Love what Jenny said here, the needs of learners come first. Once there was an interesting motto: Customers are always right – they are the kings and queens, without them, the business won’t survive. Sounds true.
Whenever I posted such a motto to my students, they would be excited to debate. So, if I were to re-phrase it in education: Are learners always right? At least about their needs. Are learners’ right under the perception of educators?
Could we fulfill our learners’ needs? If yes, they would be satisfied and happy. If not, why not, and how could we help and support them to fulfil their dreams (as peer learners or educators)?
Would that be one of the keys to success in MOOC? Where many of our needs are so much different, how could we have some connective needs? Are we trying to satisfy each other, apart from ourselves?
Which of the following designs suit our learners?
Rita in her post: Socratic questioning or connectist participation in an information stream says:
She (Maria) would like learning button where people could go to for answers to Socratic questions about a certain topic. Of course first a great number of people should be willing to ask the questions, but if enough people engage in it, a world of questions would be out there related to the interests of many people. She sees intrinsic motivation as the major driver to learning and envisages learners to want to engage to satisfy their natural curiosity. You can find a paper in which she elaborates on it here.
My guess is that connectivists will find the questioning too structured as people would not be in control of their own learning, and won’t be actively engaged in producing artifacts. But if the pool of questions would be large enough in the fashion similar to the development of the wikipedia, and reach a tipping point, the thing would start to lead a life of its own, people would like to get involved and people would be able to see it as a bit of fun, some intellectual sparring.
I think it depends on the learners’ needs rather than the educators’ needs. However, educators’ needs are important too, as they could play an important role in inspiring their peer educators and fellow learners.
First, such way of questioning is already a way of teaching for decades, under the didactic teaching pedagogy. Are the learners engaged in the teaching process? Again it depends on the questions posted, whether they are relevant to the learners’ needs.
May be if the process of inquiry and Socratic questioning is built around learners’ needs (curiosity), then it could reach a “critical mass” of knowledge “creation” or curation as suggested by Rita.
Second, this quora could be the platform that would allow such Socratic questioning and “peer learning and sharing” to occur and develop in social and educational networks and media. These may be competing with Twitter and Facebook in the microblogging and questioning.
May be it’s still too early to know if it would develop into the sort of wikipedia that is popular.
I could see the interesting collaboration happening in the blogosphere and forum, and that may be the start of connection, conversation, and interaction. Or this may be the start of revolution around education, where everyone is looking for their voices to be heard and needs be met 🙂
Postscript: Interesting to read Jenny’s post on the place of content in teaching and learning. I think some content knowledge is still important in the early stages of learning, like that of the building of a house, which forms the foundation of knowledge. However, higher order learning (or deep learning) goes far beyond the content, and that requires a deep reflection on the metacognition, and a balance between connection with tools and artifacts (for information and knowledge creation) and continuous reflection on critical literacies and critical thinking, that would enhance ones learning (learning to be).