In some posts on #MOOC’s and #Change11 two categories of participants are mentioned. The active participant and the passive participant (the passive one sometimes is called lurker).
The difference is does one publish something with the right tag (#change11 or whatever is appropriate) and does one publish on the internet.
One could be called a passive participant when one is talking about the subject, discussing the subject with classes, making notes on paper, preparing a book or article, or not putting the right tag on ones blog.
The definition of active or passive MOOC-er does not catch all these active persons.

In semiotics the Reader of a text is an active role. Without activity of a Reader the text will not have meaning for the Reader. (U. Eco “The role of the Reader) This seems to make more questionable the difference between active and passive participants of a MOOC. A so called passive participant could be very active.

Maybe counting the lurkers is not that easy. It is not (Sum of participants) – (participants publishing on internet with tag).

Does a passive participant learn something? How could one be a passive participant? This is a paradox like an honest liar.

Alfred Korzybski and #change11 #OCL4Ed

Barnett Newman white fire 2

In reading Science & Sanity of Alfred Korzybski I am curious if a connection exists between his writings and connectivism.
Korzybski writes in Sanity & Science: (Chap II p. 20 digital version)
‘The explanation is quite simple. We start with the negative non-A premise that words are not the un-speakable objective level, such as the actual objects outside of our skin and our personal feelings inside ourskin. It follows that the only link between the objective and the verbal world is exclusively structural, necessitating the conclusion that the only content of all “knowledge” is structural. Now structure can be considered as a complex of relations, and ultimately as multi-dimensional order.’

‘Knowledge is literally the set of connections between entities. In humans, this knowledge consists of connections between neurons. In societies, this knowledge consists of connections between humans and their artifacts. What a network knows is not found in the content of its entities, nor in the content of messages sent from one to the other, but rather can only be found through recognition of patterns emergent in the network of connections and interactions.’ Stephen Downes in Connectivism and Connective Knowledge: Essays on meaning and learning networks (.pdf).


#change11 Motivation and education and resistance to change, curiosity

The discussion in the comments of the last post on resistance and motivation:

I know very few people who like change to for the sake of change – most don’t want change in the areas where they need stability, but embrace it in areas where they need variety. The resistance isn’t just a preference – it’s internal to a person’s needs. (Comment on last blog by Lisa M. Lane)

Early experience, positive and negative, seems a likely factor. (Comment of  VanessaVaile)

I find people who dislike change to be less confident of themselves. (Scott’s comment)

Curiosity and motivation for learning and resistance to change seem to depend on a level of certainty, confidence, safety, trust.2)

Question: How about intrinsic motivation and resistance to learning  and resistance to change?

SDT [Self Dtermination Theory] suggests that humans are intrinsically motivated to approach activities that are interesting, optimally challenging, and spontaneously satisfying (Ryan & Deci, 2000a), and that this process promotes development. Intrinsically motivated behaviours (e.g., exploration) are undertaken in the absence of external contingencies or controls, so engagement with these behaviours does not require prompts by socializers. However, not all behaviours that are important for socialization are intrinsically motivating. Hence, initiation of socially prescribed but unenjoyable behaviors may require the use extrinsic motivators (Ryan, Deci, & Grolnick, 1995). 1)
…  The need for relatedness refers to the warmth and caring received from interactions with others, resulting in a general sense of belonging.

Question: How do we, participants, students, teachers of the MOOC and of schools foster that confidence that is necessary for curiosity and motivation?  Dan Pink tells us that carrot and stick does not work.

Observation: I am confident with some skills, and not confident with other skills. Which means I know and feel I am able to do these things.  Is self-confidence  the sum of all these confidences?  Or is self-confidence the feeling that I am worth  being here even if  I am not able to do anything at all?

A sense of belonging is necessary for motivation (SDT-theory). This is an argument for participants in a MOOC to connect and share. Connecting means belonging?

Science Daily about ‘Personality Gene’ Makes Songbirds Curious: Exploratory Behavior In Great Tits. And exploratory behavior is about the same as curiosity.

Using Instructional Design Strategies To Foster Curiosity. ERIC Digest.   with ten strategies for fostering curiosity.

1)Niemiec, C. P., Lynch, M. F., Vansteenkiste, M., Bernstein, J., Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M. (2006). The antecedents and consequences of autonomous self-regulation for college: A self-determination theory perspective on socialization. Journal of Adolescence, 29, 761-775. PDF Full Text

2) Also A. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs    It is remarkable that curiosity or learning do not appear in the pyramid.

Learning goal and teaching goal #change11

noordpool poohSometimes simple questions become a lot more complicated when one starts thinking about them. And these  simple questions will start to reproduce like bacteria in a lab test when one thinks any longer. Colin Milligan did ask if I had been able to achieve my goal with this MOOC. And what was that goal. This question kept coming back in my mind again and again. (I am not in any way criticizing Colin Milligan’s research)

How could one possibly formulate a goal before one is learning something? One could say I want to learn X, but one only will know what that means after one has learned X.

“Going on an Expotition?” said Pooh eagerly. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on one of those. Where are we going to on this Expotition?”
“Expedition, silly old Bear. It’s got an ‘x’ in it.”
“Oh!” said Pooh. “I know.” But he didn’t really.
“We’re going to discover the North Pole.”
“Oh!” said Pooh again. “What is the North Pole?” he asked.
“It’s just a thing you discover,” said Christopher Robin carelessly, not being quite sure himself.

I think any learning goal formulated before a course starts will have been changed when the course is going on. Most learning goals will almost only cover the formal learning part of learning. which is only 5% of all occurring learning.

When the #Change11 MOOC did start we were asked to write down goals. I did not, because for me the MOOC was a kind of expedition into an unknown country. The only goal I had was: Start and go on until it is over. So there is a problem. No no goal, pre-test. How could we possibly measure my learning progress in this course in the right way prescribed by some educational scientists?

“For the bureaucrat (simple domain) all failures are a failure of process”. Dave Cormier. Testing is a (teacher) instrument to observe the progression of a student, and when bureaucrats lay their hands on that fragile instrument they change it. Then testing becomes a means to solve complex problems in a simple way. Bureaucratic testing goes with simple goals and simple tests,  where observing the progress of a student needs complex (fuzzy) goals and measurements. We need to know the narrative of the student to be able to observe change.  Lisa Lane calls it ‘Guiding forces‘   “Bureaucrats” with simple testing will change education into simple teaching.

Write, write, please

What if you stop learning?
What is the difference between me knowing Douglas Adams wrote ” it is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes” and some scientific knowledge you know?
Do you know an example of scientific knowledge that is different from unscientific knowledge?
Wilhelm Schmid wrote (my translation) “analytical knowledge is useful but hermeneutics is more fun and more like real life” do you agree?
Lesson plans and curriculum do exist, planning and learning are a common combination. But is unplanned learning of any value?
What did #change11 your learning?
Do you understand the connection between these questions and the writing monk?

Thank you for “write write please”

Karl E. Weick’s Konzept des “Sensemaking”

ichdenkmalIntentionality is the subject in a discussion on Dave’s Educational Blog between Keith Hamon and Frances Bell.

In very short: the question is if a node in a knowledge network/rhizome, like you and me, is more than a reacting powerless object of the network/rhizome. (this is too short an abstract of the discussion, you should read it yourself)
This discussion reminds me of the problem of the Collective Unconscious and the Self of Jung. This collective unconscious of Jung is much wider than the personal unconscious of Freud. The collective unconscious of Jung connects us to the history of mankind, the myths and stories of our ancestry.

Karl E. Weick and Sensemaking could shine a light on this subject of agency in a network.

George Siemens mentions the nature of connections. Wonder if we could say that some/all connections are sense-making-connections?
“…Understanding. Coherence. Sensemaking. Meaning. These elements are prominent in constructivism, to a lessor extent cognitivism, and not at all in behaviourism. But in connectivism, we argue that the rapid flow and abundance of information raises these elements to critical importance…” George Siemens.

In therapy Jung tried to make sense in the lives of his patients, it is a nice parallelism.

Image: In Franfurt am Main (Deutschland) you find this statue “Ich” of Hans Traxler. (Ich = I / me). The statue is empty.

Rhizome or network in #change11

My network view of knowledge is simple: entities (broadly defined as well, anything: people, a chemical substance, information, etc) have attributes. When entities are connected to other entities, different attributes will be activated based on the structure of those connections and the nature of other entities that are being connected. This fluidity of attribute activation appears to be subjective, but in reality, is the contextual activation of the attributes of entities based on how they are related to other entities. Knowledge then is literally the connections that occur between entities. []

in my drawing: E n (an) :  Entity  has attributes.
aa n: activated attributes.

1. Could we know all attributes of Entities?

2. Could we know which attributes will be activated?

3. Could we know the structure of the connections, and how this structure influences the activation of attributes?

4. If E 1 is connected to E 2 and to E 3 lots of attributes do get activated. Can we know how the activated attributes influence Entities, structure of connections, other Attributes?

Can we know all attributes?

If Entity is a person, I do not know all attributes that influence learning. (health, drug use, personal history, earlier learning, motivation). I cannot know all attributes that do influence learning, and I cannot know how all these attributes do influence learning.
If Entity is information, attributes are name, value, authority of source, source, quality, minimum and maximum values, reliability, etc.
I cannot know all attributes because every attribute of Entity information is another Entityinformation

Information seems to be an infinite set.

Can we describe the knowledge network of a person or of a group?

Some networks have boundaries. the network of cells in a human body has boundaries. But do networks of knowledge have boundaries? Or maybe a better question, can we know the boundaries of the network of knowledge of a person or a group? Could we describe and make an inventory of all the knowledge and attributes and connections in a given network?
Could we make a difference between a network of knowledge and a rhizome in this regard? “…Rhizomatic learning is about embracing uncertainty. That’s the goal. Getting to the point in oneself, or helping someone else to get to the point where they are able to confront a particular system, challenge, situation whatever not knowing the answer and feeling like they can decide about it. I try to thinking of teaching, then, as mimicking the process of being confronted with uncertain situations, that develop the literacies required to deal with uncertainty…” [Dave Cormier]

Structure of connections in a learning knowledge network

Structure of connections could be: direction, one-way, two or more directions, capacity of connection, nature of connection, selectivity of connection, conscious or unconscious connection, etc.
Could I know what will be the structure of connections in a learning network?


In a network of knowledge that is well known, mapped, described, creativity would be difficult, because creativity could be “connecting in a new way”. If creativity exists, than the network has some unknown corners.

I do not know if the differences between the metaphors of a network and a rhizome are that big.

I almost forget this: metaphors are not facts, metaphors are not theories.