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Making sense of intuitive chaos navigation in a miniscule open online course

September 5, 2011

Thanks to Robyn for kicking off our YahooGroup list with exactly the question that needs to be asked on the first day of the course.

As Robyn teaches  in the UAE (where I am) I can relate to her situation with her students. As she points out, they have been learning through an educational system that encourages rote learning with heavy emphasis on summative assessments. Teachers here might like to introduce them to more holistic ways of learning including exposure to critical thinking and doing basic research and encourage them with formative assessments. When you suggest that, some of your colleagues will make the argument
that they (I meant the students đŸ™‚ are comfortable with certain styles of
learning, we should stick to those. Others might see it as their job as the
foreign experts to try and get them to adopt new ways of learning including
perhaps making certain paradigm shifts in their thinking about learning.

Robyn points out that she has taken four PPOT courses already, and I have no way of knowing for sure, but I think this course is going to be structured quite differently to those.

I think that in an overall program there should be some courses which follow different methodologies than others in the same program of
instruction in order to give participants a well rounded exposure to various
approaches to education and learning.

This course seeks to be both experiential and experimental. Because what is to be learned is ineffable, it must be done to be understood (part of the experimentation). This also applies to students. To get them to apply the latest affordances of the Internet to their learning process, we need to get them DOING it. But first we need to be doing it together here (the experience part).

This course will explore approaches based in MOOCs with assessment via what I call Me-Porfolios. This is all you really need to do in the course;

  1. decide what you want to achieve here
  2. specify a plan for achieving your goals, and
  3. document your achievement in an Me-Porfolio

The course itself presents a Learning Environment in which you might work. I hope it will suggest a cohesive framework for you to reflect on how you think we all learn. As it is in real life, especially with coming to grips with a slope as slippery as the Internet, what we need to know is wickedly complex, but not necessarily chaotic. One goal of the course is for all of us to help each other ellucidate what appears chaotic into elements that will help us understand its complexity.

in the video on our Getting Started page
http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com/GettingStarted2011pp107
George Siemens argues “that the experience of learning, making sense of that chaos, is actually the heart of the learning experience, but if an instructor makes sense of that chaos for you and gives you all the readings and sets the full path in place for you then to a degree you are eviscerating the learner’s experience because now you’ve made sense of them and all you’ve told them is walk the path that I’ve formed. When it comes to complexity I’m a great fan of letting learner’s hack their way through that path and getting the value of that learning experience and that sense-making process.”

We’ll be discussing this as we enter our first week of the course, where we
ORIENT on the materials. In the second week we’ll be DECLARING our intentions with the course with an eye toward documenting what we do in some form of Me-Portfolios by the end of the course.

Hopefully this will appear less chaotic as we go along. One of our original
Webheads community members, Sus Nyrop, said after encountering us that she thought we practiced “chaos navigation”. After a while she had changed that to “intuitive chaos navigation.” I suppose she meant it was starting to make sense.

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