Rhizomatic learning #etmooc

EefjeOn You’r the teacher we are discussing a tweet of Christoph Hewett.

In my opinion the question is whether etMOOC should be more student centered and for that purpose give different approaches for newbies and oldies.  (This is a very short resume, you should read the original discussion).

The rhizomatic view on learning, which is the / a philosophy behind the  cMOOC, does not  define and structure the definition of learning. All different kinds of learning and “levels” of learning do fit into a cMOOC.  (I hesitate to use ” levels” of learning, for what is the difference of the learning of a newbie and an oldie? It is not a level of learning.)

If some newbie is wrestling to make a Twitter account, that is learning. Should we help this newbie? Everywhere on internet she can find explanations of Twitter. The cMOOC is as wide as the internet. This newbie could even ask her friends in college to explain Twitter, or her big sister.  That is, the MOOC is a rhizome, without boundaries, and the MOOC-student may connect to anybody and anything to learn.

Frustration and anger are part of learning as the baby next to me shows. Sometimes she is red of frustration because her baby gym does not do what she wants.

The cMOOC has no page with learning goals, or a rubric or a clear purpose. So whatever one learns in a MOOC (or without a MOOC) is OK. Even if it is to make an account on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “Rhizomatic learning #etmooc

  1. Hi Jaap,

    and thanks for posting your thoughts.

    I suspect we disagree about aspects of learning – at least where novices are concerned.

    It looks pretty clear from studies that novcies and experts (in general) benefit from different approaches. Experts probably benefit from fairly hands off problem based and enquiry learning, and novices probably benefit from structured learning.

    Both can, and often should be, collaborative, but where experts don;t need, and don;t benefit from things like worked examples, novices certainly do.

    The difference in learning requirements is probably to do with prior knowledge, and with cognitive load – which have a massive and important relationship.

    Dump a newbie in a tweetchat, and ytou will watch them drown, and possibly re-evaltuate and downgrade their own capability, capacity and learning power. Their motivation will probably evaporate, and their learning will hugely suffer.

    Given them the learning supports to lessen their cognitive load, structire their learning so that tasks are achievable, useful, and be transparent about that, give them a learning curve that is both challenging and acheivable, and you give them the best chance to thrive.

    Frustration and anger can be part of learning. They don’t have to be. There are other choices. And when frustration and anger are a response to a learning curve that seems impossible, then dropping out, blaming behaviour, and possibly depression are a consequence. This is avioidable – and there is substantial evidence from a motivation and learning outcome perspective that structure and guidance are what helps avoid these consequences.

    Give your experts too much support, or tool little freedom and challenge, and learning also suffers.

    Our learners are multiple, different and assorted. No one size fits all solution works, because there is no one size fits all learner.

  2. Hi Jaap: I appreciate the point that people can get help from others in a cMOOC, including other participants, their friends and family, the internet itself, etc. In fact, one of the things I’m loving the most about etmooc is that the participants are so very helpful in this way. Whenever someone has a question about some tool we’re using, or an idea we’re discussing, someone else steps in to help or to offer their own views. Only sometimes do people’s questions or comments go unanswered…but that’s only because of the large size of the mooc and the fact that people don’t have a lot of time. I agree that these sorts of connections and discussions are very, very important.

    I also agree that we can often find exactly what we need by searching the internet. In fact, that’s how I learned to use most of these tools, on my own, without any other help. When I have a specific question about how to use Google+, for example, I just do a search and usually find answers. This can work very well, but sometimes it can also be very, very time consuming to find the right answer. I have spent hours trying to figure out how to do some particular things in Excel before, and having someone give me the best websites they’ve found would have been an immense help. You can find answers by doing searches on the internet, but sometimes winnowing down what’s helpful from what doesn’t work, or is old and doesn’t fit the updated versions of apps or software, is crucial.

    So I agree with much of what you say, but also agree with Keith’s (wiltwhatman’s) points, above. I still think a balance is best!

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