be relevant in the present context.

First, the acknowledgment by schools, students and parents that if going to school is not possible at this time- then the next best option available for students is to access online education. Fortunately the burgeoning of the ‘world wide web’ and technology has never been more accessible than it is today. Creditable to see educators propagating online classes and connected learning with the belief that people can acquire knowledge from anywhere. And this supports the research that we learn from an uncertain environment. 

Also it is interesting to note how teachers are familiarizing themselves to be technologically savvy-so students walk away with meaningful learning experience.While online learning and connecting, may not replace a classroom, after all formal education is here to stay, both today and in the foreseeable future, when the options are few, our decisions need to be based on alternatives. Yes, if going to school is not a possibility then going virtual is. 

Second, the agile entrepreneurs who have reacted to this instability by developing innovative services, compelling products and consumer led solutions which are useful for our immediate consumption. Helping people solve real- life problems and finding solutions for seamless running of homes, hospitals, organizations and schools. Many of them knowing perfectly well, that their innovations may not sit on top of increasingly crowded spaces, yet they are going ahead and scaling up. 

Third, organizations have been proactive in their decision making, responding responsibly to relevant regulations and changes. They are ensuring that there is no disruption in the supply chain, encouraging the concept of work from home and continuing to invest in people. These companies are cognizant of the fact that in order to build trust, this is their opportunity to communicate with customers and ensure the safety and well being of their employees. 

Watch what is happening in the online learning space, employees realize that they have little choice but to evolve continuously. They recognize that there will be a premium for those employees who intentionally navigate their career by adapting to new skills. Further they understand the urgency of innovations in the current instability. Precisely what they are doing-learning. 

As Yale neuroscientist Daeyeol Lee told Quartz, ’Our brains are not learning all the time, instead the brain determines whether learning is necessary in a given situation, and if so, what kind of learning is most beneficial. When situations are predictable, the brain doesn’t need to do as much. When circumstances are changing, it works harder.’ Perhaps this is what is happening right now. The instability has strengthened us with additional insights.

Finally, despite the fact that this crisis has been overwhelming and slated to impact the global economy for years to come-many believe it is a black swan event- what will matter in history, will be the learning from this adversity. The collective response and the ‘people perseverance during this ongoing chaos.

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