Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

The role of uncertainty in learning

We already know uncertainty impacts our life, but what impact does it have on learning?

”The origin of thinking is some perplexity, confusion, or doubt.” (John Dewey)

Learning and thinking are intrinsically connected. The fact thoughts originate a certain state of doubt, hesitation, perplexity – state of uncertainty – and induce a self-searching sense to resolve this uncertainty, is what Dewey refers to reflective thinking.

This conflict generated by the state of uncertainty experienced while learning can be disruptive, and cognitively demanding, but with the right mindset, it can work as the genesis of knowledge.

The adjustments you make under the disequilibrium experienced in a state of uncertainty is what gives meaning to any learning process. It is what makes it exciting in the first place. Therefore, without elements of uncertainty, learning can be tedious.

The discomfort of uncertainty motivates us to change what we know and believe in bringing our cognitive learning closer to reality, converting it to experiential learning with genuine learning experiences.

Under uncertainty in learning, you’re more involved in the process, and this favors a greater awareness of what you learn, making it a rewarding experience.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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