I watched the Ed Tech Weekly interview with Dave Cormier about rhizomatic learning, with Jeff Lebow and Jennifer Maddrell as the interviewers. My intention was to repurpose the content and add in my observations. However, my ongoing medical issues and infections are causing facial problems so I won’t be appearing on a video any time soon. Consequently, I thought I’d put my notes thus far into a blogpost.
The timings in the left-hand column represent roughly when things happened in the video. Text in blue italics is from notes I made from the video content directly, and my comments appear directly underneath for each section.
|00:00:13 – 00:01:24||Dave Cormier (DC) starts to say about hating to argue with Positivists I think I might have held a more Positivist stance when I was younger. Perhaps my outlook in my late teens & early twenties was kinda this way, until I started to grapple with things much more and didn’t see things solely in terms of black and white or right and wrong. That’s not to say I don’t still think that in some areas of my life; we’re complex creatures living in a complex Universe so it shouldn’t be surprising that we have a range of responses and aren’t consistent across all areas. There is still a little bit of me that yearns for truths that we can strive to find.|
|DC – asked what about the way people build aeroplanes or doctors practice medicine and treat people.Well I’ve had direct experience of this over the past year. A medical issue has been with me throughout the year and still is. I’ve had surgery twice, made numerous other hospital visits, and had umpteen infections. My case has been an unusual one, and as one doctor said to me “If you saw six different surgeons you’d receive three different treatments, some of which would be quite invasive and drastic.” As I talk through my situation with concerned colleagues and friends I always point out that the medical professionals I’ve encountered have done a fantastic job, and that there isn’t a clear way through these difficulties. This isn’t an exact science where doing this will lead to that outcome. It’s more a journey where we all find out new things that inform the future. Is that an encapsulation of learning?|
|DC gets tired of the argument with people saying it’s got to be objectivist or it doesn’t make any sense; not interested in having to dispel peoples’ beliefs. If people are willing to have a discussion that’s fine.This got me thinking about maybe different levels of belief. There are people with profound beliefs that are perhaps unshakable (or perhaps that could be very difficult to shake). These beliefs seem to constitute an element of what that person is.
However, are we not all shaped by what I’ll call ‘micro-beliefs’ which can be transient or longer lasting. I don’t know if this is right, but it kind of feels to me that we all make judgements about everything; we take a particular stance. These micro-beliefs are then open to discussion, debate and influence. When you participate in a discussion you come from a particular belief position, or can quickly take up a position within the context of the discussion, but part of the process is that you are open to suggestion and persuasion by other participants that can then influence and cause you to change your micro-belief.
|00:09:00||Only in the education system are things clearly defined and clearly attained. Elsewhere things are much more fuzzy. Learning is taking place in an artificial environment. People are coming out as robots that have to re-train for the next task they encounter.|
|00:13:00||Two people hear the same thing but walk away with two different understandings.This is a point I remember making during a course I did back around 2000. People’s comprehension is always different or always has the potential to be different. (There would have to be a research study to back up that ALWAYS DIFFERENT statement I just made.)|
|00:14:00||If you design the learning process to have the same outcome for everyone that won’t happen; it’s another artificial. You can force everyone to give you the same outcome but that won’t mean the same thing happens inside them.|
|00:14:20||Give people the language they need; the shorthand to enable them to communicate the concepts of a subject in a commonly understood format.|
|00:15:00 – 00:17:02||The Rhizome metaphor is really similar in a sense to the network metaphor. But the network metaphor is really really tidy. There’s dots, there’s points and lines connecting them. They are all contained and bounded and connected.It gives the sense that all you have to do is get that network like that other person and when you have it then you’re good.
The rhizome is personal in a sense. Each one is going to be different. The directions are going to be different. Every single entity is going to move off in their own direction and make those connections but they’re not tidy and they are not dots and lines, they are way more weird and disconnected than that.
This is the crux of things for me, encapsulated in this section. I think it’s been said earlier in the Change11 MOOC that ‘learning is messy’. Similarly, ‘networks of learning are messy’. They are fluid and dynamic, they move, ebb and flow from day-to-day with subtle differences in interactions and connections. They take off all over the place and aren’t linear.
|00:18:00||Is this the individual? Where’s the learning institution?Yes individual learners
The way we’ve always learned. Easier now. Not as much kudos in simply remembering what other people have thought.In the past, being able to remember what other people said was a valuable skill.
|00:23:15||How are we going to innovate and create?Can’t grow on the truths we had before (the previous generation).|
|00:24:20||We don’t know what jobs our kids will be doing in the future. Many jobs don’t even exist yet.|
|00:24:56||Joining a system (e.g. Twitter) to build a network is one of the places where the Network model suggests replication all the time. And there lies the danger. “Try to figure out what the Network is & then replicate it. Then you’re right back in the same place again.”On courses I get people asking, “What does success look like?”
Dave says he has some failure to share.
For a course you need to build a structure to frame a discussion, for the learning to take place, otherwise you just have the web. (That’s what the web is a great big learning space with no walls.)
You can’t teach people what they need to know but they can learn how to go about doing it.
|from the YouTube MOOC Change11 interview video||Dave asked “What is the education system for?”If it is so people come out of it being able to be empowered to take things into their own direction, to be critical thinkers. That’s the reason we educate. The other stuff doesn’t go away, it’s just not the primary thing we’re trying to do.
Can replicating what other people said be a stepping-stone to understanding the concepts?