Questions, Assumptions and Conversation

Chris posted here about questions that could spark conversation

We were are hired to help facilitate something around a question that comes up, we have to remember that what we are doing is taking something out of the flow of work, turning it over and returning it to the stream.  Unless we are involved in deep systemic change – where the banks of the river change as it were – our work is about diverting some time and attention from the mainstream.

I think the 3 phases that Chris mentioned – Invitation, Hosting and harvesting, and Integration are extremely useful for the organisation consultation and facilitation, and could equally be applicable and useful  in the facilitation of online forum, blog conversation and community of practices sessions.

I do find that questions and assumptions always go hand-in-hand as elaborated here about Information Technology (IT) and online learning.  This could then lead to more critical questions on the basic assumptions made in any learning scenarios, and thus form the basis of conversations and dialogues in blogging and forums.

I have once written the Assumptions Theory that is important in applying the principles in situated learning or evaluating any learning theories.

For instance, what are the fundamental assumptions about Personal Learning Environments?  In this paper by Ilona Buchem, Graham Attwell and Ricardo Torres.

The central research question guiding this review was: What are the characteristic, distinguishing features of Personal Learning Environments?

They elaborated the importance of questions and assumptions:

The myriad of open questions makes clear that the PLE concept necessitates examination of some common assumptions and practices. This report expands upon previous literature reviews by Johnson, et al. (2006), Schaffert & Kalz (2009), Fiedler & Väljataga (2010). We assume that this is the first systematic analysis of PLEs based on the Activity Theory model.

In this post of Open University research explodes myth of ‘digital native’ by Gerald, the assumptions made about digital natives were investigated and challenged:

“We found no evidence for any discontinuity in technology use around the age of 30 as would be predicted by the Net Generation and Digital Natives hypothesis,” says the report. What the researchers do find interesting and worthy of further study is the correlation – which is independent of age — between attitudes to technology and approaches to studying. In short, students who more readily use technology for their studies are more likely than others to be deeply engaged with their work.

“Those students who had more positive attitudes to technology were more likely to adopt a deep approach to studying, more likely to adopt a strategic approach to studying and less likely to adopt a surface approach to studying.”

So, if what the research revealed is correct, then the assumptions about digital natives and net generation would need to be considered in light of their attitudes to technology, rather than their age.  This also requires reflective thinking and collaborative inquiry.

In conclusion, questions, assumptions when raised and shared in networks and Community of Practice or Interest (COP or COI) would likely spark conversation.  Such conversation would be the basis in organisation and networks learning and development.   Without conversation, learning would be limited.  Conversation would then be the organic “blood streams” which connect the actors. The dialogue and conversation would likely be mediated through social media and networks, as collaborative, appreciative and connective inquiry.  Such inquiry would often deepen the understanding of the phenomenon, principles of theory and application of theory in education and learning scenarios.

Further research is needed to reveal the importance of questions and assumptions in research in networked and community learning.

#edu MOOC #MOOC Building a new Eco-System by fusing social networks into education institutions (HE)?

I love watching this video and what Clay said in his presentation

He highlighted the 3 dilemmas:

1. The dilemma between individual work and group work

Collaborative work is often how people learn best. But how would this happen in learning networks?  How does it work in MOOC?

How about MOC (My own creation) or MOOC (My own created course) within an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)?  Would this resolve the dilemma between individual work and group work?

2. The dilemma between the degree of participation and participatory eco-systems

– Dealing with the gap in degrees of individual participation

– Treat classes as eco-systems

In reflection, this dilemma is especially relevant in the case of MOOCs (like the CCK08, CCK09, CritLit2010, PLENK2010, CCK11).  There were significant gaps in degrees of individual participation, with a few percentage of active participation and contribution, and a majority of participants as peripheral participants and learners (the lurkers)

3. The dilemma of academic self-conception: the difference between what we think of ourselves and what’s possible in the world.  Here Clay explained how the disciplinary matrix has influenced our academic self-conception.

Finally, Clay suggested that we should build a new eco-system.  I think this requires a lot of experimentation on the creative use of new and emergent technologies, internet and web resources, social media and pedagogy.  This also inspired me to conceive MOOC as an experimental education and learning model to build such an eco-system.

The #MOOC discourse continued #eduMOOC

I read this post on MOOC with interests.

So… what should be done about MOOCs? Refuse to stand on the sidelines. Ignoring MOOCs is not a good idea. This leaves two primary options:

  • Offer your own. Amass a greater body of resources around a topic than you currently have. Involve your members and attract non-members. See the power in numbers, the value in “more heads are better than one.”
  • Make your resources available to MOOCs by others. Instead of fighting a MOOC on “your” topic, join the MOOC and offer up your own links, white papers, articles, blog posts, and comments. If you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em!
You’re either in or you’re out. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. 
I would like to view MOOC from a learner-centred perspective and explore its educational values when delivered by institutions.

I am still reflecting on the significance of MOOC in higher education as posted here.

Have we tried our own MOOC(s)?  I think on a few occasions, we have the intention of creating our own MOOC, after the CCK08.  We have attempted or tried it here on ConnectivismEducationLearning Ning since 2009. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to continue with the running of the community on Ning since its introduction of fees for service.  We then continued with our education, learning and research community development here on Facebook.  I reckon that is also the breaking of the shell of the egg of MOOC, where a new life of MOON (Massive Open Online Network) emerged and evolved up till now.

In CCK11 on Net pedagogy on the Role of the Educator:

How often do we read about the importance of teachers in education? It must be every day, it seems. We are told about “strong empirical evidence that teachers are the most important school-based determinant of student achievement” again and again. The problem with the educational system, it is argued, is that teachers need to be held accountable. The problem with focusing on the role of the teacher is that it misses the point. Though there may still be thousands of people employed today with the job title of “teacher” or “educator”, it is misleading to suggests that all, or even most, aspects of providing an education should, or could, be placed into the hands of these individuals. With new technology, with new pedagogy, and especially from a connectivist perspective, the role – or roles – of the educator is changing dramatically.

There has been a lot of promotional news about the AI course offered by Stanford University.  I applause on having a MOOC on AI, that would allow tens of thousands of people to access the valuable course(s) offered by Stanford University.

Though offering a MOOC sounds exciting, I think we need to ask the following basic questions:

1. What does it mean to have a MOOC in a specialized field or domain?

2. What do you want to achieve with a MOOC?

3. What pedagogy would be employed with your MOOC? Is the MOOC designed for the learners or for the instructors or both?

4. What sort of institutional support is required to ensure its alignment with the pedagogy used?

5. How would technology and media be used in MOOC?

6. How would a MOOC be evaluated? What are the criteria of success in a MOOC?

Critical questions as a follow through Mary’s inquiry on Facebook: How would a knowledge in AI help the learners in learning through the course? Is Pedagogy more important than the content of AI knowledge? Are these viewed: From a teacher’s perspective or a student’s perspective? For those participants: what are their actual needs? To learn how to learn through a MOOC AI course, or to teach through Pedagogy or Design of MOOC? If the emphasis is on the latter, then who would sit for the quizzes and examinations?

What percentage of the 100,000 would go for the actual learning of AI content knowledge? If the majority of the 100,000 plus participants are actual university AI students, then surely learning about content would be their main goals. But if the majority of the 100,000 plus participants are lurkers, educators, researchers (may be like you and me) then I am not sure that this course is viewed as an another MIT course that have got all the OER on the web, only that now you could assess the quizzes, examinations and have a statement of accomplishment. Would you (or we) be experiencing another MOOC with lots of lurkers (researching or experimenting) on open online course due to their curiosity & interest in seeing how it works. You could get millions of people to sign up if everything is free of charge, and certain percentage wise to be the observer on the experiments. What do you see?

eduMOOC & MOOC Critical Thinking Re-visited for Present and Future on-line Learning

Resources on Critical Thinking

I enjoyed reading this Critical Thinking.  A summary on the characteristics of Strong Critical Thinkers is especially helpful.

This Critical Thinking video summarizes the essence of critical thinking

Critical Thinking

Slides on Critical Thinking

Application of Critical Thinking

Zaid’s slides on Introduction to Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking in Distance Education

Ruth’s post on Self as Locus of Learning

How to develop critical thinking skills in online courses?

MOOC – A solution to Higher Education and Future Learning?

Is MOOC the solution to future learning, especially online education and learning in Higher Education?  Our past experience with MOOC has interesting results.  There are huge potential in its use, though there are still lots of challenges as I would like to share “our views” and experiences below:

There has been a few rounds of MOOC conversation and lots of unanswered questions, relating especially to Stephen’s response to David Wiley’s response on knowledge transfer.

I think this depends on what sort of knowledge that we are referring to.

Is learning related to the transfer, transmission or replication of information or knowledge in MOOC?  This has been an interesting debate in previous CCKs and there is still no absolute answer to this.  From what I could sense and experience, learning is AN EXPERIENCE WITH THINKING AND REFLECTION and might be embedded in a conversation, an activity, a problem, a project, or reading and commenting.  It may be unintentional as cited by Stephen, especially when learning relates to higher order, critical thinking and reflective learning.  It emerges out of the conversation, and would likely take up a pattern as shown in the COW cartoon in previous post.  It is not easily predictable, as the emerging knowledge would change over time, based on the interaction and engagement amongst the networkers.

So, there are differences in views and understanding of the concept of knowledge and learning within a complex learning environment (epistemology and ontology), amongst academics, scholars, researchers, educators and learners.  Even more challenging would be whether such learning are “best” based on one of the below approaches and theories.

Photo credit: from George Siemens

The first challenge is: Should the learning design of MOOC be based on Cognitivism, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, Situated Learning and/or Connectivism?

For me, MOOC is an experimental educational and learning model simulating the education and learning on and through the Web, Internet, Networks (Learning and Social Networks) and Communities.  Here learning by individuals are based on the navigation, creation and building of networks and  such “information nodes” and knowledge webs are the basis of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

Depending on the needs, experience and capabilities (competence in certain domains and capacity in forming learning networks), an individual would consume and or create “information, knowledge, wisdom” through the MOOC, which would also be part of an ongoing educational and learning experience on the web and internet, and or within educational institutions.

So, I think the notion of course in an MOOC is to set up the boundaries upon which certain purpose,  goals and learning outcomes are to be achieved, with the content and process established in the initial course design, within or outside educational institutions.  Whether such goals and outcomes are shared by the course participants in an MOOC are however, nuanced as the emergence of the course often shifted the course goals towards those likely shared and adopted by some of the participants.  Connective learning occurs where the course and networks intersected and fused to form an adaptive learning  system, which keeps changing its shape and structure as the participants interact and engage with the networks, leading to new understanding of networked learning within an MOOC.

Once people have built their PLN, would they more likely move on to (Massive Open Online Network (MOON ), or the Massive Open Educational Community Networks (MOECN)? These networks and communities are often a continuation of connective and collaborative inquiry and conversation after the MOOCs. Such learning and community networks are often  not bound by timelines, fixed schedules of topics designated by course or network organiser or facilitators.  The participants of post MOOCs would likely form their own COPs (Community of Practices) or NOPs (Network of Practices) and develop along different trajectories. The topics of interests are most likely relating to current news or trends that relate to education and learning, technology and tools, education economy, and the implications resulting from the emergent technologies and education.

As shared in my previous post, learning via MOOC is like using the social media and technology (the goose) to enhance teaching and learning.  Here the goose would bear golden eggs (as artifacts and PLNs).  It’s the process of development of eggs inside the womb of the goose, and hatching of the eggs to give birth to another baby goose that constitute the learning.

Would a structured course like that offered in Stanford University on AI also be called a MOOC? They have even got instructor’s resource here.  Lisa shared her views here and Rebecca shared her views here.  George welcomes the MOOC. It seems that the views are pretty divided. Whether such a course is a MOOC seems to be perceived quite differently using different lenses, by educators and learners, as discussed here.

I think MOOC could equally be defined with an AI course, where openness (open access) is achieved – that is, it is open to the public for registration, only that it may not be absolutely free of charge (as you need to buy the text, or else you have to borrow such texts from library or peer learners).  The course does require some requisite knowledge and skills that may be a challenge for those who haven’t got enough skills to learn through.

The answers to some of the problems as set off in the AI course may also be well known in advance, based on prescriptive knowledge, and so diversity of opinions may not be the answers to the problem.

Learner autonomy might be compromised if the designed quiz, assignments and examinations are catered only for those who followed the pre-determined learning pathways.   So, what would be the reactions of participants who have accustomed to the connectivist learning approach – where diversity, autonomy, openness and connectivity within learning networks is emphasized?

The second challenge would be whether structured education and learning is better suited to learners to semi-structured education and learning, in the case of MOOC.  How much structure should a MOOC or MOOOC has?

My interests have shifted to research on the design of the MOOC/MOOCC (Massive Open Online Connectivist Course) as proposed by Edgar.  I reckon structured MOOC would attract learners who are more accustomed to “structured facilitation and assessments”.

How about Community – Colleges? Would MOOC be a feasible solution?

This Community-College students perform worse online than face to face tells a different story.  MOOC within such environment could be difficult and challenging, both for instructors and learners.  Lisa has already shared her views here.

Would participants of previous MOOCs still be doing more MOOC or MOOCC?  Let’s wait and see.

eduMOOC New taxonomy

I have just come across this critique  on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Brenda commented:

The categories or “levels” of Bloom’s taxonomy (Knowledge, Comprehension,
Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation) are not supported by any research
on learning. The only distinction that is supported by research is the distinction
between declarative/conceptual knowledge (which enables recall,
comprehension or understanding), and procedural knowledge (which enables
application or task performance).

Bloom’s Taxonomy, is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom.

Photo: wikipedia

Based on wikipedia,  Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains”: CognitiveAffective, and Psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as knowing/headfeeling/heart and doing/hands respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels.

Exhibit memory of previously-learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers
  • Knowledge of specifics – terminology, specific facts
  • Knowledge of ways and means of dealing with specifics – conventions, trends and sequences, classifications and categories, criteria, methodology
  • Knowledge of the universals and abstractions in a field – principles and generalizations, theories and structures

Questions like: What are the health benefits of eating apples?

Here is an attempt to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy in education.

How about the concept of knowledge? If knowledge is defined here, involves the recall of specifics and universals, the recall of methods and processes, or the recall of a pattern, structure, or setting. (Bloom et al. 1956 p 201), then surely knowledge COULD BE DEFINED by recalls.

This new taxonomy provides a comprehensive classification about learning based on a constructivist approach.  I am however, interested in knowing how it was developed.

In times of information abundance, how should high-order knowledge – such as thinking and reflection be re-defined?

The revised Taxonomy (refer to Rote versus meaningful learning) here is based on a broader vision of learning that includes not only acquiring knowledge but also being able to use knowledge in a variety of new situations.

In our digital era of learning, is this classification good enough to classify the educational objectives in such ways?

I have once shared that learning in a digital world involves individuals networking with others, including cooperation and collaboration in groups or networks, and so there are certain areas which require both individual, collective and collaborative efforts in order to achieve the learning goals. Would we need to extend this learning theories and Taxonomy and Blogging and Blooms to ensure that complexity is considered in education and learning?

My interests focus on creation of artifacts – where create involves putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure.

For example, to create an artifact like blog post would require one to go through a whole cycle of collecting and aggregating information (via iGoogle,  RSS, email, Google +, FB, Twitter, OL Daily, etc.), curating them (via some of the above tools, or with Scoopit, Pearltrees,, Netvibes).  This would then provide the sources of information for the writing of blog posts, or the re-posting or feed-forwarding of posts or artifacts aggregated or curated.

As a blogger, I would then peruse the content, analyse, and evaluate each part of the artifact or resources in terms of its relevance and values to a subject, and how each part of it would be useful for the inclusion of my blog post, by remixing, repurposing and re-creating or re-writing parts of the posts that resonate with my experience or could add to my knowledge.

Finally, I would then post the created blog post as artifacts (videos, pictures, links) onto appropriate social media of my choice – FB, Twitter, Google +, Delicious, or any other new media that I found useful.  Also, I would comment on others’ blog posts, or those posts on FB, Moodle Forum, or Retweet on Twitter, based on an analysis, evaluation and sharing of my ideas/posts in a similar way to the blogging – experience, thinking, reflection and action process.

In reflection, the above blogging and commenting “routine” would quite likely involve the application of knowledge, and an indepth thinking and reflection throughout the process.

I reckon blogging would satisfy the educational objectives set along the three “domains”: CognitiveAffective, and Psychomotor.

I think we need a new taxonomy which could cover the complex learning and digital literacy more comprehensively.

Postscript: This paper on Learning together in community: collaboration online sounds useful.

Creative Learning Theory

I will be working on a paper on Creative Learning Theory soon.

Why creative learning?

In this article on wikipedia on Creative thinking:

Some see the conventional system of schooling as “stifling” of creativity and attempt (particularly in the pre-school/kindergarten and early school years) to provide a creativity-friendly, rich, imagination-fostering environment for young children.[88][89][90] Researchers have seen this as important because technology is advancing our society at an unprecedented rate and creative problem solving will be needed to cope with these challenges as they arise.[90] In addition to helping with problem solving, creativity can also helps students identify problems where others have failed to do so.[88][89][91] See the Waldorf School as an example of an education program that promotes creative thought.

Promoting intrinsic motivation and problem solving are two areas where educators can foster creativity in students. Students are more creative when they see a task as intrinsically motivating, valued for its own sake.[89][90][92][93] To promote creative thinking educators need to identify what motivates their students and structure teaching around it. Providing students with a choice of activities to complete allows them to become more intrinsically motivated and therefore creative in completing the tasks.[88][94]

Teaching students to solve problems that do not have well defined answers is another way to foster their creativity. This is accomplished by allowing students to explore problems and redefine them, possibly drawing on knowledge that at first may seem unrelated to the problem in order to solve it.[88][89][90][92]

Several different researchers have proposed methods of increasing the creativity of an individual. Such ideas range from the psychological-cognitive, such as Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving ProcessSynectics, Science-based creative thinking, Purdue Creative Thinking Program, and Edward de Bono‘s lateral thinking; to the highly-structured, such as TRIZ(the Theory of Inventive Problem-Solving) and its variant Algorithm of Inventive Problem Solving (developed by the Russian scientist Genrich Altshuller), and Computer-Aided Morphological analysis.

The MOOC and many other network learning based on Web2.0 experiences reveal the importance of creativity as a pedagogical framework, where teaching and learning is based on the creation of networks and artifacts, and the subsequent remixing and re-purposing of artifacts, and the adoption of tools and technology to aid in communication and learning.

I have been thinking about the title:

A theory on Creative Learning at a digital learning era.

I would like to consider research into the creative learning that relates to past MOOCs, the present eduMOOC and Mother of MOOC that is forth coming.

I would likely start with a Google Document or wiki for documenting the research and writings.

This would be an open research project, and I hope any one interested in this would build on the theory.  Creativity is all about us, not just the creator of the theory. That is my proposition.

More to come at a later stage of my writing.