Simplicity to Chaos

Don’t miss the above paper. This paper is the best ever paper I have read.  It was written in a simple, yet clear manner.  It explains how chaos theory could be applied in education and learning.

I think my previous problem is totally solved if more writers are going to write in such a manner.  Thank you so much to Bill.

And my request of simplicity to chaos is fully answered.

I hope Bill Harshbarger wouldn’t mind me quoting his paper below:

Emphasis on individual learning processes. Rather than imposing rigid and standardized one-size-fits-all pedagogy and materials, educators and educational programs will focus on providing an input-rich environment combined with varied, interesting and engaging activities that promote individual learning. Use of internet based resources in particular can be helpful in encouraging students to explore materials that are relevant to their unique interests and needs.

Teachers as resources and models. Rather than seeing teacher behavior as a direct causal element in students’ learning, we will see teachers as resources and models. We will also reject the traditional view of teaching as transmission of information that can be banked for some time in the future when it might be needed. Instead, we will have systems that encourage students to strengthen their own learning abilities by having learning modeled for them and by encouraging learning that has as much current meaning for the students as possible.

Holistic engagement levels and proficiency change over time as the basis for program, teacher and student assessment. Measurement of learning outcomes will be based on a relatively long-term scale with interim sampling that would provide indirect assessment of learning trends within groups of students rather than trying to determine that a sequence of discrete, fixed achievements has taken place in individual students. In addition, measurement of factors such as engagement and effort may be the best indicators of how likely it is that learning is taking place, and consequently the effectiveness of the educational system/environment. These could be in the form of activity parameters such as how much reading students do, how extensive their journal entries are, how much they participate in class, how many exercises they have completed, etc. They could also be in the form of self-report on how motivated students feel and how interesting the material is to them.


Changing any idea that has been generally accepted for centuries is never easy, as Copernicus and Galileo found out. The same will most likely be true with changing our fundamental concepts of learning and education. But perhaps it won’t be too difficult.  I think the seeds of this transition are already planted. Concepts like student-centered education, the existence of multiple intelligences, different learning styles, and the value of content/task/problem-based instruction are not entirely foreign now and they appear to be better suited to a dynamic systems model of learning than the traditional linear one. Furthermore, the increased use of computers in education will allow greater exploration and incorporation of non-linear materials to support learning.

I am totally convinced by the writer’s views on those aspects.

I have pointed out some of these in my previous post, when I have no idea of the existence of this paper, especially on

  • student centred education
  • multiple intelligence
  • different learning styles

See post on What’s New in Connectivism.

about and around the learner: education, learning is now related back to the learner, with teaching and/or facilitating as a support and network, technology as enabler.  You may even claim it as a wholely learner-centred approach to learning.  And the best way to learn relates back to the learner – individualised learning based on learning styles, intelligences (the mulitiple intelligences one has) and connections – network associated with, and his/her choice of support and technology.

So, I am happy that some of my experiences and findings based on previous research have fully agreed with this paper’s finding.  What a surprise!

I have been using on-the-job training and assessment since 2000 as a platform in achieving the ideals as shown above.

I have conducted a research on Distribution Centre Training: Delivered When, Where and How Customers Like It in 2003.

We have even achieved a Quality Award based on such a model.

Please contact me if you would like to know more about it.

Do you think on-the-job training could work for you?