Complexity, uncertainty and learning and teachers and chaos #cck11

Certainty and structure gives a sense of security and tranquility. Uncertainty is a disease, according to many therapists. There are many therapies for uncertainty.
Knight : Uncertainty is risk that is immeasurable, not possible to calculate. Risk is measurable.

Uncertainty and complexity may give creativity and motivation.  (Anderson, Theresa, The many faces of uncertainty: getting at the anthropology of uncertainty). Creativity is a form of complex adaptive behavior.

“A dictator is trying to lead and command a complex adaptive system” that is a paradox and a contradiction. Because nobody is able to control a CAS, the CAS is ‘in control’.

Some  revolutionists want to start all over, they break everything down, and then comes the disappointment. For starting over with a complex adaptive system gives unpredictable results. You and I know of revolutions that wanted to  free the people which ended in severe oppression of the people.

In a complex network is always uncertainty. Living and learning in a network therefore requires tolerance for uncertainty. Learning always has a phase of uncertainty. How many times do you hear a student  shout: “Oh, I will never learn this!” Learning in a complex network is more uncertain than learning in a F2F relation.

(This could be one of the causes of some of  the attacks  on connectivism, and the burning question of the status of  the theory)

Some students have remarks on the role of the teacher in connectivist learning: “The theory of connectivism as it explains what knowledge is and what qualities of networks support learning makes sense to me. But I would like to see more room for teachers in these networks we’re positing. Teachers—even in schools dripping with technology resources—still matter” (LeaGrrl). Teachers are able to maintain a workable degree of certainty/uncertainty for pupils and students. Students need some uncertainty, but chaos is not a good environment to learn in. Teachers should guard the pupil from chaos.

In complex situations, situations with a great variety of possibilities it needs some one to be the guide, this guide could be a teacher.


6 thoughts on “Complexity, uncertainty and learning and teachers and chaos #cck11

  1. I like the idea of teacher as guide. Presumably a teacher would have some knowledge that might help a student on their path, and/or maybe the teacher offers some emotional support for the student particularly when the learning becomes difficult. I don’t think that chaos needs to be guarded against so much, maybe just an eye kept on it.

  2. Jaap, you touch on one of the key issues—complexity—for Connectivism to integrate into the general conversation about education. It seems to me that the other major strains of thought (behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism) all try to reduce the complexity of knowledge and learning to simple terms: one student, one thought. As my blog demonstrates, only in Connectivism do I find space to explore how learning can happen within the complex, often chaotic, conditions of the classroom. Thanks for your post.

  3. Yes, learning to live with uncertainty is important – maybe should become an educational priority as CAS become much more complex and responsive. For survival, our brains evolved to enable highly sophisticated internal models of the ‘real world’ and it can be difficult not to respond emotionally when the real world, or other people, challenge their consistency. Saying, “I don’t know” should become much more common, be it politics, religion or even learning theories!

  4. Uncertainty has its value as a catalyst for learning and creativity. I think the quote below speaks to that in the form of uncertainty being the unknown.

    >”Ignorance is an essential part of the way humans experience the world: there is always something that eludes our understanding. We used to imagine science would answer all our questions, but modern physics and biology make clear that life is more mystifying than we ever imagined. Mystics have also pitted themselves against the dark world of uncreated reality and discovered a state of “unknowing” that could only be expressed by silence. The Chinese sages called any kind of orthodoxy one-sided “obsession” and insisted that unassailable conviction was a sign of immaturity.”< Karen Armstrong

    Alternately, staff cuts are coming at work and the uncertainty (deliberately manipulated) has me overflowing with creative energy focused on my resume and portfolio. In the complexity of my adaptive behavior I seem to have lost interest in work or the team or formerly important projects. It's minus 35 degrees C outside and thinking beyond my own survival is, as they say, "academic."


  5. Olá, este é um belo post.
    Principalmente quando : In complex situations, situations with a great variety of possibilities it needs some one to be the guide, this guide could be a teacher.

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