What is Learning / Wat is leren?


I want to know what rhizomatic learning is.

We could start thinking about a definition and  explanations of learning.

Start at Wikipedia (often a good start for a search, as it gives links for sources):
Mmm, I do not know, Wikipedia? That is not very scientific, well for a start we could look at it. i guess that will not do harm.
What does Wikipedia tell you about learning?

It is here: Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines….[Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, Daniel M. Wegner (2009, 2011). Psychology, 2nd edition. Worth Publishers. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-4292-3719-2, via wikipedia]

What is this synthesizing different types of information? Is it learning? I would agree on the word ,knowledge, but not on ,information,!  What is the difference between knowledge and information?

Well this is only a start,

Learning is not only for little children. Most teachers seem to connect learning with children. But we humans do learn always. I doubt if it possible not to learn.
It (Rhizomatic Learning) freely admits the beautiful complexity of the human experience, and thus, by proximity, the sheer craziness of the learning process. This idea, not so much a learning theory as it is a clever and accurate metaphor, describes learning as having no beginning nor an end.
School is not the only place to learn. Think of all knowledge skills; behaviors; believes you learn after you left school. Humans do learn everywhere.

My conclusion of a quick search for an answer “what is learning” (and what I think I do know about learning): Question unsolved. We do know learning, and we cannot tell what it is. Would that mean learning is a rhizomatic concept?

Image: Most images about learning have arrows. A search for an image to explain and illustrate learning is disappointing. The image in this blogpost maybe it is nothing to do with learning. I made it.

Mooc op universiteit? Dutch universities going MOOC?

tablet student

Universiteiten staan voor de uitdaging om open online onderwijs te organiseren.
Natuurlijk, er zijn al vroege starters bezig, zoals Delft, maar de grote golf moet nog komen.
J. Bussemaker Minister for Education, Culture and Science did send a letter to the parliament to promote MOOCs and Open Education.

Open online onderwijs (OOO) stelt de univs voor problemen: Questions for univs
Hoe bind je de student aan de instelling?
Hoe voorkom je dat de student toch maar besluit om toch maar elders verder te studeren?
How to keep your students in your university?
Hoe geef je eigenlijk online les?
How to train teachers to become online teachers?
Question what Unique selling points of univ as mooc producer?
Hoe waardeer je het werk en de inspanning van de student.
How is grading done online?
Hoe school de docenten om tot deskundige online studieleiders.
Welke rol moet kan PR spelen,
How to involve PR people?
Hoe maak je echt goede online materialen, kunnen de grafische lycea daarbij helpen?
How to produce real good online lessons material, could design colleges assist?
“We are super-focused on customer service, which is a phrase that most univers can’t even use,” says Paul LeBlanc, SNHU’s president.
Wat is leren en wat is online leren?
What is learning and what is online learning?
Wat willen we met onze OOO bereiken?
What are our goals, objectives, values?
Hoe gaan we om met diversiteit aan vooropleidingen, leeftijd, cultuur, woonplaats, toegang tot internet?
How to handle diversity in online student population? Everybody from everywhere?
Wie zorgt tijdens de schoolvakanties in de weekeinden voor onze online cursisten?
Who is in charge after school hours, holidays, weekens?
Hoe zit het met eigendom auteursrecht enz?
How about copyright, and other juridical matters?
Hoe leer je studenten om te gaan met OOO?
how to train online students for online learning?

Teaching/learning machine takes over some teacher roles?

worktweetlisaThe subject is getting more and more interesting. Questions do multiply.
As more learning takes place online, the question of how to establish and maintain social presence–the perception that participants are interacting with other human beings, not with just a well-designed interface–becomes increasingly important. (Robert D. Wright in a call for proposals) Do we always need human interaction when learning?
Would a bad teacher be better than a good “teaching/learning machine” ?
Is a mooc a teaching machine?
Will moocs develop into very good teaching instruments that equal some or all qualities of a good teacher? (A MOOC with a talking head in video-colleges is not a “human presence” in an online course, a talking head is a pain in the eye)
Will “learning/teaching instruments” be cheaper than brick and mortar colleges? We did a MOOC almost at no cost at all. Some MOOCs are very expensive, but that is not necessary.
Is the human touch necessary for all kinds of schooling?
Can “learning/teaching machines” be a solution of the very high demand for education in Asia and Africa?
Could teacher-to-student communication be replaced with student-to-student communication in learning? Distribute teaching roles among everyone in the school. Instead of a few highly trained teachers (who still may be bad at teaching), encourage a true form of peer to peer teaching.
Books and video did replace teachers as sole sources and providers of academic knowledge, will teaching/learning machines replace another role of the teacher?
What roles of a teacher could be done by a teaching/learning-machine?

” won’t there always be a back-of-the-mind barrier in the receiver that interacting with a machine is different than with a human.”
“I wonder if we might need to distinguish people who are machine taught over those who aren’t? ”
(Scott Johnson, email)

IMAGE : http://lisahistory.net/wordpress/2013/12/an-educated-citizenry-or-an-efficient-workforce/

Make a Map

Look for a map ( Washington Metro)
Copy with Snagit or printscreen and save.


Edit the map with Gimp: copy a part, delete it an past a new part in the same place, with name of metro station or part of line.



You could write down names of stations that would show on your map.

Is Online education a real part of serious study?

BurundiBlindLameMaybe we fail somehow to identify online education as within the domain of serious study and see it as noise suggestive of education, but not the real thing? The mention of limits and viability in 1 to 1 tutoring of students “Obviously this is a limit, it is socially and economically un-viable instructional system that can sustain a tutor for a student” cause me to wonder if we can get past the barrier of economics to reach another level in education? Will technology enhanced teaching allow us to leap into another domain of learning? What could technology leverage that exceeds close, direct and responsive tutoring human to human? Or are we mistaken to speak of technology as somehow unconnected to us humans who imagine and build it?
Interesting question from my friend Scott about human teachers and online teachers.
I did search (as Gordon does) on human tutoring and found this study: Human tutoring is a bit overestimated (The Relative Effectiveness of Human Tutoring, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, and Other Tutoring Systems)
Do we call it  1 to 1 tutoring when participants in a (connectivist) MOOCs ask questions and give feedback to participants?
Is connectivism an educational theory that avoids this need for teacher tutoring? Social connections are very useful and fun for learning. An automated system could help learning, but laughing and having some fun while learning needs a human touch.
I did a Mechanical Mooc on learning a computer language and programming, this is a computer tutoring students. And I think it will become a handy tool for learning languages, computer programming and this kind of skills and knowledge.

Learning to create with these new tools is essential not only because the world is an increasingly wired place, but because connecting increases the breadth and depth of what we can do with these tools.  Working with children to connect with technology, rather than isolate, is a big take-away for me so far.

( did you ever use the Make a MOOC site of Alan Levine? )
In the MOOCs I did I did meet a lot of participants willing to learn beyond doing the course and receiving a good mark or a badge. They are good tutors to their fellow participants, because they connect and interact. The names of some of them are mentioned in posts and comments of this blog. I think this MOOCs are a new level of education.

Learning Walk

I did walk, with camera. (I often walk at lunchtime)
At first I did see a lot of things, people working, birds flying, but did not take pictures. I need some time to get started.
Than I took a picture of a butterfly hotel.

vlinder hotel
“Do butterflies use these hotels? ”
The first photo was the most difficult, because one has to make a decision to make a picture. You just have to start and look and ask questions and take pictures. Maybe you happen to know answers on my questions?

Than I did see again a birds feather. Took pictures of them.

“Why do all these feathers fall down? Why do birds loose them?

Came across a dump of old pipes and PVC, made a picture of that.

pvc pijpen
“What will they do with old PVC-pipes?”

Did some more pictures in this walk. But this is an example of my way of learning walking. I did slow down and did walk looking around and around. The learning walk makes me see more and think about what I see.

About Open in MOOC

kerkdeur“Open in the sense that all of the work gets done in areas that make the work accessible for people to read and reflect and make comment on.

The course is open in the sense that you can go ahead and take the course without paying for it
you might pay for getting credit from the institution, but you are not paying for participating in the course.

It’s also open in the sense that the work done in the course is shared between all the people taking it. The material put together by the facilitators, the work done by the participants it’s all negotiated in the open. You get to keep your work and everyone else gets to learn from it.” (Steve Mackenzie in http://learnadoodledastic.blogspot.nl/2013/04/are-you-participating-in-mooc-or.html citing Dave Cormier)

This third point is one of the reasons why I try to store comments and work in this blog, even if I did publish the work in other places. I did publish my Make in the Make-Bank of #clmooc (http://blog.nwp.org/clmooc/2013/06/17/make-your-avatar-as-an-introduction-in-clmooc/) and did post in this blog https://connectiv.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/make-your-avatar-as-an-introduction-in-clmooc/

This blog is intended to be a history of my work in MOOCS. It is a collection. And because work published in some MOOC-websites is not saved forever, I prefer to copy some work to this blog. You and me as a reader could read and use it even if MOOS repositories with comments and work are closed down .

Studenten in een MOOC, students in a MOOC #SA_MOOC

schoolbusDe moderne techniek maakte het me mogelijk om vanuit de Verenigde Staten een Nederlandse diskussie over MOOCs in het Seminar massive open online courses (MOOC’s) van Surfacademy te volgen. De opgenomen sessies staan op Youtube. Dat opnemen van de sessies werkt goed. Ik zit hier in alle rust, zonder afleiding, naar de video’s te kijken. Maar het kost me veel volharding (en koffiepauzes)  om het hele seminar te blijven kijken. Hoeveel doorzettingsvermogen is er nodig om naar de video’s van een MOOC te kijken? Hoeveel video kan de MOOC-deelnemer aan?  De deelnemer, of de student is voor de organisatoren van de MOOC nog een onbekende. Het beeld van de MOOC-student is nog heel vaag en onhelder. De grote spelers hebben er geen belang bij om hun onderzoek naar hun studenten openbaar te maken. Het is volgens sommige deelnemers zelfs de vraag of ze wel belangstelling hebben voor de mening van studenten.

Natuurlijk vragen universiteiten en hogescholen zich af wat de toekomst zal brengen, enkele super MOOC-scholen met miljarden leerlingen? Zou er misschien toch nog een plekje op de markt overblijven voor een lokale school? Of gaan grote bedrijven hun eigen personeel aan zich binden door een MOOC voor toekomstige talenten te ontwikkelen? Staan straks alle universiteiten met lege schoolbanken omdat de MOOCs door het bedrijfsleven zijn overgenomen?

Modern technology made ​​it possible for me in the United States to listen to a Dutch discussion about MOOCs in the Seminar massive open online courses (MOOC’s) Surf Academy to follow. The recorded sessions (Dutch spoken) are on Youtube. This recording of the sessions works well. I sit here in a very silent place, without distraction, to watch videos. But it cost me a lot of perseverance (and coffee breaks) to watch the entire seminar . How much perseverance is needed to watch all videos of a MOOC? How much video a MOOC-participant can survive?  The organizers of the MOOC still do not know the participant, or the student. The image of the MOOC student is still very vague and unclear. The big players do not share their research on student population.  According to some participants  they are not interested in the opinions of students.

Universities and colleges are wondering what the future will bring, some super-MOOC schools with billions of students? Could still be a place in the market for a local school? Or do big companies have their own MOOC  to scout future talents? Will all universities be empty because MOOCs  are taken over by businesses?


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(Mis-) Understanding in a virtual world of a MOOC #change11

Language and culture of participants in a MOOC differ, And we do not know if we do understand each other correctly. Context and history of MOOC’ers differ and vary widely. We write messages and texts and we blog with a Model Reader in mind,  and big question is if our Model Reader and the real reader do have much in common.

We write or produce texts and presuppose a model of competence of the reader. The competences of the reader are mostly outside the text. But in the text we could try to build this competence of the reader. That is what teachers do, and we know it is very difficult to build competences of a reader in texts.

In a MOOC differences are great. More differences in a MOOC than in a classroom? In the Change MOOC teachers are guests. They try to know their audience, but that is really very difficult given the short time they are part of the MOOC.

In F2F situations humans are able to signal misunderstanding better (but not very good) than in a virtual environment. Because facial expressions and other signals are missing in the MOOC environment, and these  signals do vary in different cultures.

Question: is (mis-) understanding  a problem in a MOOC?

(more about Model Reader in The role of the reader, explorations in the semiotics of texts, Umberto Eco)

source image: click on image

A central place #change11, lost in chaos? Or a rhizome?


This picture of a human situation shows the central place, but you cannot see it. The people are in their central place of today. The central place is where you are.
In computing and internet some people do ask for a central place, but the central place is you and your computer. A network as big as internet or as big as a MOOC does not have a real central place. People take a pole and stick it in the mud and look at it and see a central pole, a centre. But it is only the stick they planted themselves as Robinson and Pooh.
Believing the myth of a central place, makes you never see the very interesting subjects outside the centre. Choosing a central place is defining borders.
The message of the rhizome discussion is that a central place does not exist, the centre is what people define a centre. The central place is disrupting your view.
If you want to make your computer the central place in a MOOC, use search engines (Yahoo, Diigo, Connotea, Delicious) and search for the tag of the MOOC (#change11). There you will meet the people of your MOOC. In this way you may discover unknown connections and possibilities to learn.

In schools this idea of a centre, a central place, is negative and harms the connection of students to the real world. School should not be a central place, school should be a part of a network in the world. (Erik Duval)