A student just asked me about a term being used in our current class, learning society. We have talked about the knowledge generation. Her question was: Aren't we a knowledge society? Not a learning society? Answering this really made me think!
We are definitely a learning society now. All of us are learning new things all the time. Gone are the days when we graduated from HS/college and never took a class again. Gone are the days when someone showed you how to do your job and then you did it for 35 years and retired. Gone are the days when a doctor gave you your diagnosis and you accepted it without question, and you looked to the doctor for all information about your issue and the treatment.
The current generation accepts all this as a given. They have never known anything else. They are constantly researching things and looking things up. They do not look to authorities as the purveyors of all knowledge. For them authorities are the people who start the process of learning something new. They would have looked at the postings which confused you and gone to the Internet and read blogs and wikis, and asked questions in forums.
The older generations are somewhere in between depending on age and outlook. They go for retrainings for new jobs/positions (grudgingly) and they do look up some things but they still look to authorities for the 'right' answer and often take in information without question.