Design-based research question

Hi all,

I’m chewing through some ideas around my research question.

In my current work as a training manager I have discovered a problem when it comes to the transfer of knowledge from experts to end users in technology implementations.   I have been working with implementation and technology development teams for the last twelve months and when it comes to transfering knowledge from them as subject matter experts to end users it has not been a simple ride.  We have used a variety of tools and strategies to get the knowledge out there but what I’m interested in is how to give people the tools so that they can learn from each other.  This not only reduces the dependence upon the business to provide top-down knowledge transfer but it changes the knowledge ownership equation.

So in terms of my research question, here are some possibilities;

1.  How can NGL be used in the design and implementation of a ERP learning strategy to imbed and support knowledge transfer to end users?

2.  How can NGL be used to support technology rollouts?

3.  How can NGL be used to support the development of Communities of Practice in ERP rollouts?

Any thoughts would be welcome.

Thanks

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How NGL can inform my role as teacher.

The development of network technologies has changed the way we operate with knowledge (Harley, 2008).  Connectivism and networked learning means that today’s and tomorrow’s learners are able to access infinite sources of information.  Furthermore, they are able to build relationships, collaborate and develop knowledge and this is being done and will be done outside the walls of the traditional classroom (Siemens, 2005).   According to Hall and Herrington (2010), ‘Blogs, wikis, forums, social bookmarks and other social and collaborative tools have pushed the social nature of learning to the forefront. Development of an online community is an important aspect of social learning, as the community provides the place where learners can develop trust in others, share their new knowledge, and learn from and with each other.’ (p.1012).   

The size of this global learning environment is infinite which means there will be significant leaps for organisations to make if they are to meet the increasingly individualistic needs of their staff.  Teachers will need to understand that for an organisation to maintain a competitive advantage and stay at the cutting edge it will need to manage knowledge exceptionally better than its competitors.  Organisations will need to have a vision of a different kind of knowledge management, where engaging with knowledge and competencies will be transformative and where the one size fits all approach is history.

Diversity of Learning Environments

As discussed by Andrew in his post on Diversity of Learning Environments, the danger is that we try a ‘one size fits all approach’ which is no longer sustainable work.  NGL can provide a dynamic learning environment and through the use of technology it is possible to cater for individual needs and create personal learning environments (Downes, 2014).

However, I think there is a downside in that those who struggle with technology could be left behind.  NGL means that one can access information anywhere which means that learning and collaboration can occur at both a local and global level.  Learning will move more and more to a social space and education will shift to massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Teachers have more resources to assist them than ever before.  The article which  Andrew posted on schools taking global learning to the next level talks about students becoming internationally minded and becoming ‘true global citizens’.   In terms of NGL informing my role in helping others achieve this global citizenship, I think it’s about providing vital skills so that people can connect – so that people aren’t living in a ‘bubble’.

Through the use of international perspectives learners can reflect on their own progress and collaborate on a more personal level.  As Steven Mark, Director of the International Primary Curriculum says, ‘To my mind helping kids to get a deepening sense of ‘others’ is absolutely at the heart of what good international, global learning should be about.’  The use of tools like Flickr to promote intercultural understanding I thought exhibited a brilliant example of using tools to create engaging understanding.

Understanding the benefits of NGL

The kind of technological changes that have occurred in the last ten years are mind boggling.  Such changes have also affected traditional instructional methods and learning strategies.   Teachers will need to understand the benefits of NGL and the emergence of new learning styles.   Knowledge is now fluid and not contained between four walls – it is virtual where anybody, anywhere can access it.

Furthermore, knowledge is not created and owned by an authority figure, it is cultivated through social and global networks.  Learners are empowered more than ever before and with easy access to cheap tools connectivism will grow as now it is about personal learning (Richardson, Mancabelli, 2011).

Transformative learning

Teachers will also need to understand the power of NGL as transformative learning.  David brought to the attention Dron and Anderson (2007) article which outlines the uses of social software for learning – there are many tools and many uses.  However, the key for teachers is to know which tool is suitable for which job, not dissimilar to a tradesman knowing which tool serves which purpose.

Similarly, organisational learning or training functions must have a collaborative pedagogical framework that ensures effective learning practices that focus on improved learner achievement (Department of Education, 2013).    By contributing to the quality of teaching and learning, providing new ways for people to interact, and applying a research-based approach to evaluating the effectiveness of educational technology innovative teachers will be able to capitalize on NGL principles and take learners into the future of learning more confidently.

Barriers and hidden challenges to NGL

Although the benefits of NGL are recognised there are potential barriers and challenges for teachers.  These include, usability of technology, trust in and acceptance of Information Communications and Technology  (ICT) in communication, a sense of belonging among members, paying attention to cross-national and cross-cultural dimensions shared understandings, a common sense of purpose, use of netiquette and user-friendly language and longevity (Gannon-Leary, Fontainha, 2007; Hall, Herrington, 2010).

Annelise’s post on preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet raises some interesting points on both collaboration, sharing resources and about preparing students for the future.  As Andrew says in his post on the future of learning  ‘With new forms of technology, collaboration, access to information, and social networking over the past 10-15 years, the way students act, learn, understand, and grow has changed dramatically and this will continue to evolve over the next 10 years and beyond. Teachers need to embrace these new ways of thinking and education needs to continue to adapt to the changing world around it so students can learn and become successful participants in the future of society.’

Similarly, I think that one of the biggest challenges will be, as David  points out, the mindset of the existing institutional systems and processes.   Organisations will need to have a ‘broad understanding of the meaning and the potential of networked learning’ (Downes, 2014).   Organisations will need to beyond pumping out eLearning with a compliance mentality.  They will need to think about the big picture and future skills and client requirements.  Not only will teachers need to be skilled in critical reflection but be able to evaluate the effectiveness of educational technology and understand the importance of ongoing assessment in the educational experience and the role NGL plays in this (Bloxham & Boyd, 2007; Black, harrison, Lee, Marshall, & Wiliam, 2003; Harlen, 2006; Higgins, Hartley, & A, 2002; James, McInnis, & Devlin, 2002).

References

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2003). Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Bloxham, S., & Boyd, P. F. (2007). Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Dede, C. (2008). Theoretical perspectives influencing the use of information technology in teaching and learning. In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (pp. 43–62). New York: Springer.

Department of Education. (n.d.). Training and Employment Strategic Plan 2013-2014, Engaging minds. Empowering futures.

Downes, S. (2014, July 9). Beyond Institutions – Personal learning in a Networked World. Retrieved September 11, 2014, from Stephen’s web: http://www.downes.ca/presentation/343

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2007). Collectives, networks and groups in social software for e-Learning.  In World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education , 2460-2467.

Gannon-Leary, P., & Fontainha, E. (2007). Communities of Practice and virtual learning communities: benefits, barriers and success factors. Elearning papers.

Hall, A., & Herrington, J. (2010). The development of social presence in online Arabic learning communities. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(7), 1012-1027.

Harlen, W. (2006). The Role of Assessment in Developing Motivation for Learning. In J. Gardner, Assessment and Learning (2nd ed., pp. 171-183). London: SAGE Publications.

Harley, R. (2008). The Fall of the Wall: Beyond Walled Gardens in Higher Education. Paper presented at ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation International Conference: Creating Value: Between Commerce and Commons, 25-27 June, Brisbane. [viewed 28 Sep 2009] http://www.stereopresence.net/news/the-fall-of-the-wall-beyond-walled-gardens-in-higher-education

Higgins, R., Hartley, P., & Skeleton, A. (2002). The Conscientious Consumer: Reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning. Studies in Higher Education, 27(1), 53-64.

James, R., McInnis, C., & Devlin, M. (2002). Assessing learning in Australian Universities: Ideas, strategies and resources for quality in student assessment. Melbourne: Centre for the Study of Higher Education Australian Universities Teaching Committee.

Richardson, W. Mancabelli, R. (2011).  Personal Learning Networks – Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education.  Published by Solution Tress Press in Bloomington, IN.

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for a digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1). Retrieved August 1, 2008, fromhttp://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm

 

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As a learner, participation in NGL was useful for me.

I had a brother with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  We were two and a half years apart – I grew up living in the shadow of his illness (Bluebond-Langer, 1996).   Growing up I did not have any contact with other siblings and in fact wrote a book several years ago on this experience and thought that this course would be a great opportunity to learn how I would go about creating an online community where siblings could engage and share their experiences.

In looking back it has been a fantastic opportunity as a learner to use NGL on this topic.   So far I have seen many examples from around the world where CF support communities exist.  Twitter is alive with them and Facebook also has its share.  In looking forward, I aim to see what NGL can offer groups such as these.

I think one of the most frustrating things about being a learner is not knowing what I don’t know.  When I commenced this course, the technology was new, the concepts were new, the language was new and trying to get my head around PKM was new.   To take this new way of working and transfer it to learning something new was another step up the learning ladder.   Originally, I thought about doing something such as learning how to fix a ding on a surfboard but that was easily achieved through the use of YouTube on one rainy Saturday afternoon.

CLEM and communities

The CLEM (Community, Literature, Examples and Model) approach to learning and teaching was a useful approach to assist in gathering thoughts and making a planned approach.

Community

In assessing which communities were already out there I ended up searching on Facebook and Twitter.  I found multiple communities and linked up with these.  I found one called ‘Run SickBoy Run’ and another one called ‘Spit It Out’ which is a patient’s perspective on developments in the treatment and management of CF.  A lot of these links then provided links to other sites across the globe.  For example, CF CanadaCF TrustCFUniteCochrane Cystic Fibrosis GroupGen Hanley’s CF Research BlogOrgan DonationhealthtalkonlineUK Clinical Trials GatewayUK CF Gene Therapy ConsortiumCystic Fibrosis FoundationCystic Fibrosis Research, Inc.Rare Disease UKEurordis.

In terms of my real interest on siblings it was a little harder to locate Communities.  The ones I did include were based on Google searches.

Literature

‘Chronic disease in children can lead to a host of social and psychological problems for patients and their families.  The burden on the family may cause marital conflicts, limit social life, distract attention from other children.’ (Shapiro & Heussnet, 1991, p 63.).

There is a range of literature around siblings of people with disabilities or terminal illnesses and the psychosocial impacts.  From looking at the literature it is clear that support tools are an important means of offering emotional and social development opportunities to build self-concept (Dew, Balandin, & Llewellyn, 2008).  As highlighted in other sibling studies literature, it was common for siblings to be dissatisfied with the lack of information they had received to the point that they had not felt involved the dying process (Nolbris & Hellstrom, 2005).

The same article said that siblings stated that friends and school were important as a means of representing a normal environment – an escape.  Communities offer the opportunity to meet, share feelings and provide a sounding board for questions and new ideas; as James Surowiecki (2004) says, ‘Many can be smarter than the few.’   In my experience growing up, the problem was in locating such a network.  However, today with the benefit of the internet, such communities are easily accessible.

Examples

One example of where networked learning is being used to help siblings of those with terminal illnesses is called www.livewire.org.au.  It is dedicated to people between 10 and 20 for connecting with like-minded people.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t support older age groups but that maybe an opportunity for me to pursue.

Model

The ICT would work by people coming together to share and learn from each other’s experiences.  It would be an online space where people can connect and share what they are either going through or have gone through.   It would involve real life stories, networking, sharing resources and using others to answer questions and encourage people to build their coping skills and strategies.

Global connectedness

Global connectedness offers the opportunities for communities to develop.  It is obviously important for business and economic growth.  According to this blog from Deutsche Post DHL experts,   ‘People of globalized countries enjoy access to a wider variety of goods and services, lower prices and more and better-paying jobs’.  In terms of NGL, one of the key benefits of global connections is that information flows.  A global network can expand educational opportunities.  As the blog says, ‘We believe educational equality is strongly linked to employability, and that young people should have access to the full range of career opportunities a connected world provides.’

Connectivism

Stephen Downes  describes how connectivism works. ‘[K]nowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.’   Social constructivism as a learning theory and its application to the classroom and the learning environment setting has many benefits (Zualkernan, 2006).  As this site says, ‘the classroom is no longer a place where the teacher (“expert”) pours knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled. In the constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning.’ 

As a learner in NGL this means that siblings who have grown up or are growing up around cystic fibrosis, through connectivism, can use their experience to not only help others but also construct and make meaning of their own situation.   Unlike my experience, as a passive recipient, with nobody to share,  people can be part of a constructivist experience solving problems where ‘there is a sense of connectedness, of shared passion and a deepening of knowledge to be derived from ongoing interaction. Knowledge development can be continuous, cyclical and fluid.’ (Gannon-Leary, Fontainha, 2007).

 References

Bigum, C., & Rowan, L. (2013). Ladders, Learning and Lessons from Charlie: exploring the potential of public click pedagogy (No. 2).

Bluebond-Langer, M. (1996).  In the shadow of illness.  Published by Princeton University Press. New Jersey USA.

Dew, A., Balandin, S., & Llewellyn, G. (2008, June 7). The Psychosocial Impact on Siblings of Peole with Lifelong Physical Disability: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Development Physical Disabilities.

Gannon-Leary, P., & Fontainha, E. (2007). Communities of Practice and virtual learning communities: benefits, barriers and success factors. Elearning papers.

Nolbris, M., & Hellstrom, A.-L. (2005, July/August). Siblings’ Needs and Issues When a Brother or Sister Dies of Cancer. Journal of paediatric Oncology Nursing, 22(4), 227-233.

Shapiro, L. B., & Heussnet, R. C. (1991). Parent’s Guide to Cystic Fibrosis. Minneapolis USA: University of Minnesota Press.

Surowiecki, J. (2004). The wisdom of crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few. London: Abacus

Zualkernan, I. (2006).  A framework and a methodology for developing authentic constructivist e-Learning environments.  Educational Technology & Society, 9(2), 198-212.

 

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As a student, participation in NGL was useful for me.

As a student entering the course

I commenced this course with the aim of expanding my knowledge in the area of networks and communities of practice.  Networked and global learning (NGL) has been both fascinating and it has challenged not only my understanding of knowledge and how it is shared (Harley, 2008), but also what it means for teaching and the future.  It would seem, as David Weinberger suggests, the future of knowledge is unknown as the institutions as we have known them are falling apart.

For me as a student, this has been the most challenging yet most exciting part of NGL.  As Eleisha says in her post on Connected learning and Generative themes‘One person blogs about something, then someone else takes their idea and furthers it with more literature and soon, so much content is developed, it feels impossible to take it all in. Yet, I feel this is democratic learning at its finest. Students are able to critically evaluate position theory within their context and recognise the biases and assumptions in learning.  What a powerful tool for our students to engage in!

Connectivist pedagogy

One of the benefits of NGL is learning through connecting.   As Mari points out,  ‘When you are engaging in NGL, you are interacting with various sources of knowledge, that were put “out there” by people, but you’ll probably never get to know the real person behind those thoughts, ideas or information.’   NGL has allowed me to observe my colleagues and model their behaviours which has meant I have learned far quicker and easier than I would have if I had been working in alone (Bandura, 1977; Cherry, 2014).

As a student, I have experienced the benefits of Connectivist pedagogy which have included the ‘aggregation, re-mixing, re-purposing, and feeding forward with the purpose of creating more connected and hence effective learning’  (Downes, 2011).  As Stephen Downes’ says, ‘Connectivism as a network-based pedagogy where there are no fees, no barriers of any kind, to participation.’   This has huge implications for future students and teaching practices.  For example, one of the benefits of NGL is the rich diversity of opinions one is exposed to and the phenomenon of ‘homophily’ which both Andrew  and Deb discussed in their posts.

Communities of Practice

My interest as a student in this course has been in knowledge management and how NGL can add value within an organizational development context.  Knowledge management (KM) is a conscious strategy for organisations where knowledge is captured and directed to ensure it gets to the right people at the right time.  Duguid (2008), suggests that, if performed well, KM can enable cutting edge performance by empowering and encouraging innovative work practices.

KM is imperative for organisations seeking a competitive edge, because by helping people share and put information into action, organisational performance is improved (O’Dell & Grahyson, 1998).  Communities of practice (CoPs) have been recognized for the value they bring in driving performance and innovation (Cross, Laseter, Parker, & Velasquez, 2005),  and I think NGL can assist to share what works, steward knowledge and continuously nurture and tap into latent knowledge (Hasanali, Hubert, Lopez, Newhouse, O’Dell, & Vestal, 2002; Kerno & Mace, 2010).

Blogging

For me success as a student in NGL is about reaching mastery through practice (Wenger & Snyder, 2000).  I can see that my skills in the area of blogging have improved considerably because of practice and being part of a community.  As Andrew says, ‘I think just experiencing it and practicing and playing around with it was the best course of action and over time I got more of a handle on it and understood how to better use it.’  There are some very skilled fellow students and NGL has allowed me to watch and learn in a supportive environment.  However, I have also used the internet to find ways to improve my blogging techniques such as these great sites; 16 top tips from blogging experts for beginnersBlogging tips you should know and Top 10 blogging tips for beginners.   Since reviewing these sites I have been able to improve my own site several times.

Eleisha’s post on blogging resonated with me.  It’s a risk to put something out there, but I think that unless we risk we don’t grow and that is where I see NGL as useful.  It allows us to get instantaneous feedback through practice and move into a deeper level of learning where we stand back from an experience, seek out connections between concepts and contextualise meaning (Rosie, 2000).  As Associate Professor Jill Walker says in her post on blogging as a tool for reflection and learning, ‘Blogging combines aspects of thinking-writing with aspects of presentation writing – and it adds in the conversation as well.’  Personal blogs are generally published immediately rather than constant drafting and revising and even though the blogs may not be perfect, they can assist in gaining confidence, participate in networks of other learners and practice writing.

I found that as Annelise points out this course was designed along NGL principles where students are encouraged, ‘to become autonomous learners actively engaged in the global community.’  Blogging has proved a rewarding and empowering experience for me.  The feedback has been instantaneous and I found that when working with an authentic audience my motivation and engagement increased.  It is coated in a thick layer of intrinsic reinforcement and instantaneous feedback.   Through a modelling process, I have been able to pay attention, store information, reproduce information and feel motivated to continue on the blogging journey.  Often when a colleague’s blogs were continually referred to I naturally went to check out what was being said and from that experience alone I was forced to reflect on my writing and blogging.

Since July I have learned about the versatility of NGL and how it impacts our lives and those of students on a global scale.  I have also understood technology can provide opportunities for CoP members to gather, work virtually and innovate (Mei-Tai, Shyu, Gwo-Hshiung, & Khosla, 2007; Scott, Tomadaki, & Quick, 2007).  Through NGL  social media can be used to alter frameworks, to shift them towards more learner-generated platforms.  When such shifts occur, learners experience authentic collaboration which is learner-negotiated and fully enabled (Cochrane, Buchem, Camacho, Cronin, Gordon, & Keegan, 2013).

References

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.

Cherry, K. (2014). About.com. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from Social Learning Theory:http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/sociallearning.htm

Cochrane, T., Buchem, I., Camacho, M., Cronin, C., Gordon, A., & Keegan, H. (2013). Building global learning communities. Research in Learning Technology, 21.

Cross, R., Laseter, T., Parker, A., & Velasquez, G. (2004). Assessing and Improving Communities of Practice with Organizational Network Analysis. The Network Roundtable at the University of Virginia, 1-33.

Downes, S. (2011, May 1). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/. Retrieved September 11, 2014, from Connectivism and Connective Knowledge: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephendownes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Duguid, P. (2008). Prologue: community of practice then and now. In A. Amin, & J. Roberts, Community, Economic Creativity and Organization (pp. 1-10). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harley, R. (2008). The Fall of the Wall: Beyond Walled Gardens in Higher Education. Paper presented at ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation International Conference: Creating Value: Between Commerce and Commons, 25-27 June, Brisbane. [viewed 28 Sep 2009] http://www.stereopresence.net/news/the-fall-of-the-wall-beyond-walled-gardens-in-higher-education

Hasanali, F., Hubert, C., Lopez, K., Newhouse, B., O’Dell, C., & Vestal, W. (2002). Communities of Practice: A Guide for Your Journey to Knowledge Management Best Practices. Houseton, Texas: APQC.

Kerno, K. J., & Mace, L. S. (2010). Communities of Practice: Beyond Teams. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 12(1), 78-92.

Mei-Tai, C., Shyu, J. Z., Gwo-Hshiung, T., & Khosla, R. (2007, May). Using Nonadditive Fuzzy Integral to Assess Performances of Organizational Transformation Via Communities of Practice. IEEE Transactions Engineering Management, 54(2), 327-339.

O’Dell, C., & Grayson, C. J. (1998). If Only We Knew What We Know. New York: Free Press.

Rosie, A. 2000, ‘Online pedagogies and the promotion of “deep learning”’, Information Services & Use 2000, vol. 20, no. 2/3, pp.109-116.

Scott, P. J., Tomadaki, E., & Quick, A. K. (2007). Using Live Virtual Technologies to Support Communities of Practice: the Impact of Extended Events. Technology-Enhanced Learning Communities of Practice at 2nd European Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning EC-TEL. Crete.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.

 

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Week 8 – Your learning? Your networks?

In considering this week’s study questions; What do need to still learn about NGL? How will learn it? How did you learn it?

I feel that critical reflection is one of them.  David’s link to  The University College Dublin‘s page on How to be Critical when Reflecting on Your Teaching provided useful food for thought.  In particular on self-reflection;

‘It is based on the assumption that self-reflection will be almost inevitably distorted by the social context and personal history of the reflector.’

I find this is a problem and not only a problem but a barrier to my personal growth.    As it goes onto say,

‘…critical reflection entails a challenge to the hidden assumptions of both the reflector and those of the surrounding social context. Critical reflection goes beyond mere reflection, which could be simply a review of actions in the light of accepted precepts, in that it requires the reflector to “deconstruct long-held habits of behaviour by looking beyond the behaviour itself to their own self-image and examining why they do what they do”. (Silverman & Casazza 2000: 239).’ 

I find that we need others to bounce off, provide feedback and challenge us – only through this experience can we progress.   Without a community we can live in a reality which isn’t quite accurate.    Brookfield’s (1988) four activities to critical reflection summarise the assumptive dilema,

‘ Assumptions are our way of seeing reality and but if we are unaware of them they can trap us into false reasoning.’ 

And the danger is that if we head off in a certain direction based upon this ‘false reasoning’ it could cause a raft of problems down the track as well as cost significant dollars.

So how do we challenge our assumptions if we don’t where they hide and what are the implications for either me as a student, learner or teacher?   For example in one of the projects I have worked on we made the assumption that all adults were self-directed learners and built a range of tools to support end users in using new software.   We were fortunate in that we achieved some good outcomes but had we the time we would have tested that assumption.

I discovered a great article titled, Learning to teach by uncovering out assumptions.  In particular I liked this quote;

‘Everything we do in the classroom is founded on a set of assumptions about learning and teaching, about knowledge, and about what counts as legitimate reading and writing. That is, each of us operates on the basis of what Chris Argyris (1976) calls our “action theories. ”  Our beliefs about learning and teaching are largely tacit. We operate a good deal of the time from an intuitive sense of what is going on without actively reflecting on what our intentions might be and what our actions could be saying to students.  Our beliefs about learning and teaching can only be uncovered by engaging in systematic self-critical analysis of our current instructional practices.’ 

The article goes onto say,

‘I can see our learning opportunities come from comments made in passing, from a statement overheard, from something a student might write in a journal, from something we might read either because it confirms our experiences or because we disagree and have to consider what we believe instead, or because it opens possibilities we haven’t thought about before.’

So in bringing this back to NGL I think that the connectivist experience offers all of us for the purpose of student, learner and teacher the opportunity for critical reflection through the testing of our assumptions.

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Navigating NGL is like going to the amusement park for the first time…

I laughed as I read Mari’s post about writing the essays.  I too, am starting to find myself waking up thinking about blogging and wondering how I am going to unravel another learning layer on my journey to understanding how to learn what it takes to create an engaging online environment for people to create a community.

Mari mentions Keith Brennan’s post  so I had decided to make one more click and was whisked away to another page full of yet again new material to absorb.  I quickly became lost in the material, which by the way, is happening more and more these days, and got thinking about the novice experience.

Keith talks says,

‘Motivation is the engine of effort and the sense of self is the ticking heart of motivation.’

In thinking about learning in low risk environments I couldn’t help but wonder where success and failure fall on the connectivist continuum?  How do technology and learning novices go about to build foundation of confidence which is critical to move forward in experiencing the world of NGL?

In thinking about creating a place where people are willing to share, connect and learn it clearly comes down to motivation and the user experience.   However, as we know, what motivates me may motivate you and vice versa.  In working on assignment 1 I’m finding that it’s a balance between quantity and quality.  How can I produce quality blogs, engage with my colleagues and find time to live outside the NGL world?

As Deb says in her post about Blogging about blogging, trying to find time cover all blogs is becoming increasingly more difficult.  It’s a bit like going to an amusement park with the kids for their first time knowing you have only 2 hours to give them a great experience.  How do you do this?  What rides do you choose?  Do you go for the favourites, the classics that provide a nice view of the park, the ones that have the shortest queues or the ones that will guarantee they feel sick every time they look at a ride for the rest of their lives?

drayton_shockwave by thecrypt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  thecrypt 

So I guess as Keith Brennan says,

‘Connectivism’s mistakes have already been made. We have a  history of knowledge and experience to draw on. Technology and ideological elation do not relieve us of our responsibility to apply the hard won past to the overly optimistic present. Learners dictate the shape of theory, and this, as much as in person as online, is the driving force behind what we do, how we design, what experiences we put our participants through.’

So I think its about finding a balance so that we can utilise NGL for networking, collaboration and learning.

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Diversity and tools – me as a teacher

As discussed by Andrew in his post on Diversity of Learning Environments the danger is that we promote a ‘one size fits all approach’ which simply cannot work.  We need to be able to cater for individual needs in being able to provide a range of dynamic and varied activities so that students can leave the experience knowing and learning. 

Although NGL can provide a dynamic learning environment through the use of technology, I still think there is a downside in that those who struggle with technology will miss out.  Technology can play in a role in the future of teaching and learning – the idea of learning and collaboration both locally and globally is pretty exciting stuff.  Also the notion of teaching and learning existing in the social realm make sit possible to move away from siloed education.

It seems that there has never been so many resources out there for teachers to use.  Twitter and Flickr for networking and sharing…who knows what next year will hold.  The article that Andrew posted on schools taking global learning to the next level talks about students becoming internationally minded and becoming ‘true global citizens’. 

In terms of NGL informing my role in helping others achieve this global citizenship, I think its about providing vital skills so that people can be increasingly connected so that people aren’t living in a ‘bubble’ as the article suggests.  Through the use of interational perspectives learners can reflect on their own progress and collaborate on a more personal level.

I like the quote by Steven Mark, director of the International Primary Curriculum

‘To my mind helping kids to get a deepening sense of ‘others’ is absolutely at the heart of what good international, global learning should be about.’

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