#Change11 The challenges of technology on education system and the wicked problems

Here is my response to Bonnie’s comments on my previous post.

Thanks Bonnie for your insights. Yes: “we seem both more connected and fractured, to me, at a global society level, than we know how to deal with.”

The more connected people are, the more complex the relationship becomes. The learning that emerged from connective knowledge sharing and collective knowledge from networks challenges the status quo of the prescriptive and canonical knowledge structure once hailed as the only few routes towards the development of knowledge workers and knowledge nation. This seems unforgiving to a knowledge management framework and infra-structure where knowledge is known, and problems could be solved using a linear or systematic process.  Such education system and canonized  knowledge has heavily been exploited and valued as a commodity in a commercialized world of institutions.

The education system that we once cherished has been founded on an economic funding model, based on mass education, cost effectiveness and education efficiency for the particular nation, where a centralized education system is valued and mandated, and accreditation of education would only be granted if the course and curriculum are quality assured.  The current paper on Quality Assurance in Asian Distance Education: Diverse Approaches and Common Culture well illustrates the importance of quality assurance relating to distance education in those countries.

Now these paradoxes surfaced out of the education system posted new questions and challenges relating to (a) the values of traditional testing of knowledge based on rote learning, (b) the adequacy of grouping students, subjects against fixed curriculum, (c) the impact of new technology and social media on the nature and structure of formal education – in particular Higher Education, (d) the authenticity of learning at school with a curriculum based on content knowledge, with subject structure of – language and literacy, numeracy and mathematics, science, and information technology, arts and religion etc. (e) the need for new media literacies and their application in our daily life, or that in study or at work, in response to the changing needs and expectations from all those concerned – including employers, colleagues, customers, educators and peers, (f) the development of metacognitve, critical thinking and sensemaking skills that are often required to solve complicated and complex problems, individually and collectively, with technology as an affordance.

So, what might have led to these paradoxes?  What causes the problems and challenges?

We don’t seem to have the answers to these questions and challenges.  I don’t think we have quite understood the fundamental causes of each of those issues yet, mainly because they are all paradoxically inter-related, where the factors causing the problems are not linearly related, but super-imposed upon each others – the wicked problems.

The wicked problems and social complexity provides some clues – the forces of fragmentation could be the forces that challenge collective intelligence, not only in groups in organisation, but also in networks.  Compare this with the typical problem solving approach as outlined here.

“Fragmentation suggests a condition in which the people involved see themselves as more separate than united, and in which information and knowledge are chaotic and scattered.  The fragmented pieces are, in essence, the perspectives, understandings, and intentions of the collaborators. Fragmentation, for example, is when the stakeholders in a project are all convinced that their version of the problem is correct.  Fragmentation can be hidden, as when stakeholders don’t even realize that there are incompatible tacit assumptions about the problem, and each believes that his or her understandings are complete and shared by all.”

The antidote to fragmentation is shared understanding and commitment. In the case of networked and collective learning, it also requires forms of curation and aggregation – both on the fragmented resources collected and conversation held all over the places, in order to make sense, and to form a more coherent response to the problem statement.  This would then be shared through further conversation, by redefining the problem, analyzing the data, developing alternative options and solutions, followed by implementation of solutions.  The use of wikis and google documents are typical examples to illustrate the crowdsourcing solutions to such problems.

“Social complexity makes wicked problems even more wicked, raising the bar of collaborative success higher than ever.

Because of social complexity, solving a wicked problem is fundamentally a social process.  Having a few brilliant people or the latest project management technology is no longer sufficient.”

I have reflected on the problems and some possible options and solutions relating to the design and implementation of MOOC here and here.

What sort of wicked problems are associated with

(a) connective knowledge and collective learning,

(b) distance education,

(c) online learning?

Reference:

Wicked Problems http://www.accelinnova.com/docs/wickedproblems.pdf

Research, Wave Theory and Curiosity

I would explore and reflect on Research, Wave Theory and Curiosity in this post.

Research

I have changed my way of doing research through my blog posts: quite a bit.  I trust that we could experiment with blog-post followed by peer & community review approach in doing research.  I have been thinking about narrative and case study researches instead of mere surveys.  This would ensure the theory model building is based on mixed research methods, and grounded on application-theory combination – grounded theory.

Wave Theory

I have been thinking knowledge and learning along the lines of wave theory – i.e. learning as waves – resulting from the neuron-connection, that waveform as shown on the fMRI scan denotes the knowledge pattern and wave propagation as a learning both at a micro and macro -level.  Here, the concept of fractals could be useful to denote the propagation of knowledge growth.  Complexity Theory and Chaos Theory – where emergent learning arises could be explained when different waveform meet, causing interference patterns (either constructive or destructive interference – similar to the amplification and dampening action as in self-organizing networks), and different types of waves would be formed upon interaction.

I haven’t shared any of the above ideas to any one yet, as I started to think right now except the one here.  It didn’t resonate with anybody else.  Has anyone explored about these?

Wonders of Nature

Video that may be of interest

My curiosity

My wild questions on assumptions pop up about nature of everything, relating to the interconnected nature of science, where one wave sets up the changes (a ripple stirs up another set of waves, like the butterfly effect).  We speak and hear – through sound waves, we see through light (light waves), we sense through touches – sensory “waves” – muscles contract and extend, we breathe and smell through air (air in the form of wave), we think with brain wave, we send signals through electromagnetic waves.  Even earthquake, air turbulence, typhoon, hurricane, tsunami and black holes are the results of huge waves, some visible, some invisible!

Photos: Wikipedia Butterfly Effect

Would wave be a way of connection?

I wrote these before realizing the video on Curiosity, wonderfully crafted below, with narratives of Feynman.

Postscript: I just found this video about Waves, narrated by Feynman.  What a coincidence of the concepts behind!

I found this video useful in explaining about Waves in Brain

What does it mean to cooperate and or collaborate in #Change11 MOOC?

Thanks Frances for bringing this to the table through her post on Orienting to MOOC. Glad also to learn about Jeffrey, Jenny, Matthias, Markuos and Heli’s views.  Stephen mentions in comments here:

MOOCs and the connectivist approach to learning, as I have argued elsewhere, is by contrast ‘cooperative’. There is no presumption of unity, order, shared goals or coherence. There’s no sense of being ‘in the group’ or its opposite. If teams or groups form, they are tangential to the course, and not the core or essence of it.

So, if you are discussing ‘Collaborative Open Online Learning’, you are not discussing MOOCs. Perhaps you are discussing things like WikiEducator or OERu, where everybody is pulling the same way. I don’t know.

Stephen has also elaborated on collaboration and cooperation here. I had composed a response post here.

Collaboration versus cooperation is nuanced to me.  I could see the difference between the two, especially when learning through MOOC and with others, when “we” actively converse with each others through different channels in MOOC.  It seems that some participants were cooperating for most of the time, though a few participants might collaborate in small groups or teams to work on specific tasks – on research, or wiki, or the MOOCast.  It is therefore important to distinguish between individual learning, networked learning and group learning, as a way of learning over the internet and webs.  The table here - From Cooperation to Collaboration summarizes it well.

There have been tensions in between group and teams learning requiring collaborative participation and individuals learning in a network based principally on PLN/PLE, as revealed in many researches throughout the past, mainly because of the perception of collaborative participation in an online education, where there were also differences in the team’s goals and individual learner’s goals:

“Some of the darker sides of collaborative participation which in its extreme manifestations can be experienced as normative and, we suggest, as a form of tyranny of the dominant and which instead of having a liberating effect, reinforces a form of oppression and control.”

In the case of MOOC networked learning, as pointed out by Clay Shirky here: “Not everyone can participate in every conversation.  Not everyone gets to be heard.” This also relates to the power associated with networks, where power distribution is often uneven, often following a long tail phenomena, even if it is under a small group learning in the networks.

Photo: Google?

These were also reflected throughout the CCKs and MOOCs, where individuals set their own paths of learning using networks, without necessarily sharing any unity, order, or shared goals, within those networks or organizations.  Bloggers just focused on self-reflecting using their blogs and sharing through their PLN (Twitter) or aggregating or curating their collectives (Delicious, Scoop.it or Paper.li, Google Reader) etc.  Learning through such thinking it ALOUD, with reflexive learning is more common to the participation of forum discussion and sharing in the more recent MOOCs.  So, does it reflect the cooperative rather than the collaborative nature of networked learning?

Some participants of MOOC viewed MOOC as a collaborative platform where Cathy says: “This course will allow us the opportunity to collaborate together and experience first hand this new way to learn.”  There may still be many interpretations about the diverse nature of networked learning, based on MOOC experience.

When it comes to changes in formal and informal learning, we may need to think about the pedagogy involved, where there may also be a shift from collaborative learning in institutions to cooperative learning in networks.  There may also be a shift from cooperative learning in networks to collaborative learning in institutions when MOOC is formally institutionalized and accreditated in institutions.  Does it address the difference between cooperation and collaboration learning in the networks/groups?

References:

Brian Christens & Paul W. Speer.  Tyranny/ Transformation: Power and Paradox in Participatory Development

Debra Ferreday and Vivien Hodgson. The Tyranny of Participation and Collaboration in Networked Learning

Postscript: