My learning on Connectivism, Sensemaking and Leadership

Every learner defines learning differently, and so is my interpretation of Connectivism. Would you agree that Connectivism is a term, or a name that you or me would like to call it, so as to make sense of learning. This is similar to the concept of sensemaking – which is defined as the process of creating situation awareness in situations of uncertainty.

Here is a definition of sensemaking

The process by which individuals (or organizations) create an understanding so that they can act in a principled and informed manner.  Sensemaking tasks often involve searching for documents that are relevant for a purpose and then extracting and reformulating information so that it can be used. When a sensemaking task is difficult, sensemakers usually employ external representations to store the information for repeated manipulation and visualization. Sensemaking tasks inherently involve an embodiment as an actor (or actors), an environment, forms of knowing, and ways to work with what is known. Working can take different forms — such as logical, metaphorical, physical, or image-based reasoning. See also external cognition

Here is another important learning that I have which arose out of networked learning or Connectivism. Our prior knowledge was relatively less influential than emotions, beliefs, cognitive factors and mental models – all components of sensemaking. People (leaders, managers and educators and learners) are more successful in connecting with other people (leaders, managers, colleagues, workmates, educators and learners) if they understand each others’ needs and expectations, and thus be able to form a closer bond both emotionally and cognitively. People who could leverage the affordance due to technology, media and learn effectively through the networks would be at a competitive advantage over those who rely solely on the traditional formal education and learning methodologies. There is no single solution to all learning scenarios, and so every learning must be sensed and acted upon with strategic learning strategies and a contingent and emergent learning approach.
I still reckon the learner centred approach in education and learning provides the best outcome for the individual in terms of the achievement of personal goals and achievement (ego’s and self actualisation). Education that is building on the individual’s achievement and satisfaction is also the responsibility of institution and society at large. Without satisfied people in institution, how would one expect great performance from people? History tells us the importance of motivation (such as the Maslow Needs Hierarchy) – that people work best when they are motivated intrinsically AND extrinsically, and with the right environment for each of them to excel. Without an adequate culture of nourishment for individuals – with network and technology capacity of action, people would not be able to achieve higher potentials in the networks or COPs. The best way to achieve such nourishment could be through individual leadership empowerment and development.

So, leadership is no longer a one person leading the way, but a process, a human approach which allows everyone to take up the leadership role, in the networks, to lead and support each other in achieving the individual’s goals. Since each ones goals might be different, such network leadership approach would enhance individual’s understanding and desire of leadership, when they take up leadership position at work, in the community or in government organisation. Such connections would then need to be further developed so as to establish the relationship required for networking and collaboration.

In summary, leadership is about relationship, and nurturing of relationship with others in the networks.

How about this connections or relationships?


What did you learn from this?

Photo: Flickr
John

Postscript: How about this post on leadership?

9 thoughts on “My learning on Connectivism, Sensemaking and Leadership

  1. “leadership is about relationship, and nurturing of relationship with others in the networks”

    I agree to a degree. It’s about making the connection then developing the connection in a way that builds trust. This is intuitive and would make sense when working with the same individuals over time.

    But I also learn by occasional connections I form online. For example, I might get some information from one source with no strong relational affiliation, then take that information to a more relational-trust network or community and build on the idea. In fact, there are many possible scenarios that do not include connections that are built solely on relational trust.

    I still see the relational trust as a community-based perspective whereas the individual and the role the individual plays within a variety of communities as a connectivist perspective. Again, communities based on social capital and relational trust (Serviovanni, 2005) certainly has merit, but I do not think it’s a complete look at how we can learn best – connections that are transactional, collaborative, and/or relational, all dependent on the individual and the context.

  2. >Since each ones goals might be different, such network leadership approach would enhance individual’s understanding and desire of leadership…

    If everyone’s goals are different, how does the leader find any followers?

  3. Hi Benjamin,
    Thanks for your visit and valuable insight. I fully agree on the “good leadership -” It’s about making the connection then developing the connection in a way that builds trust. This is intuitive and would make sense when working with the same individuals over time.” If we reflect on our leadership at work, we have to ask:” Is such leadership based on trust” If yes, then we will value such leadership.
    In the network, the leadership interpretation may be different. “Again, communities based on social capital and relational trust (Serviovanni, 2005) certainly has merit, but I do not think it’s a complete look at how we can learn best – connections that are transactional, collaborative, and/or relational, all dependent on the individual and the context.” That adds a new insight into how one might learn differently from that in institution.

    John

  4. Hi Ken,
    How does the leader find any followers, if everyone’s goals are different? Why would the leader need to find their followers? To promote the leaders’ ideas? Would the “followers” find the leaders instead? Take a look at the religions – like Catholic religion. For me as a Catholic and Christian, how did I follow Christ as my leader and saviour? Did Christ find me? Did Christ find their followers even if those people’s goals are different from His religion?

    Did you find others to follow you if their goals are different from you?

    In this: “Whereas I viewed control basically as an abstract, functional concept, the originality of Stewart’s
    approach is that he conceives of a very concrete kind of “manager” that takes control of a group for purely selfish purpose, but ends up promoting cooperation that is to everybody’s benefit. Perhaps the simplest illustration of this idea is a shepherd “managing” a group of sheep, or a farmer “managing” a group of crops. The farmer takes control over the crops purely for his own benefit, to be able to consume more of them.
    Yet, because of his care to plant the crops at equal distances, keep them free from weeds, and prune them into the most efficient shape, the crops actually grow and reproduce more efficiently, being freed from the destructive competition for sunlight, water and nutrients with each other and other plants. Thus, management increases the fitness of both the farmer and the crops. ” So aren’t Christ being the Shepherd managing a group of sheep (His disciples)? Aren’t we all like the farmer managing a group of crops (through our blog posts and our conversations over different media/space)?

    I understand that we need to separate education, learning from religion. However, the most important part of any religion is the spread of its belief, through education. And one of the most effective way to educate and learn is through such “leadership practice” as mentioned above.

    Would leadership need to urge or compel people to follow, especially at this digital age with virtual or real networks?

    Chinese philosopher Lao Tse described Leadership 2500 years ago:

    A leader is best

    When people barely know he exists,

    Not so good when people obey and acclaim him,

    Worst when they despise him,

    But a good leader, who talks little,

    When his work is done, his aim is fulfilled,

    They will all say “We did this ourselves” (in Rogers, 1983:145)

    Does it make sense?

  5. Hi John.

    Well yes, some leaders demand followers in order to effect the leader’s wills/promote the leaders ideas.

    And some people are naturally attracted to leaders, and thus become followers of leaders.

    Your Christ, if I understand correctly, arrived here with a purpose. Did his purpose include gaining followers? His disciples (followers) created new churches. Was having disciples part of his mission? Did not Christ find you?

    Even in your Lao quote:

    >But a good leader, who talks little,
    When his work is done, his aim is fulfilled,

    The leader has a mission (aim) and requires followers to fulfill it.

    My only point is that leaders must have followers, otherwise, whom do they lead?

  6. My comments left in Benjamin’s post http://wikieducator.org/User:Bnleez
    Hi Ruth and Ben,
    There are overlaps. How to analyse the effects of these connections? SNA reveals the quantitative parts, but the affective domains are often difficult to measure. The analytics that George has quoted might be looking at the “effects”. but is it predictive? As it is all based on the past experience, the weak and strong ties often swing like a pendulum in the networks, especially as each node has changing needs and expectations and so all the effects could be mixed. Besides, like marriages, who could predict what happens? Otherwise, there would not be any divorce (or the old saying: if we know the future, who would marry if it would surely end with a divorce?) So, it sounds perfect in business with those classification, but in social networking, I am not so sure with the demarcation, and the effects. Like to see how you and others would interpret.
    John

  7. Pingback: Connectivism and Relational Trust » Collaborative Understandings

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