How I see the world of learning based on connectivism – Personal Reflection

This is my reflection on learning based on connectivism – learning through networked learning.  I have written this post a week ago, but would like to reflect more before my posting here.

If we are to base upon each of our current “rational and logical” and “patterning of knowledge” thinking pattern in the initial discussion (the left brain critical thinking, metacognitive skills, and right brain sensemaking of pattern recognition and way finding), then you (as a reader) and I are likely basing on the cognitive processes of learning. Our behavior and how we learn is not only a function of the environment, but also involves mental events, mental representations (mind maps), our beliefs, expectations, emotions and intentions.

So are we employing a mixture of behaviour, cognitions?  This would be starting from me or from you, responding by you or me, then bounce back to you..and so on etc., construction and co-construction (under constructivism in this conversation), exchange of ideas or interaction with you, resulting in the co-construction of “knowledge patterns” or ontological sensemaking (critical thinking and pattern recognition together) all summed up with the connectivist synergy – wayfinding, sensemaking and patterning with Complexity and Chaos Theoretical principles all embedded. You could call such “process” of pattern recognition and sensemaking the basis of emergence theory.

I think the adoption of a connectivist approach could exhibit some of those behaviours of “I think this is right, and you think this is right, or no this is not, let me share with you what’s right, and then let’s be connected and let’s interact, discuss and explore” under behaviorism – cognitivism – constructivism and connectivism. I think most of connectivism (so far) carries a lot of educational philosophical concepts in its package, and a heavy overtones of what we call philosophy in general (no one single answer, it depends on interpretation, and perceptions) – a complete opposite to behaviorist learning models which focused on associative (or classical) and instrumental learning (or operant) learning (or the traditional teaching on a didactic /uni-directional/expert teaching approach). 

Effective communication and strong relationships are keys to a healthy learning ecology: 

Communication transforms a collection of individuals into a strong, mutually supportive team.  Communication builds the important ties that bind people together-inside the organisation as well as outside (Webber 1993, p7)

A key process to facilitate communication and to build relationships is the art of conversation.  Conversations involve the exchange of ideas, view and information between two or more people in a way that is non-confronting, egalitarian and open (Stewart,2001).  They are a vehicle for generating, sharing and processing knowledge.  Conversation is therefore a core business activity for knowledge work:

Through conversation, knowledge workers create the relationships that define the organisation.  Conversations – not rank, title, or trappings of power – determine who is literally and figuratively ‘in the loop’ and who is not (Webber 1993, p7).

Conversations are integral to daily organisational activity and a source of rich learning.

In some respects, these align well with the right brain ” thinking and learning”, the emotional and social intelligence that are encouraged in the global networks of communication, cooperation and collaboration.  These are critical intelligence required for development amongst people, and especially the leaders,  through networking, community of practice and team working over the net and organisation.  Tacit knowledge and emergent learning may be the emergent outcome of the conversation and interaction. In other respects, these align well with the left brain “thinking and learning” where scientific analysis and logical thinking is the basis of explicit knowledge construction and cognitions.  This is also the basis of verification of knowledge using scientific and empirical methods throughout  formal education and research (within the University courses in higher education in particular).

I think an empirical approach to connectivism will also be examined under such a microscope, since the experimental or survey approach is really testing the hypotheses set up, then collect data from a cohort of people, analyse them and generalise them as possible. We may still have to go through the interactive discussion and cognition processes with further participants (based on individual reflections and group sensemaking and patterning – like what we are doing in small group), then in larger groups…. then all these in continuous cycles in order to forsee the patterns. Again, this is only seeing the patterns of the patterns of the patterns, as I have explained in other areas – where learning is just one pattern of the whole education, and education a pattern in the whole development of people, society and civilisation. Is this a meta-theory of every learning?

Relating to the  induction and deduction methods mentioned by Daniel in his post on computer science researchers, since I have written this post last week, I would like to post my views here.

So, is this also a cycle of induction and deduction followed by induction and deduction etc.? See my other posts on the cycle on Complexity and Chaos Theory. This start off with the I statements followed by the induction (a method of logical reasoning that obtains or discovers general laws from particular facts or examples)- the survey, and deduction (the process of reasoning from general principles to a particular case)-the literature review and action research, that it’s what I or we (or each of us in this group) think the world thinks, then the world (samples of the population) reflecting back what I or we think (through our survey research here) and this is then followed by induction plus deduction with a larger cohort or others – bloggers, academics, researchers etc, and continue on and on….Is this the Folksonomy approach combined with the Taxonomy of knowledge and learning under the adaptive digital learning ecology?

Are we also exhibiting those butterfly effect and behaviour in our blog postings?  We are now all flapping our wings, and who knows when, where and how the tsunami or hurricanes will happen? Do you feel the turbulence? Will this take us to another virtual flight to meta-connectivism?