In this All models are wrong Keith sets the tone and proposes that all models are wrong and some are useful.
Here are the slides referred to:
Are models right or wrong? I think models are just forms of representation that may metaphorically represent what work under a certain context, based on certain interactions in the teaching and learning environment, and findings from empirical research or theoretical hypothesis. Sometimes, these models could rightly describe the state of the art of learning in a particular situation, but would be hard to generalize in other scenarios, when time changes and new information and technology emerges. What may be a useful and helpful model would always relate to active, engaging learning.
Active learning, is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. For instance, collaborative learning, cooperative learning, problem based learning are all useful means to achieve the learning goals, in particular in group learning in schools. The core elements of active learning is the introduction of activities into the traditional lecture and the promotion of student engagement. Learning, could be centered around engagement and connections under an active learning paradigm. Is such learning described, analysed, and explained under a Theory of Learning or a Theory of Teaching? These might have been researched, and the principles coined under both behavioral-cognitivist in classroom learning, and constructivism in group and networked learning in school and community setting. However, it is based on a Theory of Teaching, where pedagogy is emphasised.
As Stephen mentions in his conversation here Connectivism is a Theory of Learning NOT that of teaching. I have conceived that in my learner blog here. Based on Stephen’s discussion here on social media, I am reflecting on why Connectivism and MOOC are more likely be based on social media, where learning is the construction and navigation of distributed knowledge (pattern and its recognition) over networks. Does it explain why teachers and educators who are trained and educated under Constructivism and Social Constructivism would view Connectivism as counter-intuitive? Educators are LOOKING FOR an education and learning theory that could be applied in the classroom, but it seems that this learning theory is focused on the LEARNERS in the networks, and in particular the social networks, which are outside schools, classrooms, and the formal education closed walled environment.
I have argued in my previous posts here and here on Connectivism versus Constructivism. It seems the meaning making as defined in Constructivism (as knowledge representation) is not the same as the meaning as defined under Connectivism where knowledge is pattern recognition and is based on experience and action, with growth of knowledge as the ultimate goal in mind. Also, under Connectivism, such knowledge could reside outside the mind, rather than just in the minds of people (under a Cognitivist approach).
So, are there right or wrong models of learning? I think there are only models which would more readily explain certain forms of learning. In the case of informal learning, such as social learning, then Connectivism would be a useful learning model that could mimic the learning that occurs in the networks. However, it could also explain how such learning is translated and “inducted” in individuals, where the growth of networks (as plasticity of brain) within one’s brain would also signify the growth of knowledge and capacity of learning.
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