CCK11 How I see criticism and learning theories

I am glad to learn Ailsa’s views about ANT and Connectivism. Your quote: “Criticism that hands down sentences sends me to sleep; I’d like a criticism of scintillating leaps of the imagination.” resonated with my experience. Criticism is like a double- edged sword, it could be disruptive or destructive to relationship, if delivered with an inappropriate tone. However, it could also spark new understanding of each others, when done in a constructive manner, which would enlighten us to reflect more deeply about our relationship with others, and thus gain a better insight into all those theories with multiple perspectives. May be it is a matter of interpretation and perspective amongst people when it comes to all learning theories of our time.

Don’t we all have our own preferences of learning, and autonomy in choosing what suits us best in our life?

Thanks Ailsa for your great insights.

Here is another post that relates to conflicts and criticism:



10 thoughts on “CCK11 How I see criticism and learning theories

  1. hi John, nice to catch up again, and thanks for checking out my blog.
    I used to be a critical social theorist, a world view that was pretty near criticising and negative all the time! In shifting to actor-network theory I have learned a lot about not being quite so negative about where other people are coming from. Their view/reality/ is as situated as my own. However, that doesn’t mean walking away from issues of critique or of power. Latour talks about ‘talking of politics vs being political’ Being political involves being in relation with, not walking away from…He also brings up the story of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, his sin was not that he made a monster, his sin was that he took no responsibility for being involved in its development. I have been thinking alot about this in regard to the use of communication technologies and computers for my phd, but it is i think just as relevant in other fields of change, learning theories included 🙂

  2. Hi Ailsa,
    I greatly appreciate your sharing of insights. “Being political involves being in relation with, not walking away from” That’s is a political, yet powerful message from a critical stance. Isn’t it? I love your story of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and yes, the implications that evolved from the development of some “innovative or novel” practice of technology, without thorough considerations of some of the aftermaths effect. The stem cells research, the cloning experiments, the genetically modified crops, the implants of chips into human body etc. are all areas of research that deserve more widespread debates and discourse as to how they would impact human development. The ICT, and its use in education and learning is an overarching tool and system that requires us to reflect more deeply on the long term implication, from political, humanistic and educational, and economic rationalist points of views, so as to provide an optimal solution to the development of the society. How would we be able to embrace such Web 2.0 and ICT in our formal education and informal learning? Would this also depend on how such technology would allow us to prosper as a community or society, and to better understand each others’ perspective in our pathway towards “better” education and learning? What are some of the underlying ethical principles relating to the application of ICT?

  3. The debate:
    I see Frances Bell has entered the debate, and makes reference to an upcoming paper where she will make an argument that connectivism is less of a theory and more of a phenomenon etc.
    But really, I find that I am not interested much in the debate, it’s almost like trying to put a stopper in the bottle after the genie has already emerged. Connectivism is a theory, by simple definition. It has gained some traction, by practice. Whether it stands the test of time, or morphs into something else is yet to be seen.

    btw. have you tried to log into PLENK2010 lately? I tried, and rec’d an e-mail that my profile has been removed from the database. I wonder if it is closed?

  4. Hi Ken,
    I haven’t tried PLENK2010 lately, so not sure what has happened. Sorry that I couldn’t help much.
    I have reservations in debating these in public, after rounds of CCK, CritLit2010 and PLENK, though an open “forum” of debates could spark new understanding of Theory of Learning – in particular ANT, Situated Learning and Connectivism.
    I prefer to have academic discourse on networked learning, may be in a separate or closed space, to allow for more “open” inquiry and reflection. Why? I think what is needed is discourse based on Critical thinking: well-thought arguments, with logical reasons, well researched claims with evidences, clearly presented perspectives. What happens if the discourse is based on strong negative emotions and feelings, personal attacks and destructive criticism, and no respect of each others’ thoughts and perspectives in an open space? Will there be flaming, counter-attack, defense, followed by a round of applause by the winners versus a round of mourning by the losers in the debate? What would “we” learn from such a debate?
    What is the purpose of such debate? Will learning occur? What will be the consequence of the debate? I don’t know.
    As you said: Connectivism is a theory, by simple definition. It has gained some traction, by practice. Whether it stands the test of time, or morphs into something else is yet to be seen.
    Have I changed my thoughts? I still think there are values with Connectivism as a Learning Theory as revealed in my What’s New in Connectivism. And we have debated on that too.

    Is it a matter of choice for educators and learners? If we have access to networked learning, how “lucky” are we compared to those who don’t have access to the connections, or who are banned from the connections? Educators and learners are always connected, and valued, where Connectivism just strengthens it further, on a global and digital scale, with a wider landscape.

    Thanks for sharing your valuable insights.


  5. Thaks you,
    Maybe here is some cultural differences. In some cultures criticism is dangerous because people get hurt by it. In other cultures criticism is common.
    In most cultures it is best to choose the right words for criticism, so knowledge of language could make a difference. Words in Australia do have a different meaning from words in Kansas, and non-English people might even just use the wrong words and hurt without knowing.
    So please don’t get hurt by criticism too soon, maybe it is your language or culture that does hurt you. .
    Hope I did use the right words here 😉

  6. Hi John,
    yes, i think we have been thinking about parallel concerns, regarding responsibility with our technologies and with each other.

  7. Thanks Jaap for your great sharing.
    I am totally with you, relating to cultural differences and the use of language by people who are coming from non-English speaking backgrounds. I also think that would help us in understanding each other’s values and culture through conversation, and thus build up a collaborative or cooperative relationship in learning.

    Thanks for your kind words too.


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