What about rhizomatic learning?
Very interesting post, Keith. I like the way you describe about the MOOCs. Common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, backbone support could be both necessary and sufficient conditions to achieve team goals, provided there are a right mix of team players, under the right culture, and right emergent context and condition, when we apply them to a complex learning environment. Would that be an ideal way of working in collectives and group setting?
I think there had been some experiences when I was immersed in MOOCs, with small clusters – like my work with Roy and Jenny, and Rita and Helene on research projects. However, when it comes to the big picture of MOOC, all these conditions would be contingent upon who and what we are working on. For instance, when we (or you) are blogging, would it be true that we are trying to explore what may be reflective of the reality, and thus searching for those truth? This may be achieved through individual and collective inquiry, reflective thinking and feedback, turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge when thinking aloud.
Relating back to rhizomatic learning, I do find it very interesting, in that it is based on an organic metaphor (an organic fractal formation and growth using a plantation metaphor), viewing such organic connections in a wild open ecology. I do see there are conditions and constraints imposed on the organic growth, which are based on physical space and time, the nutrients (water etc.) and other predators (like weeds, insects) or even the soil condition (imagine if these rhizomes are now transplanted to a desert environment). Those group learning conditions might be possible in clusters in MOOCs, but it is fairly hard to have groups of learners having similar and agreed shared goals, mainly because of differences in interests, motivation, background and degree of involvement.
Weak ties (in MOOCs) behave often differently from the strong ties (in our groups in organisation) as far as team and group working and learning is concerned. In fact, what may be determining all these sort of behavior would likely be true if we assume that group works in MOOCs, which to me, might be true for some clusters of learners or educators who are more comfortable in group and team working, especially when they are already working in teams in their institutions. For bloggers who are more interested in self-exploration, then very small group (2-3 members) may be formed to achieve the goals set and agreed upon.
Apart from theorizing in the course of learning in MOOCs, I also find it interesting to learn and share on the pedagogy and technical skills in the use and application of tools. Pedagogy first, a course developed by Lisa Lane and her colleagues is on offer and this post by Jenny provides an overview and some of the interesting aspects of the course. As the focus is relating more on the teachers’ literacies, skills development, and pedagogy, it is a highly recommended MOOC (or SOOC, as Lisa likes to name it, due to the medium size of participants in the course).
Learning by action through playing around with the tools (like slide cast, podcast, videos production) etc., with those MOOCs (DS106, Pedagogy first, ETMOOCs) would surely be helpful in developing and reinforcing skills in the use of multi-media in teaching.
Again different people (educators and learners in particular) have different tastes, and styles of learning. So there might be a lot of assumptions that we have to make when theorising learning in a networked and complex learning environment.
What works in institutions may not always work in a social network learning environment, mainly due to the self-organising and emergent behavior of both people and networks. Similarly, what works in network learning environment could not be easily transferred back to the organisational setting, due to the various constraints and tensions in between the two. The various factors such as decision making, power distribution, and human behavior (individuals, networks, groups, collectives) etc. would influence how individuals and groups of people would learn in organisation and in MOOCs.
What are the differences and similarities when learning under a network and organisation setting?
Postscript: A good reference on Complexity and Emergence – embracing emergence how collective impact addresses complexity (from Keith’s post)
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