Mon Mar 21, 2005
An adapted extract from The Three Dimensions of Learning - Contemporary Learning Theory in the Tension Field between the Cognitive, the Emotional and the Social by Professor Knud Illeris:
"IN THE EASTERN RELIGION, Zen Buddhism, the goal is to achieve enlightenment. The Zen master attempts to bring about enlightenment in his pupil in various ways. One of the things he does is to hold a stick over the pupil's head and say fiercely, 'If you say this stick is real, I will strike you with it. If you say this stick is not real, I will strike you with it. If you don't say anything, I will strike you with it.' " (Bateson 1972, p.208).
"This is a clear double bind situation because all the proposed solutions are ruled out, yet it can be solved without schizophrenia or flight, if the pupil manages to take the stick from the amster and thus transcend the constituent conditions of the situation." read more...
Mon Mar 07, 2005
The Problem With PBL
"The problem in Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is the problems: But do they motivate students?" -- Maufette, Kandlbinder & Soucisse
(Extracted from a paper by Yusra L Visser, Effects of Problem-Based and Lecture-Based Instructional Strategies on Problem Solving Performance and Learner Attitudes....)
"LEARNING SPECIALISTS generally agree that problem solving, together with several other core competencies (e.g., comprehending and composing, critical and creative thinking, and metacognition) is among the most important dimensions of thinking and learning (Jonassen, 1994). Nickerson (1994) has pointed to several of the reasons why the ability to engage in effective and purposeful problem solving is critical to the development of individuals and their communities.
"... Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of developing problem solving skills, relatively little research has been conducted on this theme in the field of instructional design (Jonassen, 1994). Moreover, within the existing research base, even fewer contributions have been made to the development of instructional design approaches for ill-structured or complex problem instruction. The majority of the instructional design literature in the area of problem solving instruction points to the use of particular instructional strategies to support the acquisition of problem solving skills (e.g., cognitive apprenticeships and microworlds). However, these strategies have rarely been researched with sufficient rigor to ascertain their effectiveness in achieving the desired outcomes." read more...
Sat Feb 19, 2005
Uses & Benefits of Blogs
How can blogs be used? What are their benefits? These lists, compiled by George Siemens in his article The Art of Blogging, are not new. But they are useful ones to keep in mind.
As an emerging tool, blogging uses have still not been completely explored. Some current uses:
- Communication, Self-expression, Self-marketing
- Campaigning/social reform - see Tara Grubb
- Community building
- Customer service - see Blogging Goes Corporate
- Experience tracking - A K-log Pilot Recap
- Interactive journalism - see Instapundit
- Knowledge sharing and knowledge management - see Bottoms Up KM Development
- Learning - see SchoolBlogs
- Storytelling - see Grassroots KM Through Blogging read more...
Fri Dec 10, 2004
Flush Goes All The Work!
A great comment on current "course management systems", That Googly Feeling, from Alan Levine's blog. Thanks to my well-informed colleague P:
"FOR THE MOST PART, IMUO (In My Uninformed Opinion) the big monolithical enterprise solutions for elearning serve mostly to reinforce the learning via lecture paradigm ("record your lectures to stream via the internet!") that leave the new generation.... well yawning in ennui.
"After all these years of "course management systems" (and is learning really about "managing courses"?), they still are completely structured wrong in that the main organizational scheme for them is the course (which is ephemeral) rather than the learner (who hopefully will stick around). When the course expires or is archived or deleted after the semester, there goes all the student's work. During the brief existence of the "course" all of their work is filed away in different iron shoeboxes labeled "Chemistry" "Composition", "Sociology" with no affordance to connect between the boxes, no integration across disciplines, no record saved of achievement and progress. The semester ends, grades transmitted to the registrar, and flusssssshhhhhhhh goes all the work that took place. "
Sat Oct 09, 2004
Attitude Is A Choice
"ATTITUDE IS A CHOICE," a classmate said last Monday evening in response to a question from A/P M. on what "attitude" is, as differentiated from "motivation". We were having a lesson on training methods and strategies for teaching attitude.
Was quite struck by the statement. It wasn't new. But so it is. When we write learning objectives for a desired attitude in an earlier module ("MID801 Instructional Design Models & Practices"), we had been taught to write, "The learner will choose to behave [in a certain way]." Yes, regardless of whether s/he likes or dislikes that particular behavior. And often, when someone has a bad attitude, it's not so much that s/he does not know how or does not have enough practice, but rather s/he is not convinced by the why.
Other verbs often used for writing attitude-related learning objectives include: "accept, adopt, advocate, approve, assess, challenge, characterise, criticise, defend, evaluate, formulate, judge, justify, manage, model, persuade, recommend, resolve, select, specify, value, re-assure, empathise." read more...
Sat Oct 02, 2004
Extreme Hallucinatory Daydreaming
An interesting definition of Visions from Wikimedia:
"VISIONS ARE EXTREME HALLUCINATORY daydreaming, too-good-to-be-true ideals with high impact but no measurable probability -- because they can't happen. They're fantasy. No one believes in them. Not even you. They're fiction.
"The ideal vision is something you have never admitted to anybody at all, for fear they would laugh at you or drastically degrade you to other people for "not being realistic" or "ignoring reality" or some such cynical claim.
"If you have ever heard a truly compelling vision of what the world could be "if only..." from anyone else in your life, this is the place to finally write it down. Anonymity is best since you may hold back if others know your name. A good vision would contain fantasy elements from all utopias you ever believed in, and several that you laughed at, and riduculed other people for.
"If you are describing something that you consider a reasonable goal, that you believe can ever actually happen to any substantial degree, or has a measurable probability, it is a best cases and not a "vision". Be very careful with this distinction -- best cases are something we allocate real w:human capital and (indirectly) w:natural resources to get done... a single good vision, however, would break us, were we even to really attempt it." read more...
Mon Sep 13, 2004
'Web of Mass Distraction'?
conference n. 1. A prearranged meeting for consultation or exchange of information or discussion (especially one with a formal agenda). 2. An association of sports teams that organizes matches for its members. 3. A discussion among participants who have an agreed (serious) topic. -- Princeton Wordnet
ATTENDED A TWO-DAY CONFERENCE on educational technology (ET) last Thursday and Friday. So much hard work, so many speakers and so many participants from so many countries. Somehow though, it ended on a note of disillusion. At the closing forum, one participant noted, "Elearning has not yet delivered its promise of a teaching and learning utopia. Instead, what we have seems to be a Web of mass distraction."
"Web of mass distraction"! Everyone laughed. How sad!
Then another guy stood up to say, "In our search for gold, let us not be discouraged or disturbed by the dirt we find." So, we've found more dirt than gold so far? The chairperson muttered, "Oh ok. Let us thank...." and ended the conference.
As for the conference itself, other than a few enlightening sessions (such as two good keynote addresses and some HoD presentations on the use of online scaffolding to facilitate meaningful discussions among three primary schools), the usual thing happened. Most sessions turned out to be quite bland. While exhorting all to facilitate learning constructivistly, most presenters transmitted their knowledge (or findings) one-way while making lots of "motherhood" statements (obvious well-accepted cliches) about the need for constructivist teaching, benefits, and so on. Not walking their talk! The slides also left much to be desired -- the words were often too small, too many; the graphics have too much details or are plain distracting. read more...
Fri Sep 10, 2004
ASPRIe for CoPs
(Changed ESPRIT to ESPRIe on 9th September. Further changed ESPRIe to ASPRIe on 1st October.)
WITH NEW INSIGHT GAINED from recent experiences through the MAIDT program, i've decided to rename my ESPRIT model ASPRIe instead.
First, to 'Analyze' audience, context and content is more appropriate than to 'Explore' the same. Second, to 'Evaluate' is also more appropriate than to 'Track'. And 'e' (Evaluate) should sit right in the middle of the cycle like the spoke in a wheel. All stages shall move to and fro 'e' because the designer/technologist need to continually evaluate the effectiveness of every stage (whether 'Analyze', 'Strategize', 'Produce', 'Rollout' or 'Influence'). And to be more complete, instead of KirkPatrick's Reactions, Learning, Transfer and Results, the last stage should be based on Stufflebeam's CIPP model -- 'Context', 'Inputs', 'Process', and 'Products'.
Finally, with new insights from a new paper by Drs C & H, the Strategize (S) and Influence (I) stages also need to be fine-tuned. The design of one or more activities (called 'spark' by Dr Gilly Salmon, and termed Interactions in my model) is of primary importance -- it motivates the student into action and learning (Motivate). As the C & H paper noted, the "designed activity should be situated in the real world context and should always be associated with an identifiable outcome (e.g. the activity of building a bridge has an identifiable outcome, that is the built bridge)."
There should also be rules of engagement, complementary roles as well as timely scaffolding (Engage) to encourage meaningful interactions, exchange of useful information and eventual development of community and personal identity (ties back to the Strategize (S) stage). Finally, appropriate knowledge tools (to use a Jonassen word, "mindtools") are also necessary to enable the learners to collaboratively make sense of knowledge learnt/found and to construct new/integrated/transformed knowledge (Empower). read more...
Sun Jul 25, 2004
Crossing The Road II
Extracted from a commentary in the last issue of The Sunday Times entitled "Web feat or just show-and-tell?":
"A BLOG, OR WEB LOG, is like a paper diary except that you compose your entries on a computer and send them up to a website.
"You can make a blog completely private or limit access to friends. But if you really don't mind having your innermost thoughts read by utter strangers, then you can write a public blog that anyone can go to by typing in the correct Web addresses.
"What suprises me is that lots of bloggers (or bloggettes?) actually relish opening a window to their lives this way.... Even more unexpected is that these bloggers really let things hang out when recording their personal dramas for general consumption....
"So, if you know a blogger -- or a journalist -- be careful of what you say or do to him. Otherwise one day you may find your dirty linen washed in public without you realising it, until it is too late. Then you will know what the view is like from the other side of the window." read more...
Wed Jun 09, 2004
Yay! First Lap Done!
YESTERDAY, A CLASSMATE L. emailed to inform us that the grades for the semester had been posted online. Logged into the portal and learnt with great delight that i've scored A's (Excellent) for both modules.
YAY! All that hardwork over the past two months have paid off. Called project partner W. at once to give him the good news. He was in a meeting, but he also went "Yay!"
Now, with two modules down, my first lap (semester) is done. Six more modules and three more laps to go. Then, a thesis that can take about a year to complete, so i was told. A long way to go -- perhaps another two and a half years. Quite a daunting prospect at times. Nevertheless, this is a GOOD beginning!
Now, an enticing four-week TESOL certificate program beckons all the way from Rome, Italy! Surely, "to go or not to go?" is not the question. Rather, it's when, who and how!