How I see George and Stephen’s views in the UStream session Week8

After hearing the recordings from UStream, http://www.ustream.tv/channel/connectivism-and-connective-knowledge I found the presentation from George and Stephen quite interesting.

George thinks that a systemic approach to education is important so as to look after the interests of all stakeholders, not just the learners and educators, as education should be for the benefit of the society.  George thinks that authority, power, control in institutions and teachers is legitimate.  He thinks that if the action taken by Stephen is to happen in a typical university course, those mainstream students will just continue their discussion as usual, as it seems that it is just a normal practice to encourage learners’ participation.  George further thinks that participants should acquire such basic critical skills as filtering of information.  On this occasion, learners could take back the control simply by adding filter to the email inbox etc.

Stephen thinks that you won’t be able to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders.  Sometimes those stakeholders are not even aware of their roles.  So the focus of education would need to start with the learners.  Stephen thinks that the action he did was based on an “experimental” attempt to draw participants into forum discussion, and he feels that he has the authority to do so, and so it is an legitimate action.  He realised that some participants treated it as a sense of humour, others an abuse of power, and some others with a view mid way between.

My views are as follows:

I volunteer myself to participate in forum discussion, and I love sharing my learning with others.  So, I am not too bother with auto-subscription once Stephen has revealed his real intention.

However, some participants are upset with such auto-subscribe action not only because of a sudden change in the “learning practice” (i.e. with no prior consultation or notification), but that their mailbox (work or personal) are suddenly flooded with unwanted or unexpected emails.  I understand how frustrating it could be, especially when one has to distinguish such mails from the work emails.   

I hope his future intention of switching to auto-subscribe is not for the sake of “forcing participants” to participate in the forum discussion.  But a spirit of inspiring participants to learn, engage or connect with others more conspicously.  Nevertheless, this experiment becomes a good lesson for everyone.

As an educator and leader.  I always start with my learners.  What are their backgrounds – knowledge and experience?  What are their goals, needs and expectations?  How could I customise the educational and learning resources to suit their needs?  What are their preferred learning strategies? How could I support my learners in their learning journey?  In this regard, I seem to share similar views with Stephen in his more liberating way of thinking of learning – with learners first for adult education, especially when it comes to personal learning, assisted with personal management systems and technology.  

In an educational institution, both educators and learners could enjoy autonomy, diversity etc. in teaching and learning because of the use of new information and communication technology.  And one could make use of the network to access and learn new knowledge at will.  So authority, power and control issues could still be under the control of the educators and learners.

However, when it comes to business, authority, power and control are much more complicated, due to various social, political, economical issues at a system level and power issues relating to one’s roles and accountability with various parties.  In this connection, the organisation’s or “group’s”  rules are the most important ones to comply with.  Non-conformance or non-compliance to rules and regulations to Education and Accreditation standards, AQTF (Australian Quality Training Framework) or ISO9001 (2000) etc. would lead to the closure of an educational institution.  So, irrespective of whatever transformation one would like to pursue, in education, the bottom line may be:

1. Has the education and learning programs or curriculum met all legislative requirements?

2. Has the institution satisfied the learner’s needs and expectations?

3. Has the institution incorporated innovative and continuous improvement strategies and practice in its system (including people, technology, processes and procedures, administration, facilities etc)?

In this regard, I tend to favour George’s concept of incorporation of networking practice or connectivism with formal education at a systemic level as a vision.  

I would however think that individual practice of “connectivism” would likely be more successful (and could be more readily achievable) rather than the systemic application of Connectivism at this stage of development.  I think we are still at an infancy stage of Web2.0 application and learning management systems.  More resources and training for both leaders, educators, administrators, and learners are required to allow for the gradual introduction of e-learning and Web2.0 practice be assimilated into formal education.  Full support from institutional leaders and government is required for sustainable  transformation in education and learning.

What do you see will be the future of connectivism – in learning and education?

8 thoughts on “How I see George and Stephen’s views in the UStream session Week8

  1. Pingback: » How I see George and Stephen’s views in the UStream session Week8 …

  2. Hi John. I don’t think there will be much future for connectivism. I think it is a rather poor attempt to subordinate technological teaching tools (TTTS) under an umbrella term that has little utility. TTTs have utility, and sure they are used to connect, much like telephones, televisions, books etc. But the attempt of the connectivists to extrapolate connectionist theory into network theory, and piggyback that mix onto chaos and complexity theories in order to produce a new learning theory will be a failure. Interest will die in connectivism; this course is sounding a death knell for this buzzword.

    However, tool usage will continue.

    Just my humble unsupported blue-sky thinking on the matter.

  3. That’s interesting. I see your point. I think no theory has yet been able to explain learning fully, simply because we all learn differently. That’s why I still think people interpret learning theories differently. Don’t you agree?
    Thanks for you comments.

  4. Hi John. I agree with your statement about interpreting learning theories differently. However, that makes us interpretivists, i.e. constructivists. Are you sure you want to go therre?

  5. That’s a good point. I would interpret your suggestion that “if we are to interpret each other’s ideas, and construct meaning out of it based on our understanding, then that is a constructivist approach”. Correct?
    Now, if both of us has constructed meaning out of this connection, does it also mean that such connection allows you and me to be a connectivist?
    This is just one case in learning, and so it would be difficult to generalise the case of learning approach. I suppose the learning theories are just ways to explain the how and why we learn. They are simply “guiding tools” and I would not prescribe it to any learning situation without considering the context and ecology.
    So, I can’t claim myself to be a particular “constructivist” or “connectivist” mainly because it doesn’t explain fully how and why I learn in general.
    In summary, I would rather try to use a blend of learning theories to apply to my own learning, mainly because I found each of the learning theory alone has not been able to explain my learning fully.
    See my earlier post on learning theory.
    Would you mind sharing how you learn? And why you would like to learn it that way? I think this would shed some lights on how we interpret learning theory – and the differences between us.
    Thanks again for your comments.

  6. Hi John. I learn in a number of ways: by reading, by discussing, by debate, by observing, by doing, by reflecting, by having my thoughts reflected back by another. I like to learn in these ways as they work for me.

    I think the connection that permitted us to interpret and construct a shared meaning was instrumental but only a part of the process of social constructivism. I would put the emphasis on that process, rather than on the means of connection. CCKO8 is about the means, not the process, in my view.

  7. Thanks for sharing.
    I learn in a similar way, but I am also learning now in a “new way”. What I found fascinating is that what I have learnt in my previous University courses or even now at work on say leadership doesn’t sound “right” or “appropriate”, though I believe those concepts were incorrect long time ago under the concept of emergent knowledge as found in networking (see network logic paper on leadership). I would still go through the typical learning ways as you do, but I added a way of unlearning all previous ways first, so I could allow for any innovative approach or change to emerge. And I would use all connective, constructive, cognitive, behavioural, situated and experimental approaches in rebuilding my learning. So unlearning is just like demolishing or refurbishing my existing house and building a new house with new furniture for new learning to emerge. Of course, I would not discard all furnitures (concepts) that I have, but I would retain those which are still valuable or applicable to me. In this manner, I am putting the emphasis on the learning process, but the process sometimes may start with the connections (the neural, i.e. my brain or my network, and then I will reflect on the concept why it doesn’t explain or why there is a conflict of concepts between my previous learning and what is presented in the connections (e.g. readings). I would then reach externally through further connections to validate or re-create my concepts. And I will go through the whole process in a similar cycle. See my previous post on how I learn – I mean deep learning, when I mention that the problem and solution lies with my brain, my network, and also through connection with your brain and networks (not just through social constructivism, but a much more complicated cycle of de-construction, reflection, connection (neural, conceptual, external -social and experimental), and further reflection, re-construction and re-cognition, observation of behaviour and emotions of myself and others for validation, and then application, and further feedback and experimentation. Again, this cycle of learning may sometimes start at a different stage for me at different times and entry points, as it depends on the concept or subject (a new one or an existing one) that I would like to learn or re-learn.
    Why I would like to learn it that way? Because I am unique in that learning mode and process, and it works for me, but may not work for others. Is it similar to yours?
    My biggest motivation for such new way is the “change” itself. Changing concepts, changing ways of doing things requires a change in the way of learning. Again the learning theories are all undergoing changes, and I hope my statement that “all learning theories need to be changed from time to time” may not be agreed by others, but I would suggest that without changes to the principles and concepts of all these theories, they seem so difficult to apply under a changing world of learning (or emergent learning).
    So, it seems that these are the differences between us.
    Don’t you see it that way?

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