Think of learning as friction: in a mechanical system, there are times when friction is tolerated, even desirable - such as a drill bit.

But generally it is a sign that something is wrong, needs fixing - it is a symptom of inefficiency.

And so it is with learning: 'learning' is organisational friction. 30 years ago my first computer was a BBC micro B. It came with a stack of manuals - you needed to learn DOS. When you loaded a program there were key presses to memorise - later, odd keyboard overlays as an 'aide memoire'.

For Christmas I bought my mum an iPad - there were no manuals. Within a few minutes she was using emails, Google Maps, the Web. Learning has been designed out. 

Learning elimination is the product of good design. 

Learning elimination is the product of good design.

A while back I was reminded (by Donald Clark) of David’s Hume’s use of the term ‘impressions’ in his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and of its possible similarity to my use of ‘affective context’ in describing the process by which we learn.

The nature of postmodernism: that there is no truth, only competing stories is now so familiar that it has become cliché.

The postmodern world is a political world, a conversational world, a decidedly European world where reality is resolved through the interplay of perspectives.

So what is Twitter? Twitter is proof that the postmodern world exists at the edge of  plane – that it is the end of an era but not the end of history – the most you can accomplish in two dimensions.

Like many of us, tracking major trends in the following areas: mobile, workforce of one, micro-tasks, big data, automation, text-image, synchronous-asynchronous, networking, augmented reality, squeezed middle.

But there is a meta-trend that governs all these: granularisation. 

Non-linear systems self-organise so as to dissipate energy efficiently.

At best, half my life went by before I noticed it: that we were different.

During that time I thought talking to be sufficient: it took an age to realise that superficial similarities were just that. A full ten years passed during which all I could think was 'Why can't I make myself understood?' Far too late I realised that understanding moves at a glacial pace; that what I can say is only what can be heard. That 'understanding' is a collective noun.

What if your real job was learning elimination?

Learning is generally a sign that something hasn't been well designed. Learning is like friction - it's costly, inefficient and indicative of dysfunction. For a business, learning says 'something needs fixing here'.

The wonderful thing about an iPad is that you can give it to an 8-yr old or an 80-yr old and they don't need a manual. My first computer was the BBC Micro B. You had to program it in basic.

Thinking back over HRTech last week, the highlights of were the conversations: especially with Charles, Euan, David, Kate, Nicole and Ray.

@Euan ran an excellent session on social media - in a refreshingly conversational format - and it struck me how much people are still struggling with both the concept and the practicalities. Some of the issues (for example industry regulation) are pretty intractable - but I'd like to tackle a couple of the tractable ones.

Here’s a piece of research that might be more interesting than Ebbinghaus: students who read only summaries of chapters recalled more information than those who read entire chapters. Not 60%. Not 80%. More.

Learning is abandoning us.

Back when I was a philosophy student, one of the most talked-about books was Douglas Hofstadter’s The Mind’s I – fantasies and reflections on Self & Soul. First published in 1981 it consists of a set of thought-experiments that tend to make you unsure of some of your most fundamental beliefs.