Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will Different Become the Norm?

The Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Open Course is ramping up with participants planning a number of networking events including face-to-face get-togethers. In "More is different..." George Siemens anticipates how scaling up a learning event to include hundreds of participants increases the complexity of the learning environment:

1. Less control on the part of the instructor
2. More need for learners to define and forage for needed content and relationships/learning connections
3. More noise, chaos, confusion
4. Greater flow of information, leading to individuals with high “network literacy” feeling more at ease in the course.
5. Greater involvement of learners in assisting each other
6. For some learners, increased need for centralized spaces that serve as “jumping off” points.
7. Reduced sense of singular expertise (i.e. facilitators) and greater reliance on ideas and expertise shaped through collaborative/collective discourse
8. Greater segmentation - learners will find others with similar interests and they will form small sub-groups as a means to cope with complexity and to individualize their learning

Although it wasn't always appreciated by my colleagues, many of these 'different' characteristics were signs to me that learning was taking place in my own 'small scale' classroom. Scaling up, these differences are also evident in the greatest mass classroom on the planet: the World Wide Web.

In leveraging current and evolving network structures in CCK08, my hope is that the characteristics predicted by George, will be emulated in future networked learning environments, both large and small.

Photo Credit: David Reece