Get it #cck11 Light Bulb Experience

We have ample evidence that a proportion of students do eventually “get it”. And once they complete their course and get into practice, a substantial majority get it.  But it’s not clear how we get them to get it, if you see what I mean.  We seem to be trying to teach the unteachable (the ideas, not the students). Atherton J S (2011).  Jenny Mackness blogged about this research on light bulb experiences.

I wonder if networks do make students ‘get it’ better or sooner than teachers in a classic setting? “Sitting next to Nellie” is a way of connecting to people who know and to knowledge.

For Etienne Wenger, learning is central to human identity. A primary focus of Wenger’s more recent work is on  the individual as an active participant in the practices of social communities, and in the construction of his/her identity through these communities (Wenger et. al 2004). In this context, a community of practice is a group of individuals participating in communal activity, and experiencing/continuously creating their shared identity through engaging in and contributing to the practices of their communities.

A Community of Practice  is a tight-knit social construct, and the concept of network has challenged the concept of a tight-knit social construct. Networks are loosely organized structures in which people do not necessarily collaborate or communicate directly. However, the question is what role networks play in relation to learning. A conclusion of this debate is that there exists a form of social interaction – social networking – that learning theories have difficulty explaining. More questions arise: What kind of relations support learning, and, specifically, how do networks support learning?  … Learning takes place through problem-oriented activities, in which students are directed at solving a problem or achieving a goal.

“…Within cooperative online learning a central challenge is to enable students to follow the work of their colleagues. If students are unaware of the activities of fellow students, they might not make use of each other. This problem is reinforced within online education, where students do not meet face-to-face….”  This problem in network learning has to be solved in the network. The network exists thanks to technical possibilities like social media. The possibilities of social media have to be used by students in the network to foster transparency and awareness. This is still a problem  “… Discourse and interaction won’t happen that easily if course participants are too dispersed over different spaces. …” .The problem is not the dispersion, the problem is students did not learn to connect. A forum is not the solution, people connecting  to people is the solution.

One practical and technical solution is to make use of pingback to connect blogging  students.

In cooperative online learning  students must be encouraged to share. “If you don’t share you don’t cooperate, you don’t learn”. Learning is not reading a text twice. Learning is to manipulate information, play with information, until the  the light is shining, a connection is emerging, knowledge is being made.

6 thoughts on “Get it #cck11 Light Bulb Experience

  1. Nice post Jaap with lots of questions that will continue to be asked for a long time hence. Re: ‘A forum is not the solution, people connecting to people is the solution.’ and ‘One practical and technical solution is to make use of pingback to connect blogging students’ I know I’ve laboured the forum point a bit but I think it’s as much part of the solution as blogs are – a lot of people do not blog.

  2. Great post. My whole learning life has been spent in periferal learning. (Except for the part called “learning” when I was in school and worked with things that had no application beyond preparing me to be tested on them). I’m not an academic so I don’t understand the need for a theory that explains everything, like we seem to be straining at to make connectivism do. I thought it was religeon’s role to do that.

    Loved the paper by Gopnic available here full text:
    The concept of overteaching is in apt contrast to the apparent connectivist insistance on underteaching.

  3. Hi Lea, This is a post I like. Thanks. Schools have to be more confident in the power of their own education. Most students want to learn. Management wants control and test results and that is how they destroy good education.
    Regards Jaap
    I am very curious how this comment will reach you. Is it easy, do you receive a warning or do you receive a mail? Would you be so kind to send a mail to to tell me how this reply is comming to you?

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