CCK11 Sensemaking in education and learning

Sensemaking: A term that sounds familiar but often difficult to grapple in education and learning.  In essence, Sensemaking is the process by which people give meaning to experience.

As mentioned here in wikipedia:

In one application, sensemaking is approached as the ability or attempt to make sense of an ambiguous situation. More exactly, sensemaking is the process of creating situational awareness and understanding in situations of high complexity or uncertainty in order to make decisions.  It is “a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively” (Klein et al., 2006a).

I could see its significance when learning in a virtual networked or online learning environment (on the webs and internet), where complex, emergent learning are involved.

Would sensemaking be an important “capability” or ability to learn through a complex learning landscape, where connections are scattered all over distributed networks and spaces?

As a sensemaker, a blogger (or a Twitterer) could create, build, navigate or sustain connections with others, nodes or artifacts.  A blogger would also need to master various skills, such as social, information literacy, communication and technological skills, critical literacies, reflective thinking and reflexive methodology, and also metacognition that are required for successful and deep networked learning.

Would that explain why blogging, as part of sensemaking “tools” would be much more demanding than it seems in terms of skills and capability required by the sensemaker?  Who would read a blog post if it doesn’t make sense of a situation (say a story)?  May be that is also the beauty of using blogging in connecting with others – that could make sense to us and others!  That would allow for “connective” learning to emerge upon interaction.

How would you make sense with your blog postings or comments?  Through stories? Rambling? Meandering? Research comments and evaluations? Serendipity?

I have yet to think through how sensemaking could help in solving complex learning problems in an organisational setting.  More to come…


Making Sense of Sensemaking (important paper on sensemaking)

Maureen, D.  (1995) Sensemaking: A collaborative inquiry approach to “doing” learning The Qualitative Report, Volume 2, Number 2, October, 1995 (

What is Sensemaking?