SIMNET Weblog

September 23, 2008

CCK08: “What is Knowledge and what is Learning?”

Filed under: CCK08 — Tags: , , , , , — Frank Polster @ 5:45 pm

Dear CCK08 and SCORM 2.0 Colleagues,

I am still trying to make sense of Connectivism and within this week’s topic of Networks. I am revisiting my Week 2 question — “Maybe I am asking the wrong question and it is not “What is Connectivismn but the question is “What is knowledge and what is learning?”.

The readings on networks go me thinking of Knowledge Management (KM), Etienne Wenger’s, the theory of situated cognition and his more recent work in the field of communities of practice. KM is an area that I‘ve spent a bit of time studying and practicing. Part of why KM works for me is that it bridges the issue that Jay Cross poses on Formal vice Informal Learning and part of it is that KM focuses on the Human Performance (Joe Harless), the outcome, or the so what. I think the larger issue is that if learning is a life-long pursuit, then my gut instinct says informal learning, communities of practice (CoP), KM, and Connectivism are part of that learning process along with formal learning.

I say to folks, that 20% (at most) of what you learned about doing your “job” you obtained from formal schooling and the other 80% came from on the job/informal channels. I think we can do better in the 80% arena.

From a theory point of view I am comfortable with situated cognition (Lave, J., Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation). I’ve seen some evidence from the Games and Learning Society and from Jim Gee (Situated Language and Learning (2004) which places video games within an overall theory of learning and literacy and shows how they can help us to better understand human learning). I’ve found Joe Harless’s Human Performance approach effective (where most successful interventions on performance problems have nothing to do with training solutions but management practices and human engineering interventions).

Is it possible and is it likely that Connectivism is an extension of other learning theories like situated cognition? Is it possible that when Stephen says Connectivism is “knowledge distributed across networks (of people, increasingly aided by technology) and that “learning is the act and process of forming and navigating networks”— is that much different from John Dewey’s (1938) description of education as an essentially a “social process” where the quality of education (learning) is realized in the, “…degree in which individuals form a community group”?

In my simple mind Stephen and Dewey are describing networked communities of practice (CoP).

Thanks Frank

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