#PLENK2010 Why are people staying away from the forum?

Thanks for sharing from Ken.  I may have enough of “forum” now, so better to spend time researching & blogging.

I notice a trend in the MOOC in that many “experts” and knowledgeable others are moving away from forum, for reasons that have been shared by many in their postings – with George and Stephen in particular, where reflective learning could be perceived as more valuable, especially when they are using the blogs.  I do think this trend is obvious for many scholars and academic experts now, and that may impact on the use LMS and online Moodle forum in educational institutions, especially when novice & experts are both staying away from the LMS after a brief stay……

So, what might be the reasons for people sharing in the forum at the start?

Here is my experience & findings from previous research:

The reasons why people like to use the forum include:

(a) sharing and filtering of ideas, artifacts and having debates in forum (discourse)

(b) having a central place for discussion, and an aggregation of ideas, artifacts

(c) fostering of group formation and collaborative learning through inquiry

(d) lurking (legitimate peripheral learning) or self-directed learning

(e) understanding of other learners’ views and perspectives through posting of questions or responses

(f) developing relationship with others through engagement, interaction and communication

There are however, many barriers that have hindered the forum discussion

So, why are people staying away from the forum in PLENK?  Would these include?

(a) perceived power and control amongst participants.  Would this be perceived as an arena for “Socratic questioning”?

(b) strong or cynical (perceived negative) views, posts, comments or responses that may be perceived by participants.  Would this lead to uncomfortable feelings for others to respond?

(c) language barriers amongst participants

(d) topics or posts not relevant to participants interests

(e) overwhelming information and difficulties in comprehending the discussion threads, which could cause the “forum fatigue syndrome”

(f) a loss of interests in the discussion

(g) participants perception of discussion being a very serious academic discourse

(h) lack of fun

(i) What is in it for me (WIIIFM) in the discussion, debates or discourse

And the list goes on….

You name it…..

The  above are just my re-collection of some of the past experiences in Forum discussions (including social networking, and MOOC).

Does it mean that PLE/N is now winning over LMS in this round of PLENK?  I think many PLENKERS are now drivers on the PLENK….

How about your experiences and views?


#PLENK2010 Reflection on Learning and Assessment

Jenny asks in her post of The tyranny of teaching with content: How do we prevent the type of assessment which measures content coverage and memory of facts on one day, only for it to be forgotten on the next day?

My response: How about project, workplace or problem-based projects?

I have been using project-based learning as a driver of learning and assessment for myself and my learners. So practical experiential and project or problem-based learning/assessment is  just like virtual driving, where the learner would be applying what he/she has learnt in a course of study at work or on a particular task, research project both online and offline.  Through such a hands-on action task (creation of blog posts, a wiki, an artifact or an eportfolio), the learner is continuing growing his/her capability of learning, like the growth model of knowledge here as espoused by Stephen. The PLE/N that is built around the project would be another useful tool to achieve the purpose – learning through the production of an artifact. So, learning to be would be based on (a) technology, tools and systems (PLE/N), (b) identification of a problem, filtering of information, analysis of the issues involved, development of options, make a recommendation or decision and implement (i.e. the plan-do-check-act-review) learning and reflect cycle, and (c) immerse oneself into different networks based on PLE/N and work out an adaptive solution that would suit ones’ needs, and (d) refine the goals of learning and assessment – with self and peer assessment through continuous research.

Photo: From wikipedia

Here the learning and assessment could be built around the knowledge of how people learn and so I would argue that learning and assessment are juxtaposed, and shouldn’t be separated from each other in a formal course of study.

As assessment is the collection of evidences by the learner in the learning process, then any artifacts and portfolios collected could be used as a management framework upon which Personal Knowledge is based upon. This is also the Personal Management Knowledge that is referred to by Lilia here.

I think this is also the focus of PKM and here by Harold when a learner is managing knowledge in a professional field, as part of his her personal life-long and wide learning journey.

#PLENK2010 Motivation and Needs Hierarchy

This is a further reflection of my previous post on learners needs.   Thanks Mary for sharing the Maslow Needs Hierarchy in her comments.

I like this post on Maslow Needs Hierarchy. There are some common themes with my suggested additional hats here on transformational thinking and additional hats where I suggested the colorless and purple hats as ways of thinking.  In reflection, this seems to align well with the Spiritual Health – on harmony, unity, desire to help others, compassion etc.

Source of : Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs post.

Would the need for self esteem and self actualization provide a pattern for understanding the needs of the participants (both instructors and learners) of PLENK? What are the needs of participants?  Are most aiming to satisfy their social needs, need for self esteem and self actualization?

This paper on Why Share Knowledge? The Influence of ICT on the Motivation for Knowledge Sharing by Paul Hendricks provides an interesting insight into motivation of people in knowledge sharing.

The simple equation that knowledge sharing is good for organizations cannot be sustained. Knowledge can be augmented if it is shared, knowledge sharing may also prove detrimental to knowledge. The first will occur if people truly learn from each other. The second is to be expected if inadequate representations of knowledge are transferred between people. Both the acts of externalization and internalization (see Figure 2) require that knowing subjects should recognize the value of the knowledge to be shared. Otherwise, there is no knowing how both these processes, that require active intellectual involvement of the knowledge sharers, are best constructed. The key to success in knowledge sharing is that the personal ambition should match the group ambition. Therefore, also the touchstone for successful ICT applications for knowledge sharing is the question how they relate to these ambitions, and to the motivation of knowledge workers to match them.

So, based on such learning, is the sharing in networks also sustainable?  What are the motivations behind such sharing of knowledge amongst participants – i.e. networkers or PLENK participants? Would the touchstone for successful PLE/PLN applications for knowledge sharing be based on the ambitions and motivations of participants of PLENK?

If so, what are your motivations as PLENK participants?

#PLENK Art of questioning

I have been employing questioning techniques throughout my teaching career.

What I realized was that: The more I know, the more that I know I don’t know, especially through questioning.  I may even be challenging myself with lots of questions, as part of the introspective reflection process.

So what do I know?

  • “Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don’t.”
    知之為知之,不知為不知,是知也. from a quote by Confucius in wikipedia
  • Since I participated in CCK08 (Connectivism and Connective Knowledge), I was further intrigued by the use of questioning in the forums.

    What are those fundamental challenges?

    Why do we need to create new tools? What functionality are we looking for?  Are such functionality available from the existing tools? Do we have enough information here?  Are the existing tools good enough?

    Why would we need to improve end user experience? What assumptions have we made on user experience? Why are the end users having difficulties in using the tools? How would we improve end user experience (with the existing tools that we/they use)?

    What and how are these questions based on? Why would we want/need to challenge our posters? Why would they pose these questions? What information have they gathered to justify the questions?

    What tools and criteria would you use to evaluate your questions and responses?

    What are the essential factors in Socratic questioning? When is it useful? With whom? How useful is it? Why?  (in PLENK)


    #PLENK2010 Learners’ needs

    Love what Jenny said here, the needs of learners come first.  Once there was an interesting motto: Customers are always right – they are the kings and queens, without them, the business won’t survive.  Sounds true.

    Whenever I posted such a motto to my students, they would be excited to debate.  So, if I were to re-phrase it in education: Are learners always right?  At least about their needs.  Are learners’ right under the perception of educators?

    Could we fulfill our learners’ needs?  If yes, they would be satisfied and happy. If not, why not, and how could we help and support them to fulfil their dreams (as peer learners or educators)?

    Would that be one of the keys to success in MOOC? Where many of our needs are so much different, how could we have some connective needs?  Are we trying to satisfy each other, apart from ourselves?

    Which of the following designs suit our learners?

    Photos: From Flickr

    Rita in her post: Socratic questioning or connectist participation in an information stream says:

    She (Maria) would like learning button where people could go to for answers to Socratic questions about a certain topic. Of course first a great number of people should be willing to ask the questions, but if enough people engage in it, a world of questions would be out there related to the interests of many people. She sees intrinsic motivation as the major driver to learning and envisages learners to want to engage to satisfy their natural curiosity. You can find a paper in which she elaborates on it here.

    My guess is that connectivists will find the questioning too structured as people would not be in control of their own learning, and won’t be actively engaged in producing artifacts. But if the pool of questions would be large enough in the fashion similar to the development of the wikipedia, and  reach a tipping point, the thing would start to lead a life of its own,  people would like to get involved and people would be able to see it as a bit of fun, some intellectual sparring.

    I think it depends on the learners’ needs rather than the educators’ needs. However, educators’ needs are important too, as they could play an important role in inspiring their peer educators and fellow learners.

    First, such way of questioning is already a way of teaching for decades, under the didactic teaching pedagogy.  Are the learners engaged in the teaching process? Again it depends on the questions posted, whether they are relevant to the learners’ needs.

    May be if the process of inquiry and Socratic questioning  is built around learners’ needs (curiosity), then it could reach a “critical mass” of knowledge “creation” or curation as suggested by Rita.

    Second, this quora could be the platform that would allow such Socratic questioning and “peer learning and sharing” to occur and develop in social and educational networks and media.  These may be competing with Twitter and Facebook in the microblogging and questioning.

    May be it’s still too early to know if it would develop into the sort of wikipedia that is popular.

    I could see the interesting collaboration happening in the blogosphere and forum, and that may be the start of connection, conversation, and interaction.  Or this may be the start of revolution around education, where everyone is looking for their voices to be heard and needs be met 🙂


    Postscript: Interesting to read Jenny’s post on the place of content in teaching and learning.  I think some content knowledge is still important in the early stages of learning, like that of the building of a house, which forms the foundation of knowledge.  However, higher order learning (or deep learning) goes far beyond the content, and that requires a deep reflection on the metacognition, and a balance between connection with tools and artifacts (for information and knowledge creation) and continuous reflection on critical literacies and critical thinking, that would enhance ones learning (learning to be).

    #PLENK 2010 Reflection on MOOC experiments

    My response to Chris Life under microscope
    I could understand how it feels when “PLENKers are lab rats running the maze of a completely unstructured learning experience so that the people in white coats can observe us and form theories about how lab rats learn so that they might build the personal learning environment of the future.”

    Photos: from Flickr


    First, I had been with Jenny throughout the journey in CCK08, and also experienced quite a lot on such learning environment with many others like Ken in the CCK courses. I could sense that you, like many others won’t feel comfortable with that role. That’s also why I have volunteered to conduct action research this time, rather than being just a participant, in order to gain a deeper understanding of MOOC/PLENK from different perspectives. I reckon if it is researched and learned with that in mind, then it will be more about “youself or myself” learning in the course, and how your way of learning would be influenced by the connections under such an ecology (course), rather than teaching and learning strategies in a typical formal course, which normally would be about “us (students) and them (instructors)” Without such experiment/experience, how would we be confident in “trying it out” with our students? Would it work for your students? If you use the plenk (MOOC) approach, why would your students bail out? What would you recommend instead? I love to hear.

    Photo: From PLENK blog
    Is this MOOC about teaching? In previous MOOC, there were many teachers joining the course, expecting to learn about “teaching strategies” in MOOC. No, CCK was about learning, and so is PLENK. That’s why you may have to justify your teaching methods (as you said), as this is about learning, not “teaching”….

    Photo: From Flickr

    The social ecology

    We need to have a humorous side of PLENK?