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?


4 thoughts on “CCK11 Connection with networks and communities

  1. How would *anyone* go about explaining something with no linguistic or propositional characteristics? Without language and logic, how do we communicate?
    As I am also a musician, I can report explaining something without linguistic. “Just play and someone will listen and hear the feeling, the movement, of the music”. I can even explain what a member of the band should play just by playing my part, or by playing his, or by moving my leg.

  2. I agree with your statement: “how would *anyone* go about explaining something with no linguistic or propositional characteristics? Without language and logic, how do we communicate?”
    The fact that we are reading this blog or others implies that we are trying to gain some form of learning through words and patterns. By connecting with others, there is still a need to intereact with words and patterns in order to agin recognition of the message and the concept to be learnt.
    As for whether an educator should be like that of a cognitive scientist, I truely believe so. If we a teachers are teaching based on our own “frameing and understanding” without really understand how how learners learn, then how can our planned lesson take effects on the learner? But again the hard truth is that do we have the luxury of time to perform the rigors of thinking how our learners are learning? Not all the time. So let us not be too hard on ourselves as educator. But that again des not give us the reason not to think about the way we teach.

  3. @Cheong Tuck Wai Yes, in the reading and interpretation of blog posts, “we” are relying on the use of language and reasoning, where syntax could also be important in a certain message, to ensure that the message is encoded in a proper form, so as to allow for a decoding by the receiver. This is the case in written communication (when the message is in the form of writing). However, one may argue that the interaction and communication could take other forms, like music (as Jaapsoft2 mentioned), picture, videos, patterns etc. whereas the meaning behind the message “transmitted” through those media may be interpreted differently by different people. This is also why a connectivist approach towards learning provides an alternative explanation of what knowledge is, and how learning occurs. In other words, when we refer to knowledge being distributed across networks, we are referring to the networked learning across networks, within one’s mind (cognitively) (based on cognitivism) and neuronically ) (based on connectionism and neuroscience). Communication only make sense if the meaning behind the message (blog post here) is clearly understood by others, though whether such meaning is constructed or not due to the various interpretation is still debatable.

    “But again the hard truth is that do we have the luxury of time to perform the rigors of thinking how our learners are learning? Not all the time.” Yes, that is why as an educator, we need to develop a better understanding of how we (both as an educator and learner) learn. This begs the question: Is how we teach similar to how we learn, in a networked learning environment? By learning (and thus sharing) in an open and transparent manner, aren’t we in fact teaching (and sharing) too? This is theorising a bit on teaching, but we might have separated the teaching from learning so significantly in the past, that might have led us to believe that we must “teach” our students, so they could learn. Aren’t we still relying on our planned lessons to teach our students in networks? If yes, then we are back to the traditional instructional model of teaching, where on one hand, we assume that learners would learn ALL through the lesson, but on the other hand that we could teach most effectively with such mode of teaching. Is that learning effective in an online environment? May be for some learners, but not all, I suppose.

    Stephen in his paper highlights his interpretation of connectivist learning and connective knowledge, and I think it’s worthwhile to rethink about the significance of teaching and learning online. I think when we talk about Paris as the capital of France, then it is as simple as it means, though there may be lots of connections of neurons, and networking in the brain, within my brain and your brain. It would make a difference in meaning and interpretation if I show others a picture of Paris and ask what it means, since my intention is just to show what Paris is. Would intention (and proposition) be important in communication?

    Could the learner be the teacher? Would self-directed learning be equally effective in an online learning environment? These may be the practical questions of an educator (like me).

    Thanks Cheong and Jaapsoft2 for your visit and valuable comments.

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention CCK11 Connection with networks and communities | Suifaijohnmak's Weblog --

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