#Change11 Rhizomatic Learning

How far does rhizomatic learning reflect reality, especially in learning or social networks?

Dave response post provides more grounding on what rhizomatic learning is “What the rhizome metaphor is meant to impart is that the learning process is rhizomatic, it moves, shift, sprouts at different times and places (and different for different people). ”  Here Jenny and George raised questions on such modes of learning.

Jenny says:

The purpose of the rhizome is to support the shoots, leaves, flowers and fruit. (Not sure if purpose is the right word, but it does raise the whole issue of purpose in learning networks which I might come back to another time.) The rhizome cannot exist without shoots, leaves, flowers and fruit,  and they cannot exist without the rhizome.

I think rhizome refers to the connections between those chains, power and circumstances, as detailed here.  So as rhizome has no beginning or end, it is not the sort of “one thing” that has a prescribed chronology and organisation, rather, it favours normadic system of growth and propagation.  This conceptualizes that the members of the “tribe”  (based on rhizome) would roam from one place to another in search of information (or knowledge).

George says:

However, when rhizomes are considered in contrast with networks, I find the rhizome model begins to lose some appeal. The greatest weakness I see with the rhizome model is that rhizomes do nothing new. They only make more of what already exists. And they can only make more of themselves. This is the opposite of diversity – it is extreme monoversity (it’s not a word,  I checked, but it works for me). While rhizomes are diverse in shape and structure – growing, adapting, sprouting, replicating – they are not diverse in substance – i.e. rhizomes do not morph into new organic entities.

Are rhizomes diverse in substance?  I think rhizomes could be one way to describe the “organic learning” as in gardening, where roots, shoots, and branches all inter-mingle in a complex way.   I would argue, it may be a useful concept to understand why the multiplicity of such rhizomes is important, as it defies certain structures which would limit its growth.  As Dave mentioned in the video in the Coolcast below, if you break the rhizome into two, and put them into different gardens, then they would grow, adapt, sprout and replicate in their own gardens.

George continues: “I don’t see networks as a metaphor for learning and knowledge. I see learning and knowledge as networks. In global, digital, distributed, and complex settings, a networked model of learning and knowledge is critical.”

I see networks as a metaphor for learning and knowledge, and learning and knowledge as networks.  Why? networks could be a representational pattern where knowledge be recognised, as shared here and here.  See this amazing video referred by George. What sort of patterns (knowledge) are revealed here, the concept of emergence.

In this Community as Curriculum by Dave, he provides a unique view on how community could be used as a Curriculum, where people could share and learn together.  He distinguishes between two different types of community.

I have shared similar views to Dave here and here, though I haven’t read his book chapter when reflecting on community learning.

Here is the Coolcast that Jeff, Dave and I were sharing.

I would have liked to expand my thinking about rhizomatic learning, but at this stage, I would leave it to you to share your views further.

I reckon an understanding of fact in rhizomatic learning is fundamental. “Misunderstanding of the difference between fact and theory sometimes leads to fallacy in rhetoric,[citation needed] in which one person will say his or her claim is factual whereas the opponent’s claim is just theory. Such statements indicate confusion as to the meanings of both words, suggesting the speaker believes that fact means “truth,” and theory means “speculation.” as mentioned in wikipedia.  So theory and factual could be differently interpreted by people.


6 thoughts on “#Change11 Rhizomatic Learning

  1. Hi John, This rhizome discussion does something with me. As a starter I could meditate on the non-existence of both network and rhizome. Both network and rhizome (in the sense we are using these words in this discussion) are names for very abstract concepts. And both are tools to work with. (Deleuze uses the word “tool” when he discusses the rhizome in his book “Rhizome”)
    Rhizome is used bij Deleuze as a tool to view ‘things’ as clear as possible. I use the word ‘things’ in a very wide sense. Chomsky is using the tree as an image to describe things and relations between things, Deleuze writes that things are not connected as in trees, like genealogy. Things are connected underground, in an unexpected way, not linear. In the network connections are visible, in a rhizomatic view we do not see the connections at first sight. we must dig for connections.
    Thinking rhizomatic about learning: When a student is Learning he is not just connecting things, he is digging for connections, he could invent connections. The network visualizes the result of learning, the rhizome is a tool to look at the things.
    regards Jaap

  2. @Jaap, Thanks for the sharing. I haven’t read the book by Deleuze, and so couldn’t comment on that further. Each philosopher – Deleuze, Chomsky, and Dave might have their own interpretation of the rhizome, and so do you, as a critical thinker. That to me, is the essential learning, by understanding the perceptions and interpretations of each of us, and the underlying assumptions and beliefs one makes, in postulating views, in reflecting on the practice. My question is: How to ask good questions to understand the perceptions that were formed by ourselves and others? As you said network visualizes the result of learning, the rhizome is a tool to look at the things. Is there a difference between such a tool and the connection that is envisaged?

  3. Pingback: #Change11 Rhizomatic Learning | Connectivism and Networked Learning | Scoop.it

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