#CCK11 On relational and relationship learning

Relational learning, (referred to by Lindsay Jordan), is an interesting concept in learning that I would like to review here.

Meanwhile, nearly all teachers live in fear of losing control of the classroom; hence, the desks all in rows, the steady stream of busy work, the perpetual quiet—and the resulting absence of relationships between and among students. Not having experienced Ashton Warner’s successful letting go, or George Dennison’s at the First Street School—which led him to write in Lives of Children (Random House 1969), “The principle of true order lies within the persons themselves”—these anxious educators insist that the sole learning relationship be between teacher and student. The conventional structure that they cling to like a drowning person to a lifeboat demands that they be the nexus of all interactions in the classroom, eliminating any possibility of the kids’ educating each other.

Relationship building in learning is one of the fundamentals in both strong and weak ties in networked learning.

Here in my previous post on Strong versus Weak Ties

In this Little Boxes, Glocalization and Networked Individualism by Barry Wellman

Much thinking about digital cities is in terms of community groups. Yet, the world is composed of social networks and not of groups. This paper traces how communities have changed from densely-knit “Little Boxes” (densely-knit, linking people door-to-door) to “Glocalized” networks (sparselyknit but with clusters, linking households both locally and globally) to “Networked Individualism” (sparsely -knit, linking individuals with little regard to space). The transformation affects design considerations for computer systems that would support digital cities.

Are strong ties losing favour to weak ties for individuals (educators and learners)?
Let’s see.  My reflections
Strong versus weak ties
How many of us have strong connections (or ties) with our colleagues, our immediate supervisors or family members, relatives?
Do we share our inner feelings and emotions (level 3 and 4, the deep ones) with them?
Do we trust them?
Do we comment and criticise them?
Do we judge them in a fair way?

Have you got polarised answers?  Why?

Why do people prefer weak ties to strong ties?

– Could establish ”trust” and friendship with someone at a private level (i.e. with those who are not close at work or family)

– Protect ones privacy and identity

– Hold ones integrity

– Less conflict

– More willing to share due to openness

– Become more confident in establishing relationships

– Wider connections – gain insights from diverse perspectives and learning from different domains

– A “test of uncharted waters” – could try different networks, connections

– Failure to connect or interact doesn’t harm that much, could try again

– Have dream “partners”, “co-learners”, “professors” or “instructors”…

Are there any implications with this strong versus weak ties?

Limitations with staying on with strong ties (work place, strong groups or communities)

– Learning with your peers, colleagues and supervisor or family members is limited to that of your family group, section, organisation, and sometimes within the same domain, the closed little box

– Group think – everybody tries to conform to the rules, and please others to create harmony.  Complacency follows.

– Wrong decisions – finger pointing, poor communication, poor judgment, misinterpretation of patterns

– Waiting to be directed at work or at home, especially when one is under an autocratic “leadership” environment. Why border? Lack of initiative. Lack of innovation. Low self esteem, confidence and motivation to learn.

– Dare not share the beliefs with others.  Poor trust and respect on each others resulting from conflicts. Poor relationships follow

– Competition rather than collaboration.  Lose – Lose becomes the way

– Politics, control, gossiping, destructive comments and criticisms poison the ties.

Merits with strong ties

– Learning with your strong connections could more easily establish professional “friendship” and “respect”

– A team approach towards problem solving. Team building leading to even stronger ties.

– Common vision and missions.  Gearing of strategies towards vision and missions.

– Adoption of a pragmatic approach in collaboration.

– Win-Win, if the team develops positively towards “Best Practice”. Continuous improvement and innovation.

In the case of mentoring, it is built principally on relationship, and thus relational learning:

the matching of mentors and mentees is a critical factor which could determine the success of a mentoring program, as the relationship established between the mentor and mentee would greatly impact on the outcome of the mentoring.  Personal learning style, personality of the mentors and mentees would also be important consideration in the mentoring matching. (my previous post on mentoring)

Jenny wrote about the relationship between emotions and learning in CCK08 here:

There is a lot of research (from John Dewey onwards and probably even before) about the relationship between emotion and learning. The centrality of emotion to the process of learning is recognised. So it’s not surprising that so much emotion is evident in this course. What is surprising for me is the intensity of the emotion, far higher than I have ever experienced online before, and the amount of negative emotion – again much more than I have experienced before. I think there could be an interesting research study on the role of emotion in relation to learning in this course/network and why such intense emotions have been elicited.

Emotions, relationships are core to learning.

[PDF] from yuntech.edu.tw F Selnes… – Journal of Marketing, 2003 – JSTOR
The authors develop a theory of how management can develop and promote the learning capabilities of targeted customer-supplier relationships. The theory suggests that a supplier and a customer can improve their joint learning activities by facilitating information exchange,

It addresses 3 research questions:

1. How can relationship learning be defined and operationalized, and how is it conceptually different from organizational learning?

2. How can relationship learning be promoted, and what other factors are likely to affect it?

3. What is the role of trust in effective relationship-learning process?

How would these be answered and interpreted in (a) school setting, (b) social networked learning, and (c) networked learning in MOOC?

So, lots of food for thoughts.  I hope to follow this through with a post consolidating my thoughts on trust, emotions and relationship in learning.


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