CCK08 Week Two: Expectations of a Course on Learning, and Thoughts About How We Learn




  • ïFacilitating PCM: helping people to self-find, self-filter, self-publish, self-subscribe, and self-organize ëstuffí
  • ïTeaching research skills: methods, not tools
  • ïFacilitating conversations: with new simple, real-time connectivity tools (IM, screen-sharing, desktop video, Open Space)
  • ïFacilitating JIT canvassing: helping people discover who knows what and connecting them
  • ïStory teaching/recording: show don’t tell; let learners look over the master’s shoulders
  • ïEnvironmental scanning: discovering and communicating whatís new, whatís risky and whatís important
  • ïSense-making: assessing and communicating what it means, what people think about it, whatís being done, what should be done, who should be talking with whom, what is important to learn (see chart above)

Week 2 of the CCK08 Connectivism and Connnected Learning course was mostly about “types of knowledge”, not of great interest to me, especially since my current KM riff is about the need to switch attention (and resources) From Content to Context and from Collection to Connection.

So here I am among 2000 participants from around the world, all focused on knowledge and learning and how we can improve them. There is a lot of content being shared, but there is a clear struggle to make meaning of it, to put it into context that is useful. To do that, what is needed is conversation and connection. The conversations I have witnessed so far are mostly those among somewhat bewildered students of the course trying to figure out what to do. It’s the classic teacher-student co-dependence played out on a massive and virtual stage: Teachers need students to make a living. Students expect teachers to tell them something that they can credentialize, get ‘credit’ for that will improve their resume. They want ‘tests’ that will allegedly demonstrate who has learned the most.

Of course, tests don’t demonstrate anything of the sort. They demonstrate, mostly, which student was cleverest and most knowledgeable about the subject matter before the course began.

Most of the people in this massive open online course (MOOC) are not taking the course for credit (though I suspect many will claim it as personal PD). Most will not do the written assignments. Many, I suspect, will either drop out over the course of the twelve weeks when they cease to get anything more substantive out of it, or will peer back in every week or two and invest enough time to satisfy themselves they aren’t missing anything important. I may well be one of them.

But in the meantime I’m investing four hours a week in thinking and conversing about learning and knowledge transfer, because I think the subject is important. The two slides above (from my presentation next week at KMWorld & Intranets in San Jose) show where I’m coming from on this.

Knowledge Management was coopted, early on, by a combination of librarians and researchers (who thought it was all about knowledge content), corporate trainers (who thought it was all about learning content), and Intranet/Internet corporate webmasters (who thought it was all about web and groupware content). It took a decade before disgruntled users made it clear that they still learn and share knowledge the same way they always did: by picking up the phone or walking down the hall or getting on a plane and having context-rich real-time conversations. It was, and is, all about context and connectivity. So as my slide above shows, the seven most important initiatives of KM 2.0 are context-building, connection-building, and personal productivity initiatives — facilitating better, more informed conversations with the right people.

So far this course has not focused on that. But some of the later sessions are focused on the changing role of educators, which ties in to the seven initiatives above. Regular readers know I’m a fan of unschooling — of self-directed and self-organized learning, that is facilitated (coached), not taught. We learn through conversation, and through direct observation, with people who know more or different, from whence we pick up knowledge, ideas, insights, and new capacities. As much as I hate most of the content-focused KM 1.0 technologies, I love some of the context-focused, real-time KM 2.0 technologies (IM, screen-sharing, video capture/conferencing, Open Space) which can enable such facilitation, and enhance learning.

If the Connectivism course can show other ways to make this happen, I can hardly wait.

Now if only I could find some more robust ways to connect with the other participants, peer-to-peer!

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6 Responses to CCK08 Week Two: Expectations of a Course on Learning, and Thoughts About How We Learn

  1. Michelle says:

    Hi DaveI’m one of those ones who has been “sort of” following some of the CCK08 stuff from afar. I haven’t gone in depth into it – just am reading the blog feed at this stage (and your posts about it of course :)).I’m a bit cynical I guess as to the inherent “success” of this open course insofar as it it attempting to redefine the parameters for how people learn and disseminate information. To me there will be too many “Chiefs” trying to impose their ego’s – and their version of “knowledge” onto others. I can see it in myself! I know “stuff” and I expect you to learn it from MY viewpoint etc etc. It’s complicated to explain in a few short sentences, but I do suspect that for many ordinary people, the notion of humility and empathy when engaged in learning is a rather rare factor unfortunately.You’re right of course when you suggest that conversations peer-to-peer are the “best” avenues for learning. People don’t realise they’re learning then! They think its cool to get “news” or “info” or “gossip” etc but they don’t see it as a form of learning as such. As soon as that same sort of “stuff” is put into a context of Education, its handled so differently! I am seeing people do one of two things in the education process in the unit I’m currently undertaking through Online Universities Australia: they either go NUTS over HOW to be the BEST at the inconsequential details so as to impress the tutor (obsequious learners) OR they show off and become picky and egocentric and try to usurp the learning process though arrogant self-interested hegemony (assertive learners). I’m finding it REALLY hard to self-learn even on this “simple” topic I’m doing without the peer-to-peer support of like-minded and well…equally weighted in pre-existing knowledge…fellow students. If that makes sense without sounding like an arrogant prat! Many of the lovely people undertaking this course need so much hand holding over small details that are all available in our reading notes and online sources, its quite frustrating to learn in this context.Maybe its just me! so anyway… CCK08 may or may not make that much difference in the field of education but I do suspect it is a small step in the evolution of how learning will be done and/or understood in the not-too-distant future. The “old” models will necessarily need to change anyway to accommodate the sheer selection of information available for people to learn and manage anyway.

  2. Hi Dave,I really resonate with you “mentor” — show don’t tell model. I’m developing in the area of teaching and consulting — and doing a project at this time within our firm that is part of my Athabasca University project in my Graduate Diploma in Distance Education and Technology.I’m wanting to learn and do in the fashion that you refer to and to some extent demonstrate on your map. Thanks for sharing these ways of conceptualizing your work — and perhaps others’ work too. Jo Ann CCK08

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Michelle: Yes, I think like Second Life it’s a great idea that has trouble scaling.Jo Ann: Thanks. It’s fun working with Gen Millennium on this stuff…they really know how to use technology to enhance conversation.

  4. Susan Hales says:

    Dave, I’ve also signed up for CCK08, knowing full well that my life is already so busy that I might not be able to keep up with it at all, but amazingly I learned something that I was able to put into practical application the very first minute that I signed up. In signing on, I was presented with a googledocs form that actually tabulated the results in a way that allowed me to see not only my own comments and information but the others as well. It was a simple googledocs form but I’d never seen that before and I immediately saw that particular application as a solution to a problem I was currently having at one of my day jobs. I was so on fire about this one idea that I immediately put it to use creating the sign-in form linked to our event calendar and I’ve been on a high ever since. For me one of the benefits of this course might well be all of us getting into a virtual “room” and talking about ways that we solve particular problems of information management/exchange or whatever. As a long time observer of your work, I’ve learned tons of things from you, some of them immediately useful, and others implemented at a later date, but I’ve rarely found other forums I could get that immedate reward from in terms of having an “aha” moment about something we were discussing. I suspect one of the good things about this conference is the fact that it has come at a time when many of the tools have “matured” and are in wider use, and the problem is now one of having many people learn how to apply these tools to their lives both in business and in education. As my focus is in teaching (as a new English faculty member) and in teaching teachers how to teach (by virtue of my new job as assistant to the PETAL program) I find it thrilling to be able to observe and perhaps participate in this amazing event even if all we do is DO IT so that the next time it can be done better. The first live “conference” I watched (which wasn’t live by the time I watched it) was in some ways nothing more than a chat room with the potential to be more – but it was interesting to see how the moderators managed problems and responded to issues as they arose without losing the participants. Although I only saw at the most 50 at any one time it seemed that some ideas were being presented that were in response to the speakers and it could easily have become more of a conversation as the moderators and the attendees become more familiar with the format. As I’m experimenting with the PEARSON Education online learning products, I’m finding that the initial learning curve for students is the big problem but another problem is that the instructors have a learning curve of their own, and that depends on the participation of the students. So it’s crucial that both groups enter into the conversation with a willingness to take it further than the first “bump in the road” – and I hope that this course will do that also. I’m enjoying the potential expectation and hopefully all of us will learn some things that will be useful to us, and to the group as a whole. Good practices and lessons learned will be a big part of this first one. I’m sure that you will be among the partipants who will help guide that dialog and shape those practices in the coming weeks.

  5. Irmeli Aro says:

    Hi Dave, when scrolling the blog list posted Sep. 20. by Stephen I noticed we are both approaching connectivism from the KM / organizational development point of view. Interesting to see how our maps / ideas will develop throughout this course. Let’s keep in touch :)

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