This post is devoted to explore and reflect on Chaos Theory, Fractals, Knowledge and Learning.
How to describe knowledge and learning at this digital age?
One way is to describe knowledge as a network phenomena, under Connectivism.
How is learning achieved in MOOCs?
If people want to learn simple factual information (and content and procedural knowledge), best practice, go to school, or attend the xMOOCs. In this xMOOC movement:
The potential is boundless, according to some educational specialists, they see it as a way of providing students in the developing world with access to the international educational ladder.
But while they also allow students to interact with each other, is this online experience a step too far and is there an opportunity for universities to try more for a mix of teaching methods?
If people want to learn complex, emergent knowledge and practice, they could join the online community, and immerse in the open, digital, vibrant cMOOCs. In a connectivist MOOC, the best interactive lectures are un-lecture (through shifting preaching or “one-way lecturing” to dialogues, critiques, and conversation), and best learning comes from networked learning action, reflection cycle, with focus on metacognition integrated and embedded in each learning experience. Best practice is contingent to the actual needs of the engaging agents, to collaborate and cooperate in solving problems, where each one’s interests are catered for. This is where complex pattern could be boiled down to simple heuristics, easy to understand and mutually agreeable language patterns.
What I have been thinking of is the use of Fractals in understanding knowledge and learning.
If we were to conceive knowledge as conversation, & that a set of connections (the engagement), I could also interpret this as a development like the fractals, where such fractal would repeat itself but its shape would be based on initial conditions of agents, with “spirals” & re-birth or re-configuration of different fractals (patterns) emerging in different forms. Such fractal formation would be dependent on feedback and looping back into other posts, via the linkage, and thus could be amplified or dampened as the pattern developed.
Another application of fractals would be to conceive the footprint of emergence as a pattern that relates to fractal development in emergent knowledge and learning development.
The role of organising emergent learning ‘scapes is an engaged curatorial role, rather than a teaching, facilitating, or even moderating one. Curating the topography of learning requires the course convenor to step back at times; it not only invites but requires self-organization, self-motivation, and creativity.
Refer to Learning across Cultures (R Williams, J Mackness, S Gumtau – researchgate.net)
Emergent learning is likely to occur when many self-organising agents interact frequently and openly, with considerable degrees of freedom, but within specific constraints; no individual can see the whole picture; and agents and system co-evolve (3).
The properties of emergent learning – based on interaction would then form the basis of fractals, where such interactions repeat in various forms, as in the case of rhizomatic learning, or in connectivist learning all based on interaction and connectivity.