Knowledge Engine based on Significant Experiences

 Basic Elements

  • Significant Experiences
    Significant Experiences(SEs) are regarded by us as the basic units of knowledge, like cells in biological creatures. Significant Experiences are like Ray Kurzweil’s “Qualia”(Consciousness Experiences). SEs have self-vote of importance and usefulness vote by others, which are like the weights in biological neural networks.
  • Frames
    The basic relation btw knowledge is “containing”. Frame is the embodiment of such “containing” relation, it constructs life centers at the higher level and is capable to engage in large parallel computation and pattern recognition.
  • Tags
    Tag establish connections btw knowledge (like synapses rewiring)
  • TagTrees
    Tag Tree is to extract out abstract knowledge structure or patterns (we think it is better to use Life Centers instead of patterns) through SEs.
  • WorkingSets
    For a period of time, you can focus on working in a certain WorkingSet, which is a set of tags in KE.
  • Caches
    When working with a lot of SEs, cache helps to store some SE ids temporarily.
  • Folders
    Dynamic folders that retrieve SEs by pre-configured search terms.

 Structured Knowledge on top of SEs

  • Learning Areas
    Learning Area is a large domain of learning, such as Software Programming. It automatically collects your SEs and structured knowledge in an area for knowledge display and discovery.
  • Learning Groups
    Learning Groups are groups of learners who are interested in the same topic of learning. Some users in the group can have some teaching roles.
  • Learning Salons
    Learning activities organized based on knowledge structures from learning groups.
  • Learning Plans
    Regular plans (weekly and monthly) and reviews, together with scheduled reminders, forming good learning habits.
  • Workflows
    Workflows to work with lists of SEs to accomplish learning and thinking processes. Workflows can be shared to spread good learning methods.

 Core functions and beliefs

  • Quick capture of SEs in various contexts
    Quickly note down SEs at the moment without interrupting current work in hands. Various contexts can be automatically appended to the SEs.
  • Quick and flexible display of SEs and knowledge
    Knowledge at your fingertips.
  • Cultivation of self-reflection skills
    Self-reflection makes consciousness grow, from drops of SEs to understanding of the whole.
  • Learning or thinking accomplished through simple editing
    Learning or thinking can be done in layers and steps, so it can be transformed into many short steps of simple editing operations, making it a highly efficient process with minimum thinking. One task a time, zoom in.
  • Workflows helps you learn and think efficiently
    Learning and thinking workflows can be configured and shared.
  • Learning Plans cultivate good learning habits
    Weekly plans, monthly plans, yearly plans. Reviews and stats.
  • Visualization of knowledge and brain
    No Thinking!
  • Smooth transitioning btw learning and teaching. Teach effectively
    Rendering of one’s knowledge and instructing in a finer grain.
  • Generating knowledge of conventional forms smoothly
    wiki, pdf, ppt/slide, blog, book, and so on
  • Powering and transforming various types of knowledge related activities
    Knowledge is flowing in all kinds of activities, and all have “Learning Embedded”.
  • Knowledge needs to be applied, and knowledge is everywhere
    Knowledge formed from KE can be shared to various social networking sites with one click, with url to reference back and interact.

 Ideas behind and Design Concerns/Challenges

  • Engine in the knowledge era
    As the engine in the industrial age powers automobiles, ships, airplanes, and razors, the engine in the knowledge era powers learning, teaching, blog writing, paper publication, book writing, project management and so on.
  • Instill wisdom into the machine from the human crowd
    By taking drops of wisdom from billions of human beings, the machine can have intelligence, like PageRank provides search service by absorbing the wisdom of the crowd.
  • Fragmented Learning
    Fragmented Learning is the truth of real life learning. Learning should never be separated from life and from play. KE makes it easier for everyone to learn while play.
  • Self-Directed Learning or Selflearning
    There is no learning other than Self-Directed Learning or Selflearning.
  • Understanding of Consciousness
    Our understanding of consciousness,how this understanding applies to the design of KE,and similarity with Ray Kurzweil’s PRTM. Briefly,consciousness is hierarchical lists on top of SEs.
  • About tags
    The flexibility of tags and how to manage it. Tag Tree represents abstract knowledge structure, and it can be applied to the KE itself, thus fulfilling a self-reference system.

 Current knowledge produced (in progress)

  • Application of abstract knowledge
    Abstract patterns (life centers) can be extracted from SEs, and these patterns can again be used in various learning areas. Such as Life Framework applied to Learningapplied to Educationapplied to Consciousnessapplied to Soccer. Abstract knowledge can even be applied to the KE itself. For example, you can configure the system root knowledge. Such root knowledge can be applied to your newly generated learning area. KE itself has a lot of internal structure built based on its self-produced knowledge. KE is a self-reference system
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The Elements of a Selflearning Platform

Learning can happen in real life. Learning can also happen in a specially designed learning environment.

No matter whether it is Real Life Learning or artificial learning environment, as for learning, it is essentially about what activities to do and what experiences to generate and how to work with those experiences. Activities (including projects as in project-based learning) and experiences are the life centers in such learning environments (see Life Framework). Regarding activities, it is about interests and playing. Accumulating and reflecting on experiences generated during the playing is what learning is. (People should be able to learn while playing.) Teaching is to provide the map of experiences and immediate feedback to learner-generated experiences. If no teacher, experienced learners can provide part of that function.

Furthermore, being able to choose and navigate freely in those life centers according to one’s own feels are what constitute self-learning. Educators’ responsibility is to provide rich choices and to build up strong life centers that will enable rich interaction and thus free navigation. In other words, Educators’ responsibility is to build up a better playground.

Below we outline basic elements we think can be of a learning environment to make it a Selflearning Platform according to Selflearning Framework.

  • Interest
  • Learning should be driven by intrinsic needs and goals, especially it should be driven by one’s own interests. As learning in real life usually follows this principle naturally, learning in a specially designed environment may not be the case. A Selflearning Platform should be based on learners’ intrinsic needs/goals instead of external ones and learning should be driven by learners’ own interests.

  • First, play with it and know a lot of facts or phenomena
  • Learning in real life naturally starts with first knowing a lot of facts and phenomena of the subject as those are what form one’s interest in the subject. In a specially designed learning environment, learners should be exposed to a large number of facts and phenomena before starting systemic and theoretic learning on it, e.g. learners should first play with the subject sufficiently.

  • Build up personal experiences, repeating the experiences of the master
  • Learning is to accumulate Significant Experiences in various depth and aspects within the space of the field and to reflect on them in order to achieve a coherent understanding of the whole. Masters of the field usually have gone through this process in their years of practice and learning. In a learning environment, the masters can provide their maps of experiences in the field, which learners can view and choose to build up their own relevant experiences. It is also possible for the masters to design the activities/projects for the learners to work on in order to gain relevant experiences. Masters can even provide feedback to specific experiences generated by the learner.

  • Review and reflect on experiences, share and discuss
  • Significant Experiences gained in the activities need to be reviewed and reflected on periodically so a coherent understanding of the whole can be achieved. Social sharing of those experiences or knowledge built with them can be supported and discussions can be formed.

  • Make a change to improve things or improve the environment
  • Being able to make changes to things or environments and improve them is a peacebuilding process in one’s mind. It gives one confidence and calmness. Deep inside everyone lives a craftsman or artist. Furthermore, good learning environments should allow learners to change the learning environment or the learning process itself (or every learner has one’s own learning process). It should also be possible for the learners to contribute the learning material for the subject.

  • Quick and immediate feedback
  • Learning needs quick and immediate feedback. Good environments should be able to provide quick and rich feedback.

  • Share, the social aspect
  • Although learning needs individual work and focus, social learning stimulates one’s interests and provides feedback.

  • Rich activities
  • A good playground for learning should have rich activities for the learners to choose from so it is always easy for learners to find appropriate activities to work on to keep a continuously flat learning curve. Activities are not limited to projects. For example, student-led course-teaching can be a kind of activities. Judiciary committee meeting or school meeting of Sudbury Valley School is also a kind of activities.

Other than those artificial learning environments, real life is naturally a Selflearning Platform. Elements above can be digitized with software and internet to make Real Life Learning a strong Selflearning Platform.

We envision the future learning will be a mix of Real Life Learning and many artificial learning environments.

The environment can be online or having a physical locality, or mixed. It can be a complete and comprehensive environment such as Sudbury Model schools or Summerhill schools, or it can be an environment for learning one specific skill such as software programming or biology.

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  1. 选择一个想要去学习和理解的领域。首先在一个笔记本上写下你对这个领域已知的所有的东西,可以尝试你是否当下就能够达到对这个领域的一个理解模型(如果所知实在有限,不能立即达到一定深度的理解模型也没有关系)。并且每当你关于这个领域学到了新的东西的时候,就添加到那个笔记本上去;
  2. 尝试去教别人这个领域,尤其是教低龄的小孩子。努力用简单的话语去阐释这个领域;
  3. 返工。当你发现你不能够顺畅的阐释这个领域的时候,你应该能够意识到你知识结构里的缺漏,回到你笔记本上的那个模型去继续学习(通过书籍,互联网,做项目等等各种方式);
  4. 回顾和精简。回顾你对这个领域的整体的理解,做进一步的简化,并能够和更多的事实现象和体验连接起来,可以轻松的举例说明你的模型,可以很容易的识别新的现象和问题。不断重复上述过程,不断发现缺漏,弥补缺漏,做整体的回顾和整理,教他人,完善你的理解模型。





知识引擎可以用于实现费曼学习法。知识领域即是在某领域建立理解模型。老师通过知识领域展现自己的领域模型,学生通过知识领域展示自己所学,老师可以对学生的知识领域即领域模型进行评估。知识引擎实现从碎片到系统,再从系统到碎片的自由自主的学习。并且学习者从学到教可以平滑过渡,学生可以无缝接入对课程的建设,打破老师和学生之间的藩篱。并且通过领域建模,实现知识发现,大大的丰富新知识的创造和分享,每个人可以去“研究”自己感兴趣的领域,发掘那个领域的知识,有如美国当下不少大学里流行的”Design your own major”专业,让知识的发现和研究无所不在。


Feynman Technique:

  • Pick a topic you want to understand and start studying it. Write down everything you know about the topic on a notebook page, and add to that page every time you learn something new about it.
  • Pretend to teach your topic to others, especially to youngesters who are not familar with the topic . Make sure you’re able to explain the topic in simple terms.
  • Go back to the books when you get stuck. The gaps in your knowledge should be obvious. Revisit problem areas until you can explain the topic fully.
  • Simplify and use analogies. Repeat the process while simplifying your language and connecting facts with analogies to help strengthen your understanding.
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English Version

生命框架理论(Life Framework)来自于我对克里斯多夫亚历山大的理论系统的理解和我自己多年的禅修经验。通过生命中心和整体生命度的概念,我们可以把生命框架理论用于理解各种复制系统的生命现象,比如组织管理,社会,学习,教育,或者体育运动如足球,甚至我们自身。

初始只是一片漆黑和安静。然后开始有了运动。当它越动越快,便逐渐分离出许多小块。我们叫这些小块生命中心,因为它们是分离出来的生命。生命中心又组成生命中心,不断的组合和交互。在这个生命系统中,绝对和相对并呈,绝对是绝对的静止, 是永恒。相对是相对动态的发展过程,这个过程也是生命的活动。生命的运动很快,但是初始的完整,静止与和平一直都在那里。这样我们就有了生命的现象。在生命现象里,平等呈现为多元,完美呈现为有限,绝对呈现为相对。同样的,短暂是永恒呈现自己并可以同时拥有生命的唯一方式。或者我们可以说,天堂在人间,这里生命呈现不同的形式。所以即使我们彼此分离成生命中心,我们并未隔离。







另外,阅读中有什么不明白不理解的,可以在每个重要体验(Significant Experience–SE)下评论。我能够收到通知,会及时回复你的评论,这样关于那条重要体验,就形成了一些讨论,也会方便以后阅读的人。重要体验因为其碎片化,粒度低,没有一定的上下文,阅读会比较困难。但是通过其不断的被运用(知识就是应该被运用的),包括写成文章(如本文)或者用于知乎微博等地方,就是去不断提供相关的上下文。这种关于重要体验的交互讨论,也是我们期望的知识引擎可以用来有效的“教”的一部分。如果这么抽象的生命框架理论可以通过知识引擎来有效的“教”的话,也证明了知识引擎的功效。

关于生命框架理论,以下提供一些背景知识。如果你不熟悉克里斯多夫亚历山大(Christopher Alexander–CA),作为程序员应该都熟悉设计模式。设计模式就是直接受CA的[模式语言](的启发。就是对象化编程也可以说是受模式语言的影响。但是CA曾在一个演讲里回答提问者问题(如何看待他对软件行业的影响)时说到他认为软件业人士并没有很好的理解他提出的概念

我认为随着CA的书“The Nature of Order”的发表,标志着他不再用“模式”而开始使用“生命中心”这个概念。原因,也许我可以用这个体验里记录的李小龙的话来说明。这也是我对人们常说的“为什么Java总提设计模式,而Python不提?”这个问题的理解




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English Version




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English Version





  1. 首先是学习,然后才是教育。要弄明白教育,首先要弄明白学习;
  2. 玩是第一位的活动,学习是第二位的。没有玩,也就没有学习。学习永远不应该成为主要的活动,除非是生命教育,因为每个人的一生可以说都是在进行生命教育;
  3. 从上一条自然推出,学习不应该脱离于玩,生活,和社区。是可以在玩中学的;
  4. 终极的学习是对生命的学习,即生命教育;
  5. 个体应该可以积极的参与对环境的改善,包括个体的学习环境。我们必须意识到能够去和平的改变个体的环境对于个体的学习包括生命教育来说有着重大的意义;
  6. 所有的学习都是自学;
  7. 在自学中,不言而喻的,学习的动力应该来自于内在的需求和兴趣,而不是来自外在的比如压力或者评估;
  8. 人是可以边玩边学的,只要人对玩中产生的丰富的体验进行反思。学习是要去建立对某个领域的系统的知识,而知识是建立在重要体验基础上的,以期达到对某个领域更好的整体的理解;
  9. 故而对任何领域的学习都是学习,只要个体可以反思自己的体验,建立起对该领域的整体的理解并能够运用。学习不应该是强制性的;
  10. 每个人都可以成为老师。对于有知识的人,“教”的门槛应该降低,他们应该不用脱产就可以在业余时间轻松的教。每个人都应该教自己总结的有自己的理解的知识;
  11. 所有的教学内容应该是免费的。老师可以通过对其他学习者的指导服务收取费用;
  12. “教”应该建立在体验的基础上。老师和学习者是平等的,只是大家有着不同的体验而已。人人都是自学者,每个人都可以成为老师,只要他在某个领域积累了足够丰富的体验并整理出良好结构的知识体系。通过教来进一步促进自己的学习;
  13. 没有考试。每个组织都要学会不依赖考试成绩来评估候选人。互联网时代的当代社会应该可以提供丰富的评估工具。每个人都应该有个人的站点来展示自己过去的作品,自己的学习体验和总结整理出的知识体系;
  14. 不光是个体,每个组织都需要承担一部分的教育功能,成为自己领域的一个学习中心,很好的展示自己领域的系统知识,并通过实习学徒或公开实验室等丰富的手段向公众传递自己领域的知识,如医院传递健康医疗知识,律师所传递法律知识,新闻机构传递新闻知识等等;
  15. 从以上,不言而喻的,学习/教育不是只是孩童或青少年的事情,所有的人都是学习者,也都可以成为老师。


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English Version











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How to collaborate and contribute with the learning group

Here is a demo usage of how the Knowledge Engine can be used to allow exploratory and collaborative learning for a group.

Recently responding to a post of SDE forum, I did a quick compiling of SDE’s resources based on alternativestoschool

So here you can view Democratic Schools:

And here for Learning Co-ops:

What I did:
I set up a group named Self-Directed Education, and all resources collected with the official tags of the group (currently: sde, Democratic Schools, Learning Co-ops) by its members are pushed directly to this group. Then these resources can be viewed through tags or queries like above.
As this screenshot shows, you can view by official tags, or other related tags. Search function is provided. So it is easy to search resources within a location, for example.

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English Version

记得瑟谷学校的创始人之一Mimsy Sadofsky曾专门讲述过她在瑟谷的一个最大的感受就是对话交流(conversation)的无处不在,并且讨论的内容是在许多不同层面不同领域的。我在瑟谷学校参观的几天也有意的“旁听”了几个小时的对话交流(瑟谷有一个专门的交流室,希望和其他人交流的可以到这个房间来。当然交流也可以随时随地发生)。确实交流讨论的范围非常广,甚至随意。但这些学生很擅长交流,讨论个人经验的交流会很好的表述,比如咖啡或奶酪的品类,讨论政治话题的时候很擅长多角度的辩证分析。从我旁听的观察来看,这些瑟谷的学生是很擅长对话交流的,绝对不比我所接触的美国大学生差,比国内的大学生又强许多了。自学教育的布道者瑟谷学校的推广者著名心理学家Peter Gray通过对瑟谷学生的观察,也有过这样一段精彩的总结,经我翻译

“学生在学校的探索,尤其是青少年,是通过对话交流来完成的。学生讨论各种你可以想象的到的话题,互相之间或者与教职员。通过这样的对话他们接触到无比众多的思想和观点。因为没有权威,对话中的每一个提到的事情都成为思考的主题,而不是需要记忆的教条或者是对考试的反馈。对话交流,不像准备考试时的死记硬背,刺激智力的增长。著名的俄国心理学家Lev Vygotsky认为很久以前对话交流就是高层次思维的基础,而我对瑟谷学生的观察也让我确信他是对的。思想是内化的对话交流;而与其他人进行的对外的对话交流,就是开始。”

对unschooling做出极大贡献的Grace Llewellyn,最近看她在自学教育联盟网站( 上的超级问答里的回答,可以深深的感受到Grace Llewellyn是如何与孩子平等对话交流的 (。比如关于小孩玩游戏的回答。因为原文是英文的,我这里简单的翻译一下。





这里简单引用的几句也许可以让大家管中窥豹的体会到Grace Llewellyn对平等交流的理解。如果对平等交流想要有更多的了解,我想你一定可以在她的著作,网站和项目里找到更多的内容和细节。也难怪她能够在几十年里引领unschooling运动从星火发展到生机勃勃的燎原之势。

正如Grace Llewellyn所说,平等交流就是自学教育的核心,能够和他人进行平等的交流就是学习的最基本的能力。而我的理解,所谓的读书的“神奇”功用之一就是可以培养平等交流的能力,因为读书就是和作者的对话,和作者的人生体验的对话。一本书就是该书的作者试图阐述他个人的人生体验,读许多不同的书就是和不同的人进行人生的对话。李银河说和一个人的婚姻生活就是在读一本书,她很有幸挑到了王小波这本大书,内容及其精彩和丰富。



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English Version

开源学习已经申请成为自学教育联盟在中国的地方联系组织,后续需要不少定期的宣传工作,可以向公众阐述自学教育的理念,或者回答对自学教育感兴趣的人的问题,另外也有需要在各个城市有联系人。目前需要若干志愿者。如果你认同我们的理念,想参与到这个工作里来的可以跟我联系,希望擅长英语(不擅长的我们可以提供学习资源和方法 :))。欢迎大家转发。

联系方式:sys @ 或者留言

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