Monday, 15 December 2008


I discovered the term 'Free range learning' the other day. This is an intriguing phrase.

We might suppose that at one extreme we have intensively farmed battery learners in module sized cages constructed from VLE wire.

At the other extreme we have wild learners, surviving on instinct, but unprotected from predators and sudden changes to their environment.

Free range learners have the protection of a fence, too far away for them to notice, and a farmer whose best interests are served if the learner is well-fed and happy.


Battery learners - force fed with mobility severely restricted. Lay lots of eggs. Industry thinks it wants them because they're cheap, but they leave a bad taste. Safe but miserable learners.

Wild learners - free but unsupported and vulnerable. Hard to find their eggs. Industry hasn't got time to go hunting for them. Likely to get devoured by wild animals, die of old age or perish in a harsh winter storm.

Free range learners - free to roam, but supported and protected. Blissfully unaware of their ultimate fate. Less attractive to industry due to their expensive eggs, but omelettes are tasty and satisfying.

As I let this thought exercise pan out, I can feel myself being drawn to the wild learner. However, in this bizarre parallel universe, I think I'm probably an egg farmer, and if I don't sell eggs, my family will starve.

Maybe I'll jack this egg farming malarky in, become a vegan, live in the woods and eat berries with the wild learners.

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