The c MOOC as knowledge ecologies

Thanks to Stephen Downes for the reference to Dr. Mohamed Amine Chatti’s Knowledge Management: A Personal Knowledge Network Perspective.

Here are some abstracts that I would like to quote:

Knowledge ecologies are thus self-controlled and self-contained entities.

Knowledge ecologies lacked a shared repertoire and are thus open and distributed knowledge domains.

The result of participation in a knowledge ecology is a restructuring of one’s PKN, a reframing of one’s theories-in-use and an extension of one’s external network with new tacit and explicit knowledge nodes; i.e. people and information (external level)

Knowledge ecology is a more general concept than intensional networks.

In essence, a knowledge ecology is a complex adaptive system that emerges from the bottom-up connection of PKNs.

That is a wonderful analysis of knowledge ecology, with a model of Knowledge Management based on Personal Knowledge Network perspective.

I have once conceived that c MOOCs did exhibit the features of community and community of practice, though it certainly differed from the main features of COPs as postulated by Etienne Wenger.

I reckon this knowledge ecology concept re-opens the discourse about the nature of MOOC, in where it functions and operates, and how it behaves, as a knowledge ecology at times.  However, I have often noticed that MOOCs would exhibit the configuration of knowledge ecology – with networks and communities embedded in it post MOOCs.

Here I have elaborated such a configuration in my previous post:

Based on my past experiences with CCKs, PLENK2010 and other MOOCs, the community is quite different from the “typical” communities that we would define, as there is no distinct boundary for the community.  Instead of a community, in MOOC, it consists of numerous networks and communities which formed and re-formed, with some sustained, and some re-configuration in the network-community that formed.  MOOCkers might have morphed along conglomerate networks, or social media as the weeks progressed, thus staying on with a particular media for sometime, and/or created blogs for a particular purpose, and then, engaged with others for a while.  This seems to behave in a self-organised manner, without any directions from any facilitators, but then the individuals within particular networks would set their own agenda, goals, or tasks which suited their needs.

Can one reveal the patterns out of these network/community formation and development?  Some social network analysis did reveal the trend and pattern.

How about this network and community of practice? COPs need a lot of nurturing before they could grow, develop and sustain.

In this article by Wenger and Snyder suggest that: To get communities going – and to sustain them over time – managers should:

*Identify Potential Communities of Practice.

*Provide the Infrastructure that will support such communities of practice.

*Use non traditional methods to assess the value of these communities of practice.

In MOOC, who will be the manager managing the COPs?  May be, there is no one manager, but each of the participants in the MOOC would take up such role, and self-organise the COPs/Networks in a way that suits him or her.

Twitter is a network, though not a community, as many would argue.  But under the “infra-structure” of MOOC, would Twitter be re-defined differently? Is it a transitional community, or communities of practice?  May be.

Photo: Google

Postscript: Here is my post on knowledge and learning ecology.

Finally, I would reiterate about future of education based on a new paradigm of knowledge:

I conceive new and emerging knowledge would be created through such “Global Community and Networks” which would be based on an environment, education and learning ecology with a network of learning platforms such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), MOOCs (Massive Open Online Communities) and MOOP (Massive Open Online Projects) over different spaces, network chains.

#Change11 #CCK12 Moving beyond Management and Leadership Part 2

What is the difference between management and leadership?

Management versus Leadership is well explained here.

In times of change, transformational leadership seems to provide a superior solution in leading the group or team.  Transformational leaders seek to transform.  Transformational leadership could also be used in peer mentoring.

Another form of leadership is distributed leadership.  It involves forming small teams with distributed leadership.

In the case of networks, what would leadership look like?

In this Applying Design Thinking and Complexity Theory in Agile Organization by Jean Tabaka, the focus of leadership in networks would be based on emergence and resilience.  To this end, I reckon distributed cognition, with distributed and emergent leadership would be a way to go.  This leadership characteristics may be based on the Cynefin Model as developed by Dave Snowden.

Picture: Google image

The sort of leadership style that likely makes sense in networking would then be based on an emergent practice.  This requires an emergent and resilient leadership style to steer the networks.  Action by leaders in such networks include probe, sense and respond in complex networks.

How to move beyond management and leadership in networks?

The most effective sort of leadership in networks may emerge out of a blend of peer leadership and servant leadership.

#Change11 #CCK12 Moving beyond management and leadership Part 1

Here I ponder how one could move beyond the management and leadership concept of learning in a non-hierarchical organisational setting such as networks or MOOC.  John Spencer says in this post I don’t want to manage my class:

Leadership is messy. It takes longer. It is often more confusing, more painful and more counterintuitive than management.

I shared John’s belief, and that leadership relates principally to relationship, and how one could influence the others through a combination of powers, affection, touch of feelings and understanding of emotions, through empathy and resonance.

I have posted the following quotes with comments in the post:

1. Leaders must exemplify the expected standards of behavior – wow, that is the tribal approach, sure! The tribal leader would determine what standards of behavior would be praised, rewarded, amplified, or show as an exemplary to all followers, or would declare such behaviors as the heroic action in the tribal manifestation.  Magnificent motto!

2. We must engage emotionally with students in their world – wow! Are leaders emotional counselors or “manipulators” of their students?  Of course students are emotional humans, just like their teachers.  So what is the role of the teacher in their students’ emotional journey?

3. Teachers and principals themselves are sometimes actors.  What sort of actors?  Why? How to act?

To me, the whole of education leadership lies with the building and sustaining of relationship in between agents, actors, entities, networks and communities.  This would take connections and connectivity to new dimensions – which would relate to people psychologically, mentally, and may be spiritually.  This stems from ideas shared among the agents (leader – followers, or everyone being a leader and follower), where information and knowledge are remixed and shaped by each individual to make sense of the interaction and ideas shared.

Leadership in essence is coming into understanding or co-forming of certain beliefs that would reinforce one’s existing experience (both leaders and followers), or leading each others to new and novel experiences in life.

This sort of leadership is emergent in nature, in that it evolves out of the interaction, based on deep reflection of one’s rooted beliefs, and challenges one to re-think about the philosophy often adopted towards certain fundamental concepts.  Jenny’s post discussing about the philosophy of MOOC is a great example illustrating the importance of emergent leadership, when open educational practice is practiced by the “leaders” in a course of network.

I will continue to explore this in Part 2 of a series on management and leadership.

Stephen provides a wonderfully crafted post where I would like to re-post it below:

Management Leadership That something else better that isn’t management or leadership
Attitude Compliance Humility Service
Authority Based upon title Based upon earned trust None; offers an example which may be followed or not
Questions Questions are viewed as a threat to authority Encourages questions to develop an ethical understanding Asked frequently
The Framework Procedural Relational Engaged and connected
Rules / Boundaries Based upon conformity Based upon an ethical, philosophical concept Based on respect for others
Procedures Standardized Personalized Adapted as needed
Innovation Discouraged if it challenges the status quo Provides a vision that inspires others Secondary to creativity, freedom and exploration
Submission Forced: based upon a fear Voluntarily: submitting to another’s strengths to protect one’s weaknesses There is no submission; exchanges are mutual and of mutual value
Motivation Extrinsic Intrinsic Not necessary
The Results Behave externally but rebel internally (or when no one is looking) Empathetic, ethical thinkers who want to do what is right Cooperative environment populated by creative and expressive individuals who see respect for and service to others as the highest good

A story for reflection – personal knowledge

This is a translation of a Chinese Poet.  I still remember the “words or lyrics” in every single detail.  I could even recite it in all.  I found it pretty impressive about development of youths and the feelings of parents so I would like to share it with you using this post. I know that if I recite it in Chinese, no one could understand it.
In the ceiling of a traditional Chinese house, there once lived two swallows – a male and a female.  They built a nest up there using mud and straw.  Over the nest was where the four baby swallows born.
When the four baby swallows grew up daily, they cried out loud for food.  The parent swallows found it difficult to catch the insects in order to feed the young ones, and the young swallows were always feeling hungry every day.  The parent swallows tried their very best to search and get the food, bruising their claws and beaks, and they weren’t aware of their weariness.  The parents then nurtured their young ones through teaching them how to speak and communicate in their language and they took care of their clothing.
So now that the four swallows have grown their feathers, the parents then led them to the branches of the tree. Once the four swallows held up their wings, they never looked back, and they all flew away through the air in all directions.  The parent swallows were crying in the air, but the cries couldn’t get their young ones back, no matter how hard they tried.
Parent swallows, don’t be sad, you need to reflect and think.  When you were young and still developing, you flew away from your mum, when your mum worried and missed you, now you could know and understand their feelings.
This always reminded me of my dearest parents, especially my mother on the great love on me whilst I was young.  How about you?  What do you think?

Knowledge Management

Well said Steve. Here is my response to his previous post on the kind of management for the 21st century that I would like to resonate with his views again.  I could sense a lot of traditional management philosophy well in place in many companies on this side of the globe.  I applaud Steve in having such a deep insight into knowledge management and its impact on organisation. Relating to knowledge management, it was once thought to be the panacea to many large (US) organisations in the 1990s. Management gurus like Peter Drucker and Peter Senge  who were the pioneers in those areas emphasised the importance of KM  in the modern era.  However, as Steve has pointed out, it has always been a tension between the traditional command and control style of management and the modern networking organisation where a lot of “networking” management practices (with COPs) could be  viewed as too risky, “un-controllable”, not following a “static vision and mission” and thus not sustainable.  Also, restructuring an organization is no longer a one-time deal, leading to discontinuity in knowledge management programs. The dramatic reorganisation of AT&T in the fall of 1995 is an example of such restructuring.  So, given such ongoing process of re-structuring in lots of business, dictated by the changing needs in the business environment, what might be the value of knowledge management (based on the previous organisation) on those re-structured organisation?  Besides, most organisations are looking for profits and growth in response to stakeholders’ needs and expectations, not “knowledge management” per se. So how could one convince the long term benefits of knowledge management to an organisation?  Finally, is the word “management” appropriate in the knowledge management? Would it be a leadership quest for innovative “knowledge management” that is more important? Should  that be based on nurturing of the knowledge workers to network, rather than the pure management of knowledge itself that could bring about the transformation and real change to management practices?

CCK09 Management by Objectives

In The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer – Peter Drucker Centenary.

Another famous Drucker quote: ‘Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t‘.

Within well-designed, loosely coupled business units there’s a lot more room for experimentation than between and within rigid ones: Hagel’s ‘institutional innovation’ centers around bringing ‘the force of attraction to bear on tens or even hundreds of thousands of participants around a common platform‘.

…We are no longer talking about flexibility in configuring modules with given performance levels.  Now we are talking about flexibility to configure modules that are rapidly improving their own performance.  This combination of flexibility plus accelerating performance improvement is what drives the real power of loosely coupled systems.

Drucker’s ‘Managers who have retired on the job‘ are notorious for inflexibly driving to illogical objectives which baffle staff and destroy their enthusiasm: modern 2.0 technologies enabling participation and collaboration around common platforms have come of age, but management thinking is mostly not yet aware of their potential.

The report that I composed in the mid 1980s: Management by Objectives in Manufacturing industry (Case Study) had proven that it worked. I hadn’t published it. The conclusions were:
1. MBO has been introduced successfully in the industrial organisation (a company)
2. From the case studies in Sales & Marketing, Production and Engineering illustrated, the positive benefits results from the MBO applications are – improvement in management performance and productivity, communication, superior-subordinate relationship, better performance measurement & appraisal and personal development
3. Effective motivational and interpersonal skills are important in enhancing successful MBO implementation. These are highlighted in the analysis and remedial actions discussed in the cases.
4. Review of MBO indicated that high reception of MBO by management in all levels, good industrial relationship, education of MBO, strong sense of belonging, good financial and marketing status are essential points which enhance MBO’s success in the company.
5. Finally MBO will help managers on all organisation levels to develop their potentials more fully, and will enhance the overall productivity of the total enterprise.

Did MBO work in companies? 

From most top management points of views, vision, mission and objectives are important in steering the organisation in the right direction.  All managers and employees would need to align their strategies and action plans to the vision and mission developed. That’s corporate leadership. 

From rank and file (most employees) (or in education – the educators and administrators) point of views, they are looking for their personal learning and development needs at work. There are many who enthusiastically align their thoughts and actions with middle and top management, and these are part of the jobs.  This is important to ensure that both organisation and team goals are met strategically. It is also imperative to get the job done effectively and efficiently (as a team leader or manager), to collaborate with top management, to build community that is attuned to the top management’s philosophy.   These could be achieved through Management by Objectives, or alternatively Management with Objectives, if flexibility and responsiveness to the environment and stakeholders including customers are taken into consideration. 

Cooperation and collaboration is the key to success, for both individuals, networks and organisations in MBO.   This could be greatly mediated via Web 2.0 and social networking.

Would MBO also work in networks?  I would like to know if there has been any researches done in this area. 

Due to the complexity nature of learning and the networks, I find it hard to conclude whether MBO would work throughout networks or community of practice.  As each network member has his/her own vision and mission, it seems hard to have common and agreed vision and mission.  However, as time evolves, some network members may be able to collaborate with others and achieve great results using an MBO approach.

Can we apply MBO to networks with Web 2.0?