CCK11 Connection with networks and communities

Lindsay shares here on language and logic:

How would *anyone* go about explaining something with no linguistic or propositional characteristics? Without language and logic, how do we communicate?

Widged responded with:

As educator, our focus is rather on instructional design. Our task is not to understand how learning happens, that’s what cognitive scientists do (cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists). Our task is to use the knowledge provided by others as to how learning happens to design instruction that works. Our job is to implement.

If I understand Widged correctly, then he was emphasising on the instructional design rather than an understanding of how learning happens.  Should an educator (as a learner or knowledgeable other) understand how learning happen?  If not, how could an educator help the learners in learning? Besides, why would an educator use the knowledge provided by others to design instruction that works?  Would the educator need to work with the learners in the design of instruction?  Is our job as an educator just to implement?

Frances in her response to Lindsay’s post includes slides here. Frances concludes: Connectivism as personal theory – allows practitioners to legitimise what they are doing (Cormier).  Connectivism as a knowledge network, learn from itself, include ANT, SST and other descriptive theories, BUT need rich case studies to provide empirical base.

Is Connectivism a personal theory of learning? I think it tries to explain how and why learning occurs based on connections, within oneself cognitively, conceptually, and with others socially through networks.  So successful learning would depend on one’s connection with others and artifacts – or connectivity with engagement and communication in networks.

So what does it mean to be connected with others, or artifacts?  Would people need to connect with others based on a communication model – using language and logic?  May be if we want to understand each others’ thoughts, we need to go beyond the “traditional” understanding of the typical communication model in networked learning.

Photo: wikipedia

How does communication work?  Communication involves a sender encoding the message, transmitting the message via the media, and receiver decoding the message.  So, what are the assumptions here?  An understanding of others requires way beyond the expressed message – especially in writings in social media, where body languages are absent.  The sender may provide hints about his/her emotions based on emoticons and express feelings through tones of the language.  A TRUE understanding of others requires an open, trustworthy sharing of ideas, and feelings by each others, and so there is a certain level of INTERACTION between the nodes in the network.  Otherwise, it is a one way broadcast of ideas by the sender, with little or no feedback in the “communication process” from the receiver.

In Twitter, there may be one-way broadcasting or sharing of ideas and links, though there are amplification of tweets through re-tweets.  The followers may respond to the tweets which could lead to further conversation with brief tweets and links.

In Facebook, there may be more sharing of ideas and links and interaction between “friends” and communities, leading to a two-way communication.

In Quora, the posting of questions and responses may be one way of interaction where discourse could develop.  Due to the design of Quora, people who share common interests may form a network or community of interests based on the focussed questions.

In Jenny’s post of Connection is where we are here

She mentions: To me it seems that the emphasis in connectivism is often on social learning and social connections.  Personally I very much enjoy discussions with close friends/colleagues about mutual interests, so I am not anti-social – but I am aware that the extent of my social connection is very small compared to others on the web. I have no need for a wide circle of friends or connections and I respect those who prefer to be connected to concepts rather than people.

Is more connection better?  Though there are many merits with more connections, I don’t think that is always beneficial.  It depends on our needs and  what and how the connections would add value or benefit us.  Sometimes, the information overload (and the corresponding filter failure) could outweigh the benefits of connections.  What I think would be critical is how those connections would impact on us, in personal and professional growth and development, and how we would adapt ourselves to a changing ecology.

Stephen’s in his networks, neighborhoods and communities concludes:

If we can approach the concept of ‘interaction’ from the network perspective, allowing for the existence of many types or strands of interaction, many degrees or strengths of interaction, various interactive media, and more (as I tried to explain in this series).

I have discussed how interactions would impact on learning here on Students apathy or enthusiasm.

How would the types of interaction, degrees or strengths of interaction and types of interactive media impact on individual learning and learning community?

What are the essentials of supporting an online learning community?


CCK11 Testing and concept mapping

In this post on getting tested is better for studying than concept mapping:

Researchers this week have found that, for fact-based subjects, practising a retrieval exercise produces better test results than concept mapping.

Publishing in Science, the researchers claim that it’s both the act of recall and the act of reconstructing knowledge that are key for learning. But if you’re still a huge fanatic of concept mapping you could, of course, combine the two by creating a mind map from memory. So if you want to do well in exams, just make sure you test yourself!

Is learning an act of recall and reconstruction of knowledge, especially in Science?  This post on “Research finds practicing retrieval is best tool for learning” mentions that

The researchers showed retrieval practice was superior to elaborative studying in all comparisons.

“The final retention test was one of the most important features of our study, because we asked questions that tapped into meaningful learning,” said Karpicke.

I think this could be challenging for educators: on the notion of retrieval practice as a better way of learning.  Would this bring us back to the Mastery Learning as discussed here and here?

Mastery learning, which is based on retrieval practice could be very effective in classroom-based and self-paced learning.  Also it is aligned with the principles of learning with a content-based knowledge.  So, retention of knowledge could be enhanced by Mastery Learning.    But does it work equally well in a connectivist learning environment where knowledge is distributed, and most likely not a “thing” to be acquired (as proposed by Stephen in What Connectivism is not).  Here learners do not ‘acquire’ of ‘receive’ knowledge; learning is not a process of ‘transfer’ at all, much less a transfer than can be caused or created by a single identifiable donor.

What if learning involves reflective practice, which cannot be easily tested? There are science practices which are not only based on “factual information” but a process of critical thinking and reflection in the learning process.  What would be a more effective way to learn then?  Would it be a recall and reconstruction of knowledge? Or would it be using Web 2.0 tools such as blogs?

CCK11 Why blogging?

The responses to this question depend on whether one is a first time blogger (novice or beginner), an advanced or veteran, an expert or master blogger?

This may be a SIMPLE AND OLD question, but you may be surprised by how each of “us” would respond!

Here are my posts on blogging:

Myths and reality of blogging

Why should one blog?

Have bloggers polluted the media?

Resonance or dissonance in Blogging under Connectivism

Stephen shares some of his views and experience on blogging here and blogs in education

Jenny’s post about blogging here and here.

Lilia’s blog on her PhD and blogging

A reflection on the benefits of blogging


Blogging as social activity

Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC.  (pp. 275-284).

Blogging Practice

E-Learning Practices and Web 2.0

Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector

Web Logs and Online Discussions as Tools to Promote Reflective Practice

Why Blogs

Slides on Blogging:

What’s next?

I have been thinking about an ambitious project: On a meta-research on Blogging – collecting and synthesizing blogs of all kinds – great blog posts from Master to Expert Bloggers and wonderful blog posts from novice to advanced bloggers.  Perhaps leaving the evaluation of such blogs to our bloggers in the blogosphere!

Why Blogging? Your response……….