Role of learners – A response to Mike

Hi Mike,
Thanks for your valuable insights.  I agree with you that educators are still students and still learners.  I have posted my full response on the role of learners on my blog: 
My concern is that due to occasional confusion and conflicts of roles for learners, co-learners or even the teachers, there could be “internal friction” generated amongst network learners upon interaction or connection.  Such practice is apparent in our CCK08 course, especially in the forum.  If we are to adopt this practice in our classroom situation, I am not sure if such role conflicts or confusion would appear or not.  And I am interested in knowing how that could be resolved.
Also, I think this is one of the major areas of concerns in the practice of connectivism, when each of us defines our own boundary based on our needs and interest.  Also, not everyone is sharing the same or similar “values” in the interaction or connection, mainly due to the autonomy and diversity of perspectives and opinions as promoted or inherent in networking. At times, I could see people arguing in those cases or posts in the forum, and not valuing each others’ opinions.  And I wonder if this is viewed as a “best practice” when students in Universities or Colleges, or even K-12 classes are employing such practice.  One could claim that debates are important, but I am really concerned about the emotional outbursts (or the passions) which could impact the learning and the ecology.
Do you see this an issue?
You are welcome to visit and comment on my blog.

Reflection on the role of learners in networks – Connectivism in practice

When I reflected on what has happened in our CCK08,, where interaction and contribution of readers and learners were encouraged,  what I realised was a cautionary approach in the interaction between co-learners.  Whenever someone is trying to adopt a teaching approach, there would be a “tension” developed mainly because the co-learner has not been prepared or able to accept the “teacher-learner” or “expert – learner” role.  The learners might be preferring to adopt a “peer to peer” or “learner to co-learner” approach in learning on some occasions.  This seems also is the case in blogs, when the readers or co-learners were responding or commenting on each others’ blogs.  I have already noted numerous feedback from the blogs.  See my discussion in the forum on the different roles one may have in a network:  Also, see Frances Bell’s comments on group and network discussion in and the forum discussion on groups and networks posted by Ailsa Haxell on passion vs reason., where there were interesting and heated debates on passion and reason amongst teachers, learners and co-learners.  And the follow up discussion and debate via the blog by Terry Anderson:

Is such role conflict an issue in your teaching or learning?

If there are such role conflicts in networking or web 2.0 applications, what do you think will be some better ways to resolve them?

A shift in learning and teaching paradigm

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for your insights.  I agree with you that trainee teachers would find this very hard, since they might be pressured by their master teacher trainer to demonstrate competency in teaching rather than learning (i.e. just helping the learner to learn).  I had been in that situation on a few occasions, when I took the teacher training programs.  It was really stressful on those occasions, and could even be confusing if one is exposed to different learning theories and practices.  But once a teacher has gained some confidence and practice in the basic teaching techniques, there is no reason why one could not proceed to  the next stage, and develop more advanced skills in inspiring the learners in acquiring the metacognition skills.  Besides, this would assist the learners to choose their learning options, and thus improve their learning progressively.  This could be achieved if learners are proactive in the formal and informal learning through blogs, wikis, forum discussion etc.  These could also augment the formal lesson (if the teaching is still institutionally based), whereas assessment could be done more effectively.  I could see such changes happening in a number of institutions, when I browsed through the blogs and wikis.  See 

Such an approach is also suggested by Tom Whyte

The process of moving the students forward from a group setting to a network will be required, so will an educator familiar with both.  For this process to properly occur, curriculum will need to be specifically designed and implemented, taking into account, emerging technologies and student safety within an online environment. 

Terry Anderson’s further emphasises the needs of exposing students to groups, networks and collectives in learning.

Being able to differentiate amongst the three and insuring that learners have experience of learning in all three contexts is an important function of the teachers’ role in formal education.

So, an exposure of students to a networking environment is preparing them for a life based and life long education.

I have also found a trend in moving into online and distance education when learners are no longer satisfied with the traditional classroom delivery.  See

Online and Distance Education, Serious Games, Simulations, Mobile Learning

Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

Do you see this as a trend for adult education?

So I think this is not only a shift in learning paradigm, it could even be a shift in teaching paradigm, in that both teachers and learners have their voices, in the teaching and learning process, especially in networking.   This is already happening in this CCK08 course, and also in a number of University courses.  See Michael Wesch’s class.

Time and cases will tell whether this is the case.   More researches would be necessary to validate these “hypothesis” and claims.
Do you think there is a shift in teaching paradigm?  Do you think there is a need of Connectivism as a “new” “teaching theory”?   See Downes’ Educational Theory

What are your observations so far?