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  • Writer's pictureAtish Gonsalves

The ingredients of slow learning – practice, collaboration. And time.

We live in an age of information overload, ever-accelerating technologies, and split-second learning. How might we slow down in this sped-up society to make learning a more human experience?

Atish Gonsalves, Founder of Gamoteca, contributed an essay to this collaborative book on Slow Learning curated by the ITCILO. The book draws inspiration and ideas from the Slow Food movement.


Technology can be a wonderful thing, and it has helped us democratise knowledge across the globe. For many, this has meant access to bite-size learning content that is easily digestible and fast-paced.

Just like with other digital content (books, podcasts, inspiring talks), there can be good and bad learning content. Content can inspire and provide a solid foundation on a topic. Or content can be unengaging and an imperfect adaptation of another medium.

In either case, I would suggest that content (good or bad) is not learning. For the magic of learning to happen, we need to bring the content to life through a combination of practice, collaboration and feedback cycles.

While content can be consumed in a fast-paced manner, the practice, collaboration and feedback cycles take time. According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in any field. This involves goal-setting, feedback, and countless cycles to improve skills and achieve mastery.

Scientists have also started to establish a critical link between sleep cycles and learning, and how the human brain takes time to process and consolidate newly acquired information. This reinforces the need to build deliberate moments of reflection and time to process and internalise the learning.

Perhaps then, like Aristotle, we may discover how learning and wondering can bring us pleasure. It may just take time..


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