CCK11 – Where does knowledge reside?

25 01 2011

The question asked by George (link) where does knowledge reside has been churning around in my mind for some time. I don’t have any clear answers, but i need to clear my mind to start on the week 2 stuff. I must admit that my reaction has been similar to Gary’s: I don’t know and what does it matter?

But now I’m beginning to think that it does matter. Afterall, if one of the roles of educators is to support learners in finding knowledge and creating it, we have to know where it might be lurking.

We always talk about knowledge as if it were a physical thing. We use language such as constructing, generating creating, storing etc. I’ve always thought of knowledge as being the stuff I know about inside my head – but almost as if it were something physical and tangible. Now I’m not a neuroscientist and I must admit that some of the references to network theory simply sail right over me.but, I can see that my knowledge is really just a network of connections that my brain has made between ‘knowledge artifacts’ – which might possibly be the ‘nodes’ in connectivitst terms.

So great –  the cogs of my brain have churned sufficiently to make connections between bits of knowledge that I’ve encountered, and to make some sense – to one degree or another –  out of those connections. But so what? Keeping it all in my head is of no use to anyone – can it really be called ‘knowledge’ until I externalise the connections I’ve made e.g through a blog post, formal paper, a conversation, a tweet, my own actions and practice…. To me, this is then the new knowledge that I’ve created, ready for myself and others to connect to and start the process again.

Hmmm – sounds very much like aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed-forward. Now where have I heard that before?!

CCK11 – Is there anybody out there?

20 01 2011

Photo of megaphone


This post is in response to a comment in the ‘Sample Link Post’ on 19th Jan about how the comment format “decentralizes the discussions”. This very thought occurred to me today as I cycled to work. Whilst the benefits cited in this comment are valid: that it is difficult for any one individual to dominate the discussion, or for one or more people to ignite flame-wars in every forum, I ‘m not sure they are really reasons not to have a more centralised discussion format, and that we then risk losing many of the pedagogic benefits of focused debate.

My impressions are that the comment system is just that – a series of comments that can easily become decentralised to the point that they are dispersed and disjointed. Comment are made in response to individual blog posts and become lost in the mass of daily new blog posts, which will have their own set of comments. How and where do the deeper, focused, more extensive and on going debate happen that is so integral to the learning process. Where is the space that facilitates the pulling together, weaving, integrating of thoughts and ideas around around a focus? Where is the ‘debate’?

Does it need to happen? I’m suspecting that one response will be that if I feel that is what is needed then I should set it up – but then people have to be able to find it. Is it appropriate for a course such as CCK11 facilitate and provide such a space?

(As an aside, I do acknowledge that it isn’t yet fully clear to me how the ‘comment’ system works – but I was nicely surprised to see in today’s Daily that blogs that had comments on were then identified as ‘new discussion threads’ – so this might actually be the answer.)



Review of 4 Learning Theories – CCK11

19 01 2011

Saw this from Linns feed in the CCK Daily Newsletter. A nice concise overview! Not sure how to actually ’embed’ the file, rather than just give the link 😦

According to G.Siemens

The table below indicates how prominent learning theories differ from connectivism:

Property Behaviourism Cognitivism Constructivism Connectivism
How learning occurs Black box—observable behaviour main focus Structured, computational Social, meaning created by each learner (personal) Distributed within a network, social, technologically enhanced, recognizing and interpreting patterns
Influencing factors Nature of reward, punishment, stimuli Existing schema, previous experiences Engagement, participation, social, cultural Diversity of network, strength of ties, context of occurrence
Role of memory Memory is the hardwiring of repeated experiences—where reward and punishment are most influential Encoding, storage, retrieval Prior knowledge remixed to current context Adaptive patterns, representative of current state, existing in networks
How transfer occurs Stimulus, response Duplicating knowledge constructs of “knower” Socialization Connecting to (adding) nodes and growing the network (social/conceptual/biological)
Types of learning best explained Task-based learning Reasoning, clear objectives, problem solving Social, vague
(“ill defined”)
Complex learning, rapid changing core, diverse knowledge sources

CCK11 – Blowing in the wind?

19 01 2011

Photo of a Jericho Rose

I must admit that I do share other CCK11ers anxieties about being overwhelmed with information on this course and how to find a way through it. This can partly be solved by trying to establish some clear objectives for myself – but surely that is only part of this learning process. I have started to wander how the pedagogy of this kind of course works in practice. In my previous post I commented on the fact that I felt fairly secure in my understanding of Constructivism – where the tutor takes on the role of the guide on the side, rather than the sage on the stage. I’m sure this is probably true of Connectivist approaches too.

At the moment I feel a little like a Jericho Rose – alone in a vast wilderness being bowled along rather aimlessly in hope of finding a drop of water to hopefully sprout a few roots and flourish – if only momentarily or periodically 🙂 In the zillions of blog posts, twitter feeds and other content generated on this course not only is there the question of how do we keep up with it all as reflected on by Tracey Parish, a fellow CCKer, in her blog, but how do we, as learners, begin to find content that is relevant, useful, challenging, new… What role does the tutor have to play in supporting the learner to find that needle in the haystack?

I’m also struck by a thought that a connectivist approach to learning may be better suited to Adult learners, who can cope with chaos, who have some confidence in what they need to learn and have some idea of where to begin. What about those learners who need much more scaffolding, who lack confidence in their own ability – those that might easily be lost along the way? After all education has quite a reputation of losing so many of its learners.

Again, these are just some initial thoughts that have been sparked off so far by my admittedly very limited reading!

CCK11 – A New Dawn

19 01 2011

Photo of sunrise

I like to try to add a photo to each of my blog posts and I’ve just realised that I missed the perfect opportunity today. This morning I tweeted the fact that I was greeted by a beautiful red sky in London due to the fact that I had got to work extra early to give myself time to start CCK11. I should have taken a quick snap of it too. Never mind – this one will suffice.

Enough babble.

Some initial thoughts:

Like Leitha, I too am easily over-awed by the ‘higher plane’ of some academic discussions, and this was exactly my feeling as I read What connectivism is, and What Connectivism Is Not. However, I’m sure this is because the discourse is just so new.

OK, so at first much of it did seem a lot of old mumbo-jumbo jargon and I found it so scary that I stopped reading, but the mind did start churning:

In terms of learning theory, I’ve always strongly aligned myself with the ideas behind Social Constructivism, which at its heart is that each individual constructs their own personal knowledge through dialog and interactions with others. I like this – it’s tangible, I can relate to idea that I ‘build’ or construct my own level of understanding and personal knowledge. Connectivism (at the moment at least) feels a much more abstract concept – I don’t yet have any kind of mental image or any kind of ‘peg’ to contextualise this new theory yet. I feel like I need to make a shift from a very ‘internal’ (to an individual) view of what knowledge is, to a more ‘external’ idea.

Is there such a thing as ‘personal knowledge’ – all the things that I know and understand? Is this not knowledge – or is it a  a representation of the ‘connections formed by my actions and experiences’ ?

I’m not expecting to find any answers soon – but at least I’m feeling brave enough to open another link and try some more reading 🙂