Learning – I do it my way… of connectivism and more. Is it different from yours?

I am now learning 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, p94 & 101) http://www.demos.co.uk/files/networklogic.pdf

 “Leading with questions not answers

In Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald Heifetz argues that conventional models of leadership confuse it with authority. In so doing, they perpetuate the seductive but dangerous myth that leadership is about influence and persuading people to follow a particular vision. So ‘followers’ look to a leader to solve their problems for them, ignoring their own capacity (and responsibility) to solve it for themselves. People in authority believe that their vision of change is legitimate simply because they are ‘leaders’. And when things go wrong, it is the ‘leaders’ who are blamed and replaced, with little or no reflection on the underlying causes of the problem.” Network logic page 94 

‘As Sun Tzu put it long ago: ‘The good leader is the one the people adore; the wicked leader is the one the people despise; the great leader is the one the people say “we did it ourselves”.’ Network logic page 101 

I would still go through the typical learning ways, 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 new or re-learning is like 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. artefacts, 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 mentioned that the problem and solution lies with my brain, my network, and also through connection with your brain and all other external 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 although my statement that “all learning theories need to be changed from time to time” may not be agreed by others, 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?

Please also see the discussion in the forum http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=1048

The greatest leader (teacher) is the one who could inspire others and that all these people would say at the end: “We have done it!”

6 thoughts on “Learning – I do it my way… of connectivism and more. Is it different from yours?

  1. Hi John. Are you describing your learning as constructivist?


    “Pedagogies based on constructivism: Learners learn by experimentation, and not by being told what will happen”


    “According to the theory, accommodation is the process of reframing one’s mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences”

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(learning_theory)

  2. Hi Ken,
    As I have stated in my post, I am using a blend of learning approaches, some may be social constructivist, others may be connectivisit, and some others cognitivist or even behavioural. In summary, I do think connectivist approach fits better to my primary learning, mainly because of my previous work experience, which all related to people FIRST : I started work as an engineer for half a year, then a management and engineering trainee for 22 months, an Assistant Factory Manager, a Factory Manager before my work as a lecturer in 1985. Since then, I have become a Senior Lecturer, Deputy Head before my present position as a teacher of logistics. I have also completed three formal teacher training, and various on-line programs and professional development programs. So, I am now more interested in the leadership area in education and training. I have also been facilitating and delivering on-the-job training and assessment in logistics and warehousing courses since 2000. I have started blended learning (face-to-face and on-line) since 2006. Besides, I have been a mentor to a supply chain mentoring program. And I have conducted various researches in education and training, computerisation in the past 10 years. So, connectivism is already part of my day to day practice even before doing this course.

    I found that people learn differently. So, it is better to focus on the development of people using some frames of reference such as the application of learning theory, rather than “hard selling” any learning theory for people to adopt.
    Besides, what is the purpose of education? What is the purpose of learning? These are the more important questions I would like to answer?
    Would you mind me sharing some educational philosophies with you?
    The wisest person is one who is humble, who is also willing to learn, and who is willing to serve and inspire others in learning. He or she is the one who doesn’t seem to be smart, and don’t want to look smart. Because, when one looks smart, he/she may become arrogant, and he/she may become complacent, and stop learning.
    He or she is the one who says I don’t know all, but seeks to know and learn more.
    And at times, he or she will keep silent, in order to reflect and grow. Einstein is a good example of such a great scientist who inspires.
    I made up most of these points, but a few were based on some ancient Chinese philosophy.
    Here is one from Confucious:
    If you see a person doing something good or great, think and learn from that person or act.
    If you see a person doing something bad or evil, check and reflect it ourselves – to see if we also have committed that ourselves.
    I suppose the above is a ‘great learning theory” that embraces the “truth”.
    I could see myself as a human, with all the weaknesses through this mirror.
    That’s what I could offer and share. And the above concepts could be applied to any theory, practice or person.
    Again thanks for your comments.

  3. Hi John. Yes. I agree with Chinese sayings. I love Sun Tzu, and Lao Tsu, and the Tao, and Confucious.

    My favourite, which you have stated elsewhere, involves leadership: (to paraphrase) ‘under the best leader, at the end, the people say we did it ourselves’.

    And that humble leader agrees, and says nothing.

    I have some philosophies too:

    One involves shaking the tree, to see what falls out.

    One involves shaking the tree, to see what results.

    One involves taking the opposite view, in order to test and maybe strengthen the first.

    One involves humour, or hidden meaning.

    Truth is a matter of belief, is it not, in a cultural pluralistic way?

    I particularly like this story:


  4. Hi John. It was bothering me about the leader quote attributed to Sun Tsu – I think it was Lao Tzu:

    A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

    Lao Tzu

  5. Sun Tsu was a war strategist and a philosopher. He was praised for his great strategies and tactics at war. Researchers often refer to his strategies as the best of all times in the military arenas and have thought that they could be applied in the business arenas. And so his strategic philosophies was often used in business to win over others.
    Lao Tzu was a great thinker and a philosopher. He was often conceived as a wise leader, but historians have not been able to identify him. Lao Tzu was anonymous and so no one even knew who he actually was. But his concept of leadership was stated as “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say we did it ourselves.” However, this was quoted in Network Logic as being said by Sun Tsu.
    I suspect these may be due to a problem in the translation into English.
    Out of the many Chinese Philosophers, the wisest one was called “Chong Tsu”. His most important and famous philosophy runs like this: “Human has a life span, but we know that there is unlimited boundary (knowledge, especially the huge amount of information, and knowledge nowadays) , to use the limited life span to chase after the unlimited knowledge boundary, it would cause “serious consequence – “death”. If you know the consequence, but still want to do it, then, it will just cause “death”. My interpretation of his philosophy is that he was trying to warn people not to chase for the unlimited “knowledge” to that extent, because there are lots of worthwhile things to do other than the mere passion of knowledge.
    Another famous story from Chong Tsu was about how to learn. Chong Tsu quoted how he observed a butcher of a cow separated the fresh from bones of the cow. He noticed that the butcher had done it so naturally with speed and seemingly so easy, and so he thought it was due the practitioner’s practice and his craft in “butchering”. The moral of the story was to illustrate the importance of mastering learning with efficiency based on “profile, pattern recognition and sensing” of the learner and its interface or artefacts – similar in concept to the connectivist’s learning approach of pattern recognition, way finding and sense making.

    I am happy to share more stories of those philosophers with you. Some of these stories were lost in their formal records, but I could still recall them. The genres or themes of those stories have great significance in education and learning, and could be used as a foundation of most modern education and learning theories.
    Thanks again for your comments and interests

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