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WikiQuals & Personalised Learning

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Alternative Education Futures

Presentation 17 June 2016 for the  personalised learning group looking at how new educational futures might allow for more personalised education. I think we can have “personalised learning” but not “personalised education” as long as we have pedagogically-driven education, so part of this presentation is about incorporating Andragogy (which is what I think education is about) and Heutagogy (which is what I think an education system should be enabling).

Meta-narrative in fact this presentation (for educators) is more a meta-narrative of how I go to the point of creating WikiQuals, which is not a sui generis project but the end result of several phases of action and reflection on what learning actually is and how education systems might support that learning.

Learners own learning is the key conclusion of all of my work and WikiQuals was designed with that in mind… Here is the presentation; comments and questions very welcome.

Affinity Groups

Designing for Rhizomatic Learning

Overview; Last week I discussed what I described as ‘designing for discontinuities’ outlining what I had learnt about rhizomatic learning from engaging in MOOCs. Jenny Mackness has added some parallel reflections in her blog post Between a MOOC and a hard place too. This week I am going to look at how we will try and implement what we learnt from those reflections on the values of social discontinuity for learning and the strength of weak ties in networking. The key element in implementing rhizomatic learning in WikiQuals will be in supporting the process of self-organised ‘affinity groups’. This will develop the earlier idea of using Affinity Partners, rather than supervisors (or teachers), to support the learning process.

Affinity Groups; The idea of the Affinity Partner is to be empathetic to the learner. A key aspect of WikiQuals is trusting learners to follow their interests and to determine for them selves what they want to learn. The affinity partner rather than supervising acts more as a critical friend moderating the work of their WikiSqolar. However having an Affinity Partner still reflects an individualised mode of studying. Following the discussion with Tony Hall on social learning it seemed to me that we need to develop groups within the WikiQuals group process and if allowed Sqolars to be part of differing affinity groups, not based on subject interest per se, but on more human impulses this would be a useful development. It would also be a good way of integrating andragogy into the WikiQuals process, which is a key part of the Open Context Model of Learning.

The Q of Social Intimacy; In Imagination Jonah Lehrer quotes the work by Brian Uzzi on the social intimacy Read the rest of this entry

Designing for Discontinuities

The Strength of Weak Ties

Learning Conversations; A key factor in the practical emergence of the current community of WikiSqolars has been the Everything Unplugged group who meetup every Wednesday for learning conversations. This exhibits the key quality of sociality, from which I see self-organised learning emerging, and have recently been having discussions about social learning, which Tony Hall is passionate about. The recent conversations have covered a range of topics which have, implicitly, helped me with my thinking about the post-institutional principles that inform the WikiQuals project. It has made me realise that what the current WikiQuals group needs to engage with, over our next cycle of activities, are the discontinuities of learning.

We are Rhizomatic; I recently took part in the excellent #fslt MOOC (first steps in learning and teaching) run by Oxford Brookes University, partly organised by Jenny Mackness who has been involved in organising and thinking about MOOCs for sometime. As I made clear in early discussions, I get the OO (Open Online) aspect but I don’t see the point of the MC (Massive Courses). I don’t think that learning scales like a product sells because learning is about engaging in social processes. I’m beyond being interested in the pedagogy of subject based-courses; subject-based study is not about learning it is all about *delivery*. However reflecting within the group on various MOOCs that we have been involved in recently has helped us at Everything Unplugged think about what appears to be the rhizomatic quality of (our) learning. Over the last few weeks I think we’ve come to an understanding that, as a group, we are rhizomatic in terms of our learning behaviours. The current global rush to MOOC everything is much more about extending the grip of institutionalised education.

Discontinuous Connections;  Read the rest of this entry

Inspiring Creative Learning

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Inspiring Creative Learning; Overview

I was asked by Violeta Serbu to prepare a stimulus for the the CROS Camp Learning day in August 2012 and we settled on a title, Inspiring Creative Learning. I will provide information as a series of blog posts, hopefully with responses from Vio, but you are welcome to comment at the end of this blog post.

I intend to discuss this in three parts starting with Inspiring, which I think is the hardest aspect to deal with as it is so personal and varies between people so much;

Inspiration is very personal and can come from many directions; family, relationships, friends, people you know, and people you don’t know, people who inspire you in something very specific, people in the media or in films, characters in novels or in TV shows and films. Identifying how any one individual is inspired, and then planning to reproduce that process of inspiration, is very problematic and so very difficult to plan for. Do Elena Ciric or Vlad Atanasiu inspire people in CROS for example?
People; I noticed in writing that list above that it is all about being inspired by individual people. We talk about the importance of role models in the UK, but that worries me because we are also dominated by an ideology of personal achievement,  yet when you analyse  ‘success’ it is a group achievement, even when one person, like Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France, is the face of that success. Personally I was inspired by The Beatles in various ways and one description of why they were successful was that people wanted to be in their ‘gang’ of friends (same with any successful pop group really). In fact whilst you might be inspired by individuals it is groups that help you achieve something distinctive.
Group Inspiration; I’ve realised  that I was involved in setting up many group activities in my life, the value of which I didn’t appreciate at the time, but from which I learnt many important lessons that were more useful to me than any hero-worship of some role-model with some probably unrepeatable ability, such as, say, John Lennon. So inspiration that helps develop your abilities is probably different from inspiration that helps provide you with motivation. Read the rest of this entry

WikiQuals Ph.D

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Building a new Community of Scholars

Background; Having been asked to develop a WikiQuals Masters and align it with the University Project I received more positive responses concerning a WikiQuals Ph.D, after an initial enquiry by Rosie Rafferty. Once a second query was added I realised it was possible. Currently we have 7 interested people, and this is a discussion of how a WikiQuals Ph.D might work.

The WikiQuals model is based on the Emergent Learning Model, which aims to design learning systems based on how people learn rather than where they are housed. Read the rest of this entry

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