Long time no see

After a little break, I returned back to my favourite topic – as well as to continue work with my research proposal about – elearning process visibility.

I’m try to clarify the framework for my thoughts and things & methods to research with. The context deals with the field of elearning, in the areas of learning processes The approach tries to reach elaboration through observing the learning process: in theory and in practice. Enrich the aspects of a learner and a mentor. Objectives are set to understand better – recognize – the details/nyances and differences of pre-defined (proactive approach) and authentic (pragmatic? approach) learning processes.  Utilization of the results aspire supporting learning and tuition by the presumed higher visibility provided by the understanding these nyances and differences: what’s really happening? Utilization is presumed to support learning and tuition as an individual (learner, mentor) and a collaborative (peer, group, community, networked) activity.

Why all this? I’m not interested if all this sounds relevant or irrelevant – meaning the “seeing more ’bout the processes” thematics. Why to observe or try understand processes and their differences – is it useful? We don’t know, if we do not try to look. In my opinion, normativity comes afterwards – I am not willing to create any suggestions or concepts before I am able to see clearer – the details and the differences.

I went for a little walk to get some air to my thinking and some miscallaneous thoughts did cross my mind.

1) Do the learning and e-learning processes differ? If do, where, why and how? One aspect could be the variety of our presence: physical, face to face, virtual, networked. For example, connectivism promotes the learning of networks, not individuals that much. What is the role of individual learning? Well, at least we play a significant role of a node in the networks, and if the nodes affect on the learning, we should be deeply aware of the learning in these nodes.

2) Can learning be seen as a process – presumably highly individual and continously in progreess – , which consists of different learning situations, “sub-processes” – which are useful to put under observation? Can we gain more if we could recognize this network of processes and see clearly the “things” within? Are we able – by seeing more – to elaborate and develop our learning or the learning of those who we mentor?

3) What this visibility actually is or could be? Seeing more? Recognizing things we don’t traditionally see? Seeing the undeterministic nature or characteristics of things that relate to learning?

4) Seeing can be traitorous: things may not be what they seem. Risk of subjectivity? This is an interesting question (well.. at least for me), thinking about the challenge what we may face when trying reach deeper understanding of individual nature of deep learning and an objective view of things that really matter or should be considered e.g. in guidance?

5) Tools for process visibility? Cabability of the modern IT-era: our actions occur more or less in networks, using different tools to connect, produce, collaborate, filter etc. -> focus lies highly in the content and the structure (networks, communities), yet – in some cases – the line is quite difficult to draw. How does – or should – the content or the structures tell us information about HOW we work? For example, how do we learn? Or: how are we learning today – now? Where are we heading with our learning – into a good or bad direction? If the latter, what we should do to correct the “navigation”?Despite the ever-increasing pace of openness and real time web promotes quick (and unfortunately sometimes: dirty..) ethos, should we be more interested in questions like “where we are going”? Where SHOULD we be going? Whats the difference with our “vision” and our actions? I believe that the shared content or the structures cannot tell us that – at least comprehensive enough. Is there need for knowing these things? For sure – not just by my or your subjective view about our excellence, enthusiasm or else, possibly even emotionally-driven estimates? When you stand or swim in the information flow – even the serendipidious floating is welcome every now and then – can you locate yourself in the map where you want to be? Are you really heading for your big objectives? If you know that you are, please comment, what tools or methods you use, that you can be so sure – or can you even see, that there are lacks or deviation with your actions past, now and future, that demands you to develop things to achieve the goal? Yes, I know: these kind of analysis would give us also bad news: your action is – despite the high volume and quick tempo – insufficient here and there. The core of genunine deep learning is merciless: the quantity does not substitute quality.

I feel no bloodstopping relief after writing this out – vice versa I might say. But cause these thoughts seem to haunt me, it sounds an excellent field of study 😉

What inspires me the most, is the approach: I imagine that someone could say, that I’m trying to see something irrelevant or something that there is not.I understand and consider that it is natural. But, only denying things – it gives us no wisdom.This intuition encourages me to continue and look further – asking the right questions?

Any comments my friends?

And so does CCK09 …

What does? Begins, I mean. I enrolled to CCK09‘s Moodle where there were about 50 persons already registered.Nice to see that also this time, it seems that almost whole globe is being represented. I believe that this (real diversity of nationalities, cultures, etc.) brings the real connectivity more alive.

I also took first looks at the readings etc. of the following week, under the monicker “What the Connectivism is?”.There were a couple of presentations and an interview of G. Siemens and S. Downes – focused on the basic principles of connectivism as an concept and a theory. I feel that it’s quite easy to apply the main ideas in the domain of online learning- still waiting for deepening the views that before and already I’ve constructed.

Seems interesting as I thought. I actually did what I’ve planned to do with or without attending CCK – translated couple of articles in Finnish, in holy purpose to understand the profound basics and concepts – as I’ve studied most of the theories in Finnish. I’ve wondered’ n pondered about the nature of online learning processes: it was nice to see the “emphasis” of the process aspect and also I interested getting more about the social online learning processes – if I didn’t get everything wrong, I believe that connectivism deals alot with that genre.

What was not a surprise also, the arguments about connectivism being a learning theory or not were presented quite strongly. I think that is an essential debate, although I’m not too good in nor that much fond of concepts. But along the mundane “acclamations”, it’s releaving to observe or even participate profound discussion about things we deal with. Connectivism enriches (“expands”) the learning process of an individual and adds the elements of social learning?

ECI831 begins

Seems that there’s some kinda impatience on the move; could not wait until Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2009 starts next week – I joined “EC&I 831″ aka “Social Media & Open Education, offered by University of Regina.

I suddenly realized that I’ve got familiar with almost all technologies and services concerned, but what always needs deepening, is the proper understanding of philisophic and pedagogic aspects in networks and education technology.
The basic idea of ECI831 seems quite similar to Connectivism (even I’ve not participated a single session in CCK09); both synchronous and asynchronous, reading and writing, networking etc. Ok for me.

About virtual education and systems intelligence

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of combining the characteristics of eLearning (“teaching and learning in virtual environment”) and the idea of systems intelligence. There’s been a lot of talk about the challenges in e.g. recognizing, understanding, managing and supervising activities in eLearning  – this is in most cases explained due the “disjointedness”, complexity, novel habits of interaction and low visibility of the “new system” we try to cope with?

However, I think that it can be considered as a system anyway? I wonder if it’s worth of effort to try understand eLearning using the theories and aspects of systems intelligence? An approach to analyze and explain the activities using the framework of a systems thinking? Getting more intelligent in the system developing the activities (teaching, learning, supervising, etc.) better? I dunno. But we can try.

In Saarinen & Hämäläinen group, there’s been research about the relationship of teaching and systems intelligence, like Accelerated Learning, Teaching and Systems Intelligence (Sajaniemi, et al. 2004),  “Systems intelligent teacher in a systemic class”, (Systeemiälykäs opettaja systeemisessä luokassa, in Finnish, Salaspuro-Selänne, Soini. 2004), Oppiva ja systeemiälykäs koulu – tarua vai totta (in Finnish, Sajaniemi et al. 2005, Systeemiäly – valmistavan luokan opettajan kompassi (in Finnish, Pöyhönen, Sutela-Sallinen, 2004) and Valaistuksia systeemiälykkääseen opettamiseen (in Finnish, Sajaniemi, et al. 2004). Still, I would eagerly like to hear more about the research and experiences in this field – especially in the context of virtual education.

Is systems intelligence able to give us a new, fruitful framework to approach and analyze activities like learning or guidance in virtual environments? Could it somehow help us to “see inside” the system: structures, processes, dynamics, problematics? Is it possible to consider “learnining” as some kind of systems intelligent activity – by developing it we can increase the “quality” of learning? And such.