#CritLit2010 Taxonomy and Connectivism

Mastery Learning is based on the most rigorous and systematic rejection of conventional beliefs concerning the reasons for variations in student performance – the work of Benjamin Bloom of the University of Chicago.  Like all major ideas, Bloom’s work builds on the efforts of others before him, and extends these into a new conceptual framework.

Here is my response to George’s posting on Connectivism Taxonomy

George, great to learn about this taxonomy.
Your taxonomy prompted me to reflect upon Bloom’s Hypothesis:
1. A normal person can learn anything that teachers can teach
2. Under favourable learning conditions the effects of individual differences will approach vanishing point, while under unfavourable learning conditions the effects of individual differences will be greatly exaggerated
3. Individual learning needs vary greatly
4. Uncorrected learning errors are responsible for most learning difficulties
Under Bloom’s model, instead of trying to bend the learner to suit the method of teaching, Bloom’s approach sees the task of educators being to tailor the teaching process to suit the learning needs of the individual.
Since I learnt the above model in 1985, I witnessed great changes in the learning approaches, and that most of the hypothesis set out by Bloom needed modification if we are to consider a similar behavioural approach in teaching in this digital age.
For instance, hypothesis 1 doesn’t fit the on-line learner, as any normal person can learn anything even without the teachers. In hypothesis 2, Bloom contends that the most important factors influencing learning in the individual child are the interactions that occur between the child and its parents on the one hand and between the child and the teaching process on the other. Again, such hypothesis is no longer true in an on-line environment where the emphasis is no longer just on the teaching process, and that the learner is not merely relying on the teaching process, rather the learner will consider his/her learning style in his learning(David Kobb’s learning style seems to be more useful in an on-line or connectivism approach).
Also an experiential approach is often preferred amongst adults in an on-line environment.
In your connectivism taxonomy – you have proposed a staged view of how learners encounter and explore learning in a networked/ecological manner (the taxonomy begins with the basic and moves to the more complex).
My comments are: As connectivism is operating in an open system model, would such a simple taxonomy approach be good enough? I am doubtful if learning could be viewed in a linear manner in a connective environment, and am unsure if one could describe a staged view of how learners and explore learning in a networked/ecological manner that reflects the reality?
Once we define such staged views of learners, we may have assumed that a learner is learning in distinct stages, and that we can measure competency in a discrete manner – i.e. there are units of competency, elements and performance criteria clearly articulated.
But if I reflect on the chaos and fuzzy dynamic environment any learner is facing nowadays, the reality is that competency of an on-line learner can no longer be based on those defined units of competency. It must include a fuzzy set of continuum variables which are attributes transcending beyond the semantics, or linguistics – this includes emotional elements (i.e. EQ – emotional control, self awareness, self confidence, motivation, social skills and interpersonal skills, social elements (social awareness, ethics, intellectual property awareness etc.) which are very difficult to define in terms of competency. Even if we can define all these emotional, social elements, there would be difficulties in drawing a map between all these dynamic factors or competencies, which could all change due to other factors such as culture, equity and learner’s access to technology.
In this respect, it would be imperative to develop hypothesis that are robust enough to take all those factors into consideration.
1. So what are the hypothesis behind this connectivism taxonomy?
2. Will such hypothesis be fluid or static? I would be interested to know if a further change in some of the technologies or learning environment would change the hypothesis.
3. Is a taxonomy good enough reflection of the staged views of learner.
4. Is such a taxonomy able to generalise under different learning circumstances?
In conclusion,
I am uncertain if a rigid taxonomy would be appropriate in building up a model on connectivism.
My suggestion:
I think a dynamic n-dimensional (or mxn matrix) model of taxonomy would be more appropriate and reflective of the reality. An adaptation of a Quality Function Deployment approach may be useful (ie. the voice of the learners on the left column and the enablers and process of learning on the row of a matrix): i.e. With a matrix of What versus How in the learning hierarchy/taxonomy. The “what” aspects would include What the learner’s needs are in a hierarchical form and the How’s aspects would include the teaching/learning process, the enablers such as the technologies (Web 2.0 etc.)the networks,and other important enablers of learning such as support, mentoring, etc.
3. This might also take the form of a network, though such network may be in the form of a mind map superimposed by the what and how aspects of learning.
I would be interested in conducting research in this area to further explore about the theory of connectivism. Please contact me if you think such an approach might be useful to you.

Looking forward to learn your views

I have since then done some searches through the web and blogs:

Here on Bloom’s Taxonomy with some suggested teaching/learning activities

Here is a post and another post on Bloom’s revised Taxonomy with diagrams

Matthias has made some very nice mind maps that help in structuring the Taxonomy of Connectivism.

Here are the figures from Matthias posting, hope he doesn’t mind me re-posting here:

From: Taxonomy of Connectivism

I have also prepared my mindmap about my learning with CCK08 knowledge of how people learn and my simple model of Critical Thinking

Steve has prepared a Taxonomy of Critical Literacies in his post here

I will see if I could come up with a mindmap on Critical Literacies & Connectivism combined Taxonomy.  But this would take me some time to conduct further research, based on summary of the findings of Critical Literacies and what Stephen has recommended.

I must admit that I still have a lot of “unknown” in this area of Critical Literacies and Connectivism.  It has taken me years (since 2008) to have just a glimpse of Connectivism, and I am still reflecting on the theory and its application.  I hope we could use some forms of collaboration in developing such mind maps on Connectivism Taxonomy.  This might be in a pbworks (wiki), Google document, or an actual mindmap site.

Though Steve has already started off with his consolidated one, I reckon it would be great to have a few models, like Matthias’ one, to consider.  Still thinking…..What do you suggest? How about an aggregation of all the works on this Connectivism and Critical Literacies Taxonomy Model?

We have also prepared a mind/concept map on Connectivism based on the research, but have never posted it as yet, as the papers won’t have space for the posting.  We may consider using that mindmap for further development of a Taxonomy or Model on Connectivism.

Postscript: In this Social OS and Collective Construction of Knowledge by Stephen March 08, 2010

Technology looks like language, but behaves more like architecture, a duality that may lead us to expect more its intervention than is warranted.

Does technology exhibit properties of language? With the introduction of  Web 2.0 technology – such as blogs, various gadgets could be added (RSS, text, calendar, links to Wordle, Maps etc.) to improve the design of the blog.   “Codes” would then allow  for the “language – syntax” be displayed.  Also statistical data could be used and analysed with the various tools available with the Blogs (in WordPress).  The blogger could then be able to interpret the language of statistics with the graphical tools provided.  This would help the blogger to manage the blog to suit his/her needs.  The blogger could also use the tool to control spams, decide who to respond to, and when and how he or she would like to respond to any postings or comments. Would technology be a mediator of the language in these case examples?

Technological literacy has much in common with its logical and linguistic counterpart, critical literacy.

Stephen has clearly differentiated technological literacy (Web 2.0 technical literacy – such as blogs, wikis, FB, Twitter, Flickr, Slideshare and Youtube creation, postings, and downloading, gadgets and manipulation of the tools, which are relates to some technical knowledge, application and skills in aggregation, use of RSS, Google Readers, Delicious, tagging and social bookmarking – concepts of folksonomy, netvibes or pageflakes, Google Documents, Amplify, Diigo,  ) from the Critical literacy here in CritLit2010 (where critical literacies include Cognition, Change, Pragmatics, Syntax, Context, and Semantics)

CCK08 & CCK09:

The intent is to help people not simply to learn about the tools, but to develop a capacity to work with the tools, to build a creative capacity, and hence not just technical knowledge but rather technological literacy.


9 thoughts on “#CritLit2010 Taxonomy and Connectivism

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