Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age
- Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed)
- In today’s environment, action is often needed without personal learning – that is, we need to act by drawing information outside of our primary knowledge.
- What adjustments need to be made with learning theories when technology performs many of the cognitive operations previously performed by learners (information storage and retrieval)?
- …chaos states that meaning exists – the learner's challenge is to recognize the patterns which appear to be hidden.
- The capacity to form connections between sources of information, and thereby create useful information patterns, is required to learn in our knowledge economy.
- Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.
- Connectivism also addresses the challenges that many corporations face in knowledge management activities. Knowledge that resides in a database needs to be connected with the right people in the right context in order to be classified as learning.
- Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity.
- Connections form naturally, through a process of association, and are not 'constructed' through some sort of intentional action.
- Hence, in Connectivism, there is no real concept of transferring knowledge, making knowledge, or building knowledge.
- What you are talking about as 'an understanding' is (at a best approximation) distributed across a network of connections.
- “To teach is to model and demonstrate, to learn is to practice and reflect.”
- learning occurs as a distributed process in a network, based on recognizing and interpreting patterns
- the learning process is influenced by the diversity of the network, strength of the ties
- memory consists of adaptive patterns of connectivity representative of current state
- transfer occurs through a process of connecting
- best for complex learning, learning in rapidly changing domains
- Tools augment our ability to interact with each other and to act. Tools are extensions of humanity, increasing our ability to externalize our thinking into forms that we can share with others.
- Connectivism is the application of network principles to define both knowledge and the process of learning.
- Connectivism focuses on the inclusion of technology as part of our distribution of cognition and knowledge. Our knowledge resides in the connections we form – whether to other people or to information sources such as databases.
- Connectivism recognizes the fluid nature of knowledge and connections based on context. As such, it becomes increasingly vital that we focus not on pre-made or pre-defined knowledge, but on our interactions with each other, and the context in which those interactions arise.
- Making of coherence in a subject matter one is new to is about dialoguing with other learners. Make conversations a priority and let learners interact with the content, with each other, with the technology they will use for sense-making.
- Our need to externalize to make sense
- Our need for frameworks/structures for sense-making
- Our need to socialize and negotiate around knowledge
- Our mind is a patterning mind: we are attuned to note, recognize and draw patterns from complex systems
- Our desire to extend our humanity through technology
- Neural-biological: neuroscience and AI states that learning is the formation of new neural connections.
- Depth and diversity of connections
- Frequency of exposure
- Integration with existing ideas and concepts
- Strong and weak ties (weak ties bridge separate worlds)
- Different types of networks with different types of attributes will serve different types of learning needs
Week 2: Patterns
Week 3: Knowledge
Week 4: Unique?
Week 5: Groups, Networks
Week 6: PLENK
Week 7: Adaptive Systems
Week 8: Power & Authority
Week 9: Openness
Week 10: Net Pedagogy
Week 11: Research & Analytics
Week 12: Changing views
- I have been reading and am highly influenced by the writings of George Siemens and Stephen Downes.
- The theory of Connectivism fascinates me, and I see its absolute relevance in this age of networked learning.
- I am also intrigued by complexity and chaos theory and do quite a bit of reading around these topics, which gets random at times. I tend to stray on the web. This course provides focus and a “guided” yet flexible path that will help me to do concentrated reading.
- I wanted to experience the feel of a MOOC. I think MOOCs will increasingly become a way of sharing and learning together.
- Dave Cromier’s video on What is a MOOC? pushed me to join. It rocks! It made me want to be a part of this learning experience.
- The fact that I don’t need to read everything but the more I do cover, the more I can participate. This is a great motivator for me to cover as much as possible because I hate to feel left out.
- The key characteristic of a MOOC as a participatory, open and distributed course
- It’s an event around which people who care about a topic get together (although learning is not an "event")
- All the course work gets done in areas accessible to everyone—absolute transparency of the learning process
- Everyone gets to learn from everyone’s work
- A MOOC promotes network creation and facilitates engagement with other participants (a key learning skill of the 21st C where knowledge resides in friends and “knowing where is more important than knowing how or when”)
- There’s no single path through the course—I can choose my learning path and different ideas can coexist and new ideas emerge
- A MOOC is a lot like being on the web but it is paced, which also gives me a good reason to keep focused
- The need to “declare” myself and create artifacts that will help me to make my learning process transparent (this post for example is a start)
- It is a perfect blend of curated content and emergent knowledge, ideas and viewpoints
- The 5 steps to be successful in a MOOC—Orient, Declare, Network, Cluster and Focus—are also the key learning skills required in the networked age. This, I thought, would be a great place to hone these skills.
- I joined the Google group here.
- I went through the webinar recordings.
- Saved the Twitter search for #CCK11
- Scanned through the paper.li creations for CCK11
- Subscribed to the CCK11 Daily
- The Course Introduction and Overview
- Educational Data Mining: A Methodological Review
Thursday, January 20, 2011
A response by Richard Foreman to this year's question on the Edge World Question Center reminded me of Keat's famous concept of Negative Capbility. As an English Literature Honours graduate who had Romanticism as one of my special papers, this was a concept I had read about in some detail in those days. I am just surprised that it had slipped so far back into my subconscious as to be virtually forgotten.
Anyhow, the point is when I re-read the crux of the concept, I was amazed at its applicability to our current times. Let me quote what Keat's said:
...I mean NEGATIVE CAPABILITY, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason...~ John Keats
"The concept of Negative Capability is the ability to contemplate the world without the desire to try and reconcile contradictory aspects or fit it into closed and rational systems."
In his 1818 sonnet To Homer, Keats captures the ambiguity that is an essence of life:
Aye on the shores of darkness there is light,
And precipices show untrodden green,
There is a budding morrow in midnight,
There is a triple sight in blindness keen. . . .
I find a strange relevance of this poem to the world of work and learning today.
Isn't this what we have to learn to do? Given that our world is in a state of constant flux or perpetual beta--use whichever phrase you like--our endeavour is learn to fight the need for closure, accept dichotomy and ambiguity.
Andy Hunt, when speaking about Cognitive Biases, in Why Johnny Can’t Be Agile writes: I think the most significant cognitive bias that affects agile methods in particular is our Need for Closure. In general, people are not comfortable with doubt and uncertainty—so much so that we’ll go to great lengths to resolve open issues and to remove uncertainty and reach closure. In other words, our default wiring says it’s better to make the wrong decision now instead of waiting and making a better decision later.
There is an almost uncanny resemblance between the words of the Romantic poet and the Agile guru.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well-informed just to be undecided about them. ~ Laurence J. Peter
A wicked problem is one for which each attempt to create a solution changes the understanding of the problem. Wicked problems cannot be solved in a traditional linear fashion, because the problem definition evolves as new possible solutions are considered and/or implemented.Wicked problems always occur in a social context -- the wickedness of the problem reflects the diversity among the stakeholders in the problem.
Most projects in organizations -- and virtually all technology-related projects these days -- are about wicked problems. Indeed, it is the social complexity of these problems, not their technical complexity, that overwhelms most current problem solving and project management approaches.
- You don't understand the problem until you have developed a solution: According to the Cynefin framework, a problem that falls in the realm of the complex or chaotic cannot be analyzed or categorized without first being acted upon. Only when one acts on the problem does a solution emerge.
- Wicked problems have no stopping rule.**: By definition, a wicked problem arises out of a condition that cannot be clearly defined. Hence, it solution or end-point can’t be foreseen either.
- Solutions to wicked problems are not right or wrong: These problems are unique, complex, and non-linear. There is no direct cause and effect relationship that exist when problems are simple. Without a one-on-one relationship between the cause and effect, it is not possible to have a single solution. There can only be better ways of solving it but never the best or the only way.
- Every wicked problem is essentially unique and novel: This is self-explanatory. That is precisely why they are called wicked.
- Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation,"
- Wicked problems have no given alternative solutions: At any given point of time, an approach to solving a wicked problem will lead to the problem morphing into something else—not necessarily a worse state but just a different one. This precludes the possibility of there being multiple ways of solving this problem at the outset. One needs to keep adapting and evolving solutions to address wicked problems.
Wicked problem is compounded or created out of fragmentation. The paper on Wicked Problems and Social Complexity defines fragmentation thus:
Image taken from: The Agile Warrior
- Has a well-defined and stable problem statement
- Has a definite stopping point, i.e., when the solution is reached
- Has a solution which can be objectively evaluated as right or wrong
- Belongs to a class of similar problems which are all solved in the same similar way
- Has solutions which can be easily tried and abandoned
- Comes with a limited set of alternative solutions
- It allows for self and course correction
- Mistakes are caught before they become too expensive
- Early detection of mistakes leads to prompt feedback and associated learning
- Iterative development process allows for application of that new learning
- The opportunity to apply the learning prevents the forgetting curve from becoming dominant
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
This post is a summary of the key learnings from the article. I have paraphrased liberally from the article. The interpretations, however, are mine and any errors in understanding associated with those are entirely mine.
The Adaptive Thinking Training Methodology (ATTM) and Think Like a Commander (TLAC) represent a method and tool for training adaptive leaders.
- Adaptive Thinking focuses on training how to think rather than what to think.
- Adaptive Thinking is different from lateral, creative or out-of-the box thinking. It is defined by the conditions under which it occurs. The conditions or constraints need to be taken into account and a solution sought within that. This is also the hallmark of a creative problem-solver, one who is unfazed by constraints but adapts herself/himself to get the maximum benefit out of the situation.
- Adaptive Thinking, as the term implies, indicates thinking while performing. This is different from thinking in an environment of calm reflection. This is why it becomes important to develop Adaptive Thinking skills through deliberation. Under conditions of stress, it is human nature to react automatically, using approaches that come most naturally and effortlessly.
- Repetition: Task performance occurs repetitively rather than at its naturally occurring frequency. A goal of deliberate practice is to develop habits that operate expertly and automatically.
- Focused feedback: Coaches/trainers are at hand to provide corrective feedback and help the learners model their behaviors.
- Immediacy of performance: After corrective feedback on performance, there is an immediate repetition so that the task can be performed more in accordance with expert norms.
- Stop and start: Because of the repetition and feedback, deliberate practice is typically seen as a series of short performances rather than a continuous flow. This series of iterative, feedback-driven practice instills confidence and takes away the stress.
- Emphasis on difficult aspects: Deliberate practice will focus on more difficult aspects. E.g., rarely occurring emergencies can be exercised frequently in deliberate practice.
- Focus on areas of weakness: Deliberate practice can be tailored to the individual and focus on areas of weakness.
- Conscious focus: In deliberate practice, the learner may consciously attend to the element because improving performance at the task is more important in this situation than performing one’s best.
- Work vs play: Characteristically, deliberate practice feels more like work and is more effortful than casual performance. The motivation generally comes from a sense that one is improving in skill.
- Active Coaching: Typically, a coach must be very active during deliberate practice, monitoring performance, assessing adequacy, and controlling the structure of training.
- Diversity (of opinions, people, issues, domains, technology, etc.)
- Information overload coupled with “not exactly what I need” syndrome
- Vanishing shelf-life of knowledge
Monday, January 3, 2011
Some of the books I am planning to read in 2010...this is not a definitive list and is likely to expand. I am putting up the names here. If you have ready any of the books, do share your comments/reviews/key learning.
Winning E-Learning Proposals: The Art of Development and Delivery by Karl M. Kapp
ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals by Elaine Biech
Delivering E-Learning: A Complete Strategy for Design, Application and Assessment by Kenneth Fee
Creating Messages That Motivate by Bert Decker
Turning Training into Learning: How to Design and Deliver Programs that Get Results by Furjanic & Trotman
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker
A Fine Line: How Design Strategies Are Shaping the Future of Business by Hartmut Esslinger
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Posts and Articles
- The Power of Pull by John Seely Brown
- The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Create Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies by Scott E. Page
- The Drive by Daniel Pink
- The Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Daniel Pink
- Beyond E-Learning: Approaches and Technologies to Enhance Organizational Knowledge, Learning, and Performance by Marc J. Rosenberg
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
- The Future of Management by Gary Hamel
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
- Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results by Morten Hansen
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement by Ruth Colvin Clark
- Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt
- Social Media for Trainers by Jane Bozarth
- The New Social Learning by Marcia Conner and Tony Bingham
- The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
- Crucial Confrontations by Kerry Patterson
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- Working Smarter Fieldbook
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