Learning from Social Network

Regarding to the topic of Openess or Closeness of Education posted by John Mak today on Facebook I found a connection with the topic of an interesting book called “Learning Network Services for Professional Development” By Rob Koper that  Giorgio Bertini refered on Facebook today.

John ´s post motivated me to think on the debate about open and close education with emerging technologies that  is most understood by regarding formal and non formal way.  This is a duality that remains on the discussion of  learning with emerging technologies.

This question takes me back to the opposition (Pekka Himanen in his book  “Hacker Ethic“) of the concept of  the following models:  the Academy or Bazaar (open) and Monastery and Cathedral (closed). In the first,  students are treated as learning partners. Furthermore, there is a predominantly free access system, ideas are trusted and are exposed to the entire community for criticism and approval and the absence of rigid structures.  However, the latter models have a structure (organization) fixed and closed, the ideas are presented in finished form. The  traditional model of learning remains on the closed models, where  the teachers have the knowledge, and there is an  unidirectionally transference  to the student knowledge. This is the model that has prevailed since the nineteenth century. But context had change.

Since  I have been experiencing the course #CritLit2010 , I was able to reach many interesting information and papers that came from contributions to many colleagues that I could have never been able to reach and filter by my own. Most of this information had extraordinary value because it was elaborated, filtered and shared from them.
Some of these colleagues that enriched my experience came from the course and others emerged on the social network. So, how my learning experience could  had been if it was not in an open learning environment?.

The book I read today called “Learning Network Services for Professional Development” By Rob Koper (thanks to Giorgio Bertin)  gave  me more understanding about “close” and “open” education. Even though, to reflect about it, we can not avoid to questioning the semantic meaning of  “close” and “open” education and the paradigm from which we label in this way education. In the book,  Rob Koper (a scientific from Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies  CELSTEC)  deepens on the concept of learning on social networks and explore the tension between traditional and  and non traditional education.

On the following I will develop the main ideas I extracted
from the book. In the end, there is a video made by Carl
Anderson that is a visual explanation about how to build
professional networks that I found funny and interesting for this topic. Hope you enjoy it and debate about agreements or disagreements  about  “Open or Close” that education is labeled. If this duality comes separated or we can learn from it.

E Portfolio Professional Networking by Mark Smithers

Learning from Social Network
By Rob Koper (compilator)

Learning networks has to bearing on formal learning at all.
That is because the initial education of children and
adolescents will be best served by a formal approach to it.

Indeed formal education attempts are being made to adapt the traditional push model and make it adopt features of the kind of pull model form Social Network.
Promoting a Pull model requires a rethinking of much conventional wisdom.

Learning networks allows us to break away from conventional wisdom, precisely because several of the traditional assumptions that one surrendipitiously makes, are abandoned or at leas questioned. The unconventional attitude which thinking in terms of learning networks requires that may teach us valuable lessons from learning as well.

Learning networks may not be equated as a kind of community. Learning networks can be understood as a collection of people that share interest and information in a particular topic about to further educate themselves. In terms of sociability they can´t be consider as a community if sociability emerges in an environment like a desert.

There is ample evidence that collaboration and social setting significantly improve learning outcomes.

Two kinds reasons for participating in a Learning network:

  • It benefit you as a professional, prospective or actual
  • It improves your learning as collaboration arise spontaneous.

Which are specific characteristics that professionals and non formal learning should take?

  1. are self directed and take responsibility for their own learning process;
  2. can participate, at the same time, in formal and non formal learning activities;
  3. are heterogeneous respect to competences acquired and sought;
  4. should be stimulated and enabled to project themselves and engage a community of common interests with the contacts they gather.

In conclusion, learning network is more about an open model than closed. This new point of view can awake a discussion matter about Pedagogical Principles, the benefits and the problems about formal and non formal education that remain since from many years of learning from a Traditional Paradigm.

The matter I consider important  in learning networks is to think about the complexity to develop learning objectives and the way the design of learning experience in those environments can contribute to the educational goals. There is another paradigm (constructivism, connectivism, among others) to understand learning network that confront form traditional educational principles which we should rethink.

“Emergence happens where the visible and the invisible meet”

By Michelle James on The Self-Organization of Creative Emergence (by Giorgio Bertini)

Here is  a video “Building Your Own Personal Learning Network” made by Carl Anderson about the  powerful idea emerging regarding using social media tools (web 2.0) to build personal learning networks. Hope you  enjoy it.

Building Your Own Personal Learning Network from Carl Anderson on Vimeo.

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3 Responses to Learning from Social Network

  1. Ken Anderson says:

    Hi Maria

    Are you suggesting that children benefit from a closed system? And adults from a more open system?

  2. Hi Ken,

    Regarding your question, I do not think that children benefit from a closed system and adults from a more open system. What did you think so?

    From my point of view there is a challenging scenario to think and implement new approach on learning in all levels. At a time of transition, coexistence prevails outdated models and the opportunity to develop new ones.

    Hope I answered your question. Nice to hearing from you. Regards.

  3. Ken Anderson says:

    Hi Maria. This quote from Rob Koper above seems to suggest that:

    >Learning networks has to bearing on formal learning at all.
    That is because the initial education of children and
    adolescents will be best served by a formal approach to it.

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