Individual development, networks and communities & organisation’s goals


I read your post with great interests. I share your views on the need to develop both oneself and the community. Refer to Lisa’s post on Resistance, Re-assessment and Re-tooling
So on one hand, an individual may wish to become a great thinker (individualism) (by pursueing a EdD or PhD) as the ideal goal (to fulfil self actualisation). But on the other hand, a lot of organisations and communities are emphasising on the importance of network learning (one must be a good team player) and the importance of mission and vision for the section.
This could have huge implication: Collective wisdom versus individual autonomy; central control versus diversity of views (as in informal learning).
What would happen if organisations would like to control over the networks (informal learning, communities) as individuals’ aspirations may align with the networks but not the organisation’s vision or mission?
A typical example is that some organisations have copyright with their content and would not allow any disclosure to the public. Also, private providers are in severe competition with public ones and so there are always tension between parties in getting the funding from the government and the recruitment of students to their courses. Participants who are in those providers may find it difficult to share their experiences in the networks due to conflicts of interests to their own organisations. So how could these people be open to diversity and openness in the sharing in communities or networks? You are welcome to comment on my blog:
Thanks again for your inspiring post.
Cheers. John


Connectivism – impact on institutions, individual development and open education

Hi Frances, Roy, George and Stephen and others,

Connectivism attracts attention to practicing teachers.  It also attracts attention from educational institutions.

I have found out that my organisation is going to have an on-line Adobe session on networking with emphasis on the importance of connections and network learning in this coming Wednesday. 

I think it is a great initiative to promote connectivism in educational institutions.  There are also implications…blush

The main reasons for such initiative are directives from the top that:

Educational institutions are looking for innovative ways to develop their staff (both teachers, assessors and administrators) to continue updating their professional skills.  Networking is viewed as an “effective and efficient alternative to training”, and could enhance staff morale and motivation. And connections in the learning networks seem to be viewed as a contemporary professional approach towards life long learning. (I learnt it from you, and this course)

Individual staff are encouraged and are expected to align their professional development to the section plan, college plan and institute corporate plan – vision and missions.  My impression is that network approach to learning is not optional, but mandatory from top management point of view. 

Stephen – I hope you could comment on this, as your view on openness, autonomy, diversity and interactiveness or connectedness are the essential criteria of success for networks and network learning.  But how does it relate to organisation’s interpretation on networks or network learning? – namely that it may become a “group’s” concept and more like a community of practice is preferred by management where everyone has to comply with the rules and obligations (to certain extent).  So, will this end the diversity of views as promoted in networks?  As corporations normally expect their staff to achieve goals set out in vision and mission statements.

George – I suppose there is a need for top management and major stakeholders to build a deeper understanding in the needs and relationship amongst individual learning and development, community of practice and the expectations from the corporate business or educational institutions.  I suppose this is the bridge that I suggest in my blog:

There are many implications in open courses and education: Power issue- who is in power?

Open education– which could lead to “opportunities, challenges – even threats to educational institutions and private providers or businesses, and even teachers”.  There are sensitivities involved in discussing the implications of open content, but remember that it is also a wake up call for many “giants” or corporations who are unaware of the impact of internet and Web2.0 and open courses on their business or education provision.  

Also, when it comes to openness in content, journals, teaching, learning and sources, it will have a great impact on the accreditation system and educational institution’s competitiveness in both local and global “market”.


Postscript: Stephen Donwnes’ paper on “Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources” thoughtful insights into the sustainability of OERs.

Though there is great temptation to depict the sustainability of OERs in terms of funding models, technical models or even content models …. it seems evident that any number of such models can be successful. But at the same time, it also seems clear that the sustainability of OERs……requires that we think of OERs as only part of a larger picture, one that includes volunteers and incentives, community and partnerships, co-production and sharing, distributed management and control.