Social Learning Theories

A well presented video on Social Learning Theories – Constructivism and Connectivism.

I have compared the similarities and differences of Constructivism and Connectivism here.

Here George discusses his views on Rhizomes and Networks, where he writes:

While rhizomes are diverse in shape and structure – growing, adapting, sprouting, replicating – they are not diverse in substance – i.e. rhizomes do not morph into new organic entities.

In his edtechweekly podcast, Cormier criticizes networks as being “duplicatable”. If someone has a successful network, she is tempted to say “this is how you create your own network”. Suddenly, the network becomes mechanistic. Cormier doesn’t like that. Neither do I. However, networks need not be designed in order to duplicate structure. Networks are organic – consider food webs, ecosystems, and the architecture of the brain. I don’t accept the argument that rhizomes are organic and that networks are not.

The central arguments about rhizomes and networks would be essential, as they could lead us to better understanding on how networks are situated.

I found networks could both be mechanically or artificially constructed and organically grown.

Ecosystems are often complex networks. “Ecosystems are made up of abiotic (non-living, environmental) and biotic components, and these basic components are important to nearly all types of ecosystems.”

The network structure of neurons connections in our brain is organic.

Image: Google.

Networks could be artificially constructed, like the networks and communities that are “built” and constructed, by each of the human agents, together with non-human agents which include the media, tools etc.  Networks could also be internally grown and developed, such as those in our human brain, or those inside our body, with blood streams, artery and veins, though these are likely under the control of the individuals.  The influence or changes due to the external networks on our brain network would account for the emotional responses, a change in the memory (of remembering facts, events and experience), or a change in the cognitive abilities in recognition of pattern, connections of concepts, thus re-wiring the connections and circuits.

What are the educational implications of social learning theories?

That will take another post for the exploration and reflection.

#Change11 Farewell to you all

This is my farewell post.

May I start with a story?

“What is your problem?” asked the Doctor Wise.

“I have headaches, some sneezing, and pains in the joints, don’t know why, I am just feeling tired.  Last night, I have fever.” said the Patient A.

“Let me examine you.” the doctor then examined A.  Checking the temperature, and the mouth, nose and chest of Patient A.

“You have the symptoms of a flu, here is the prescription, follow the instructions in taking this flu medicine (may be an anit-virus medicine).” Doctor Wise explained. “Go home and take more rests, drink plenty of water, and you will recover in a few days.”

“Do I need to take any antibiotics?” asked A.

“No, antibiotics don’t cure flu.” explained Doctor Wise.  “You need to allow time to restore your health, so taking the flu tablets and more rests will do.  If you are still not feeling well after a few days, come and see me.”

Does it look familiar to you?

Why would I choose this plot of seeing the doctor?  It’s the McGuffin!  May be, I think it describes fully what I have experienced when I have fallen sick and visited the doctor for help in the past.  It’s a story that I would like to share.

So, how do these relate to my taking of the MOOCs?

To a certain extent, the facilitators in the MOOCs are like the doctors, they know what experiences patients have, and the symptoms associated with various diseases, or the actual problems associated with the different diseases.  They would try their very best to explain to the patients what to do in response to those problems, or to perform surgery where needed.

But is this what MOOCs are all about?  No, that is just my share of what I have learnt through MOOCs, with the most important part of learning still yet to emerge.  I will share in future posts.

What most facilitators and educators would do (in MOOCs) is to provide advice, help and support, so as to enable the learners to learn more effectively and efficiently in courses, through the various interactions and engagement in different platforms, spaces or media.

However, how the learners would take that into their hands could be totally different.  I am not a “patient”, but a learner.  However, I could understand how difficult and challenging it could be when I sensed those challenges, symptoms of confusion, when immersed in a new or novel learning environment.

So, with the MOOC – Change11, I could also be the doctor of learning, where I  fully appreciate how learning could be the best dose for healing, in restoring health, and be happy.

I have come across these 35 weeks of intensive learning, with the facilitators providing their valuable perspectives and experiences, all FREE to all of us.  Special thanks to the host facilitators: George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier, and all guest facilitators of the MOOCs, and the many participants that I have met and connected in various ways (not in any order) with their blog posts:

Tai Arnold, Steve mac, Tony Bates, Brainysmurf, Catherine Cronin, Jaap Soft, George Hobson, Vanessa Vaile, Jupidu, AK, Jeff Lebow,  Alan Levine, Jenny Mackness, Ana Cristina Pratas,  Liz, Clark Quinn, Mark McGuire, Matthias Melcher, Heli Nurmi, Mary Rearick, Howard Rheingold, George Veletsianos, Nancy White, Bon Stewart, Valerie, and many others that I would like to list them all here.

Here I would like to borrow: