Monday, March 13, 2006

"Learners want control of their space..."

George Siemens has published this post about learning ecologies on his Connectivism blog. George is always readable and well argued. I am particularly interested in this section:

"People don’t want to visit your content. They want to pull your content into their sites, programs, or applications. This is a profound change, largely not understood by educators. We are still fixated on the notion of learning content, and we think we are making great concessions when we give learners control over content (and start to see them as co-creators). That misses the essence of the change: learners want control of their space. They want to create the ecology in which they function and learn."

I'm not sure that I agree entirely, though. At the leading edge, that may be what learners want, but I think many, if not most learners have yet to reach that level of pro-activity. In my team we define learners as follows: volunteers, conscripts and prisoners of war. As a learning designer, I still have to keep those POWs and conscripts in mind when I design learning material. Even within my own team, i.e. a team of learning designers, I would consider myself arguably the only volunteer. The rest are conscripts whose level of enthusiasm varies from person to person and waxes and wanes in each individual case.

What I do agree with, though is the notion that:
"We need to stop thinking that learners will come to us for learning content – our learning content should come to them in their environment." This is in keeping with Mark Weiser's concept of ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing supports ubiquitous learning.

The most aggressive learning volunteers will always be pushing things forward and testing the limits of what can and can't be done with technology in learning. Perhaps they should have a title of their own: scouts? recces? Whatever they are, they lead the way for us bears of less brain who enthusiastically romp along in their wake, making happy use of the solutions they sweat blood to find. Thanks guys!

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