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Learning as a free spirit
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating 2010/09/01

Tom Haskins reviews Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success. "I got to wondering if all the difficulties we experience when we're free to learn as we please, comes from preliminary experiences with too much structure. Bach learned very early to self-structure. He eventually recognized patterns in what worked for him as he routinely faced too many options for further learning. His array of 'metacognitive strategies' is impressive and exemplary for anyone needing examples to imitate." Today: Total:934 [Comment] [Direct Link]

What the old economy wants
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating 2010/08/23

It's interesting to cast the sort of accommodations new technology advocates have to make in the cast of 'what the old economy wants'. For example, "The old economy wants us to trust providers, experts and professionals who are being opaque, secretive about their processes, closed to amateur inputs and protective of their private knowledge." And "The old economy wants us to blindly accept the hype, hypocrisy and hullabaloo of push models of production, corporations spinning off toxic externalities and institutions turning a deaf ear to constituencies." How often do we have to give in to these sort of impetuses, even when they drag like anchors behind innovation? Today: Total:1322 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A process for growing a new venture
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Tom Haskins goes well beyond his usual 4-paragraph tidbit in an interesting look at business development. It "follows a logical progression from a new idea to a venture operating one year out," looking at the things you need to do at each stage, and warning of the pitfalls by the side of the road. Today: Total:886 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Collaborative training departments
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Collaborative training departments may well become the norm, even in large enterprises. The need for this is apparent in small to medium organizations, which are too small to provide training in-house. But large organizations will have to adapt, or be outpaced. This article "explores four major innovations that collaborative training departments will likely adapt and adopt [and] contrasts these developments with conflicted training departments' reactions to any change and to these changes in particular." Another way to think of the same thing is via this diagram from Clark Quinn. Today: Total:966 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Collaborating with the C level
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

The 'C level' refers to people with 'Chief' in their job title. In the traditional analysis, "The person in the position functions as a charismatic leader who's personality plays a large part in their impact. While subordinates manage up with servility, compliance and gratuitous respect, there is a notable neglect of power sharing." Of course, as Tom Haskins points out, organizations pay a large price for such a lack of internal cohesion, and there is a movement (admittedly slow) toward more collaborative forms of management. "The people in the 'top positions' would facilitate others' exploration of those frames in their own contexts. The emphasis would be placed on the conversations in progress, rather than the people in the positions. The individuals would play roles of facilitative servant leaders rather than charismatic kingpins." But it's hard to do for people who believe their inherent talents, rather than good fortune, played the major role in their ascending to these positions of power. Where humility is needed the most - in positions of power and authority - it is likely to be found least. Today: Total:919 [Comment] [Direct Link]

CCK09 - When connections fail to form
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Tom Haskins has been writing recently on his experiences with the Connectivism CCK09 course. As always, I'm frustrated by the shortness of his posts, as I have to wait three days (day one, day two, day three) to get a decent bulk of material. Still, his take on the course is fresh and interesting. For example, this bit, on missed connections: "I may associate the new idea
- with lies, deceptions and mistakes which leads me to refute and dismiss it.
- with exaggeration, grandiosity and fluff which has me getting a better perspective, putting the new idea in a larger context or disputing it's overstatements
- with extreme positions, one-sided arguments or half-truths which leads to me framing it's claim along a gradient or in a four quadrant diagram with the missing halves
- with useless, ineffectual or purely abstract ideas which alerts me to the dangers of collusion, lip service, propaganda or academic requirements
It's very possible that a strong tie could be formed with any one of these alternative nodes. Any of these connections would maintain the new idea as a 'rogue node'."
Today: Total:11787 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Are institutions really problematic?
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

My answer is "yes", but of course there's more depth to my response than that. Much of the harm that comes from institutions, in my view, comes from the way they are structured and governed. But the answer isn't simply to launch oneself at institutions, hoping to (say) "fix them from within," or whatever. Tom Haskins says, "We also keep institutions the same by the ways we perceive, describe, evaluate and think about changing institutions. We inadvertently play into the perpetuation of 'problematic institutions' by the ways we value, favor, contribute, care, get fascinated, and show concern." There's a subtle point here, though. The more we try to fix institutions, the more we reinforce their value, and the more this entrenches their current modus operandi. (This last isn't what he is saying, but it's what follows from what he is saying). Today: Total:881 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Emergent forms of TIMN
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating


Clever, very clever. But can we rename 'tribes' (which has all kinds of connotations I don't like) to 'community', which is probably more accurate? Because we want to observe that the 'community' of the first row evolves into a community of communities in the fourth row. Today: Total:883 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Cooperating or collaborating?
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

I'll share the opposing case first: both Tom Haskins and Harold Jarche defend an interpretation of the complexity-practices chart that associates cooperation with complicated and collaboration with complexity. You can read their arguments. My overly brief response is in the comments to Jarche (I need to explain it is more detail): "Being in a network is exactly the opposite of being strategically aligned. You and I are in a network - but we do not collaborate (we do not align ourselves to the same goal, subscribe to the same vision statement, etc), we *cooperate*. Collaboration means 'working together'. That's why you see it in market economies. markets are based on quantity and mass. Cooperation means 'sharing'. That's why you see it in networks. In networks, the nature of the connection is important; it is not simply about quantity and mass." Today: Total:1308 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Reading situational responses
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating


Good diagram summarizing the recent work combining various frameworks. But I really think the last (right-hand) column is wrong. 'Collaboration' should be associated with 'complicated' and 'cooperation' should be associated with 'complex'. Today: Total:1177 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Combining relational grammars
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Some nice work being done by Tom Haskins (I wish he'd just post his post, though, and not persist in the silly three-paragraph per day pattern of posting). In this post, he maps the conjoined Cynefin-TIMN framework to a relational grammar developed by Alan Page Fiske. I think there's something work examining here. Buit now - Harold Jarche, in his discussion of Haskin's posts, writes that the 'complex' type of situation lends itself to 'collaboration'. I disagree - and this is something that needs to be drawn out more clearly. I think members of networks 'cooperate' while members of groups 'collaborate'. Today: Total:609 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Combined Models for Pattern Recognition
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating


Interesting mixture of the Cynefin and TIMN frameworks, yielding the statement that "chaos is tribal", or in other words, "The kinds of order embodied in institutions, markets and networks fall apart when people act this unruly. Tribal order is what works. We gang together to realize some safety in numbers amidst the chaos and to improve our chances of survival." Also, we see that "complicated = markets" and "complex = networks", which seems right to me, and which explains why networks work where markets (which are based on mass and atomism) fail. Sorry about the diagram; Haskins made it tiny. Today: Total:1051 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Goodbye College Diplomas
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

I'm not sure I agree with the timeline - change takes longer that we think - but I agree with the trend. There will be a time in the future when the system of college degrees is regarded as quaint. The real prof of your learning will be evident online for all to see, not locked inside a document of a few words and transcript numbers. And I think that's a good thing: when we reach the sea-change where we flip from universities determining educational outcomes to students determining educational outcomes, the presumptions behind educational technology will be challenged and also overturned. Today: Total:1167 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Two Kinds of Freedom
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

I think there's a point here, though I have to say I've been finding a lot to question in Haskin these days. His point is that "Only one kind successfully gives us experiences of being free. The other kind is like an attractive bait that tempts us with the promise of freedom which is never delivered" where "Authentic freedom is found within situations" (including constraints and limitations) while "Pseudo freedom is sought after by escaping from situations' such as "acts of defiance, rebellion, or retaliation." I would rather say it this way (probably changing Haskins's meaning): freedom is proactive, pseudo-freedom is reactive. Today: Total:1316 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Making Up Our Minds
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

I'm afraid that Tom Haskins has gone into Crockus territory, though I don't have the time and resources at the moment to prove it. He proposes that "The [right] half of our neocortex is great for deciding what action to take, what timing will work best, what changes to make in the sequence and how to have an intended effect on the situation... [It] takes in a panorama of possibilities and naturally considers long term consequences. It processes information in a non-linear fashion which works superbly for combining approaches, balancing opposing concerns, making tradeoffs and formulating creative alternatives. The way this half thinks is intuitive, inspired and imaginative. The left half of the neocortex sucks at making decisions. It cannot get enough data while ignoring all signs of information overload." I find this analysis dubious at best, but as I say, I will have to await proof. Today: Total:10150 [Comment] [Direct Link]

When Learning It Really Happens
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Good post. I'd rather see more discussion in educational communities of the wider contexts that support learning rather than the narrow focus on pedagogy (i.e., what the teacher does) that predominates today. More from Haskins on the topic of Brain Rules, a book by John Medina. Today: Total:660 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Right Brain Functionality
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Personally I think that the Right Brain - Left Brain model is way too simplistic, and based on a very small sample of people with severe epilepsy. Tom Hoskins reviews brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor's TED talk about her stroke on the left side of her brain, and the book she wrote about the experience, My Stroke of Insight. Whether you are a believer or not, this talk, the book, and Tom's comments are all interesting and recommended reading. -GW Today: Total:919 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Form and Reform
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

OK, this is just fantasy: "How can 'talk of change' not pose a threat to the status quo. By speaking the language of the those 'who need to be reformed'." Why is it fantasy? because the language itself precludes change. Today: Total:806 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Inside a Belief System
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

We've seen this sort of circular process diagram a lot. But Tom Haskins comments that it's basically a closed system. "There is a single loop that congratulates itself for doing what it's designed to do. The positive feedback produced by the system indicates it's always time for more of the same components, sequence and outputs. The underlying premise goes unquestioned." Today: Total:4746 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Relying On Inner Teachers
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

This post is a big part of what I have been trying to say. "When we assume each student has an inner teacher within their minds, we will stop interfering with the discovery, cultivation and trust building with that inner teacher.... When we had over the learning to the students and their inner teachers, there is no more need for putting over-powering, controlling, authoritative and silencing instructors in the learners' faces." And so on. Great stuff. And, if you actually believe what Haskins writes here (as I do) you realize that your approach to educational techn ology can't be business as usual, can't be some version as 'technology in the classroom' or 'technology in the curriculum'. See also Harold Jarche. Today: Total:877 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Solving for Pattern
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Interesting take on the epistemology of pattern recognition. Harold Jarche cites Paul Hawken, "The term solving for pattern was coined by Wendall Berry, and refers to a solution that addresses multiple problems instead of one. Solving for pattern arises naturally when one perceives problems as symptoms of systemic failure, rather than random errors requiring anodynes." Tom Haskins remarks, "When we have one thing on our mind, we cannot solve for pattern. The challenge is too complex, panoramic and overwhelming. We can, however, take pride in how focused, determined and clear we are with one thing on our mind."I'd like to say that a lot of the things that I look at that "aren't practical" or "don't make a difference in the classroom" are instances where I am 'solving for pattern' rather than addressing more narrowly defined issues. Today: Total:9801 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Reflecting Upon the Difference
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Tom Haskins - who writes that "Learning and forgetting are night and day opposites!" - reminds me of a theme I need to develop one day. Learning is not remembering. When Haskins writes "Learning is like clinging to something. Forgetting is like letting go" I think he is saying the opposite of what should be said. Learning, properly construed, is a lot more like 'letting go' than it is like clinging. Think of the 'expert' stage described by Dreyfus and Dreyfus. Think about the advice you read from time to time, about how performance is a matter of 'letting go' of your fears. Of 'becoming' the thing you're trying to do. Today: Total:950 [Comment] [Direct Link]

IF PLEs Became Bulletproof
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

I agree with this: "that same pattern of destructive excess that IT Departments exhibit in making an infrastructure bulletproof, could destroy the value of PLE's if management adopts them as a job requirement." Today: Total:665 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Successful Finding and Feeling
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Tom Haskins continues with his PLE redux, concluding with this: "We make a thing of PLE's to do battle on the same turf as LMS/VLE things. We speak passionately about PLE's because they represent freedom from failure mode. But PLE's perpetuate unsuccessful finding and feeling until they are regarded as a process and no-thing. How is your finding and feeling going right now?" See also this description of PLEs as four processes in harmony. Today: Total:982 [Comment] [Direct Link]

If This Is Your First PLE
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Good advice for people just trying to get a handle on what we're all talking about when we talk about PLEs and mash-ups and all that. Essentially, what Tom Haskins describes is a process where you more clearly define what you're interested in, use that definition to find related sources on the web, and then progressively interact with those sources. Related: Harold Jarche and Dave Pollard write about web tools for critical thinking. Today: Total:698 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Are PLEs Low Maintenance?
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Tom Haskins has posted a number of items over the last few weeks on PLEs. I haven't been linking to most of them because they're mostly just fragments of an idea. But taken collectively they amount to a good discussion. This post links to a number of them (not all of them - he misses this one for some reason). I will have more on all this in the future, but for now, just one comment: 'the middle' of a debate isn't always where you want to be. Because what counts as 'the middle' is too easily manipulated. It's an old political trick - if you want people to adopt, say, a left-wing position, adopt a radical left wing position. This shifts the 'middle' to the left, normalizing the position you want people to adopt. Online discussions (can) work in the same way. You want your PLE to put you in a position where you have various points of view to consider - but you don't want it to dumbly normalize positions based on the input of spammers and trolls. Today: Total:1374 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Changing an Epistemological System
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

An interesting red-blue diagram describing shifting epistemological systems. I mostly agree with this, though question some of the wording (for example, I probably read "common ground" to mean something different that what the author intends). Anyhow, "Red oceans are bloodied by rivalries. The epistemological system in an industry dictates competition and costly battles to prove superiority.... A blue ocean is uncontested market space -- providing access to untapped demand. It seems impossible to miss at revenue growth, market penetration, customer loyalty, brand development and continued innovations." Today: Total:836 [Comment] [Direct Link]

PLEs Are Power Tools
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

A couple of nice posts from Tom Haskins. In the first, he suggests that "PLE's are power tools. They empower the powerless to break out of their boxes. PLE's invites self-directed learning." Then, in the second, he draws a distinction between 'fortunate' and 'unfortunate' learners, drawn roughly along the level of power, or amount of learning independence, the person has. Depending on our position as a fortunate or unfortunate learner, we will view PLEs differently. Today: Total:887 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Education Reform
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

I am not normally attributed with great economy of words, but that's how I'm feeling just now. In response to this post on education reform, I posted a comment. It was short, and I didn't even post it in my blog (I guess I will now). Tom Haskins analyzed my comment and responded with four separate posts drawing out the themes of my response:
- Sizing up the opposition
- Winning without a battle
- Conflicting educations
- No new change required
Today: Total:1081 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Sizing Up the Opposition
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Let me, at some risk, draw a connection between two separate threads. On the one hand, there is this series of posts discussing the creation of School 2.0 (or Education 2.0) groups on Ning. What is the motivation for this? there have been some emails flinging around - I haven't taken part in this exchange - where people are examining each other's motivations. People are trying very hard to be civil but it's clear there are some hard feelings. Why draw people from open and public discourse, some are asking, into private places like Ning networks? See Ed Tech Talk for a list of links and discussion, including an audio recording.

I think that there's a couple of things going on. On the one hand, there's the desire to build an audience by being the first to pick something popular. That explains (in my mind) a lot of the push behind other things, like Twitter and Second Life, each of which has spawned its own experts. But the other is that these businesses are very cleverly tapping into a latent conservatism - one that serves their own interests and helps people feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. This is the thread that is captured in Tom Haskin's discussion. "When we are in favor of any change, we encounter those who favor stability. In these situations, it's tempting to misjudge the opposition and fall for their deceptive tactics. It's even possible to 'bark at the decoy' and miss where the real resistance lies." Today: Total:877 [Comment] [Direct Link]

PLE's in Context
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Cynical cynical cynical - but accurate. "With these four contexts in mind, it possible to comprehend why PLE's has no appeal to most CLO's, appears to be going mainstream, and is getting so much buzz among us eLearning fanatics." Today: Total:649 [Comment] [Direct Link]

M.Ed in Informal Learning
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

The logic is inexorable, that as soon as such a program is created, they should start handing out degrees. I'll take mine with a minor in social networking, thanks (you can find my address on the back of this application). Today: Total:801 [Comment] [Direct Link]

LCB April Question - Leave a Clean Corpse
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

This month's Learning Circuits Big Question is: "ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors - What Should They Do?" (For those not familiar with the relentless jargon coming out of LC: ILT stands for Instructor-Led Training - the question seems to address both companies that produce educational software and companies that provide training courses). Anyhow, the best answer by far comes from Tom Haskins: "leave a clean corpse." heh. "Now that we are on a roll of learning from internal blogging or subscribing to RSS feeds, tags and searches -- it seems antiquated to pretend that identified skill gaps from a training needs analyses could have a clue about what can be cooked up today, between us, to get better results than yesterday." More discussion of the corpse response. Today: Total:1038 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Asking to Be Kidnapped
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Nice take on the metaphor I use to describe formal learning, written with humour. Worth noting are the 'ten frames' that characterize the way traditional learners are "captivated by conformity". Today: Total:926 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Game Over - Play Again?
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

"People learn just [fine] without us. And not only that, the web is making it possible for people to...GASP...learn from each other...WITHOUT us! Holy career crashers, Batman!" Today: Total:636 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Two Kinds of Competency
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Competence with and without concepts. A useful distinction? "There are also two kinds of incompetence. One kind arises from a lack of concepts or linguistic structures. The competent clerk who cannot troubleshoot a breakdown... The other kind of incompetence maintains an abundance of concepts without the ability to perform... Alfred North Whitehead referred to these linguistic structures as 'inert ideas'." Hm. Reacting to some of my thoughts, Haskins writes, "The faculty's competency is based entirely on linguistic structures and [it] thus functions as incompetent in the realms of action." Today: Total:1427 [Comment] [Direct Link]

I Found it Inside My Blog Reader!
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Heh. "All these bloggers I subscribe to appear to be learning without formal instruction... All these bloggers are self directing their own learning proceses, motivating their own progress, synthesizing their own meaning and constructing idiosyncratic mental models. How did all these bloggers get so resourceful and practiced at learning informally from the blogging they are doing?" That's the evidence we all see and feel, the evidence of our own learning. Today: Total:979 [Comment] [Direct Link]

How Changes Come About
Tom Haskins growing changing learning creating

Nice list (and for every one of them I could imagine the outline of a plot for a Star Trek episode). Though I suppose Tom Haskins's examples are better. I wonder whether he deliberately created the double meaning in his title - to 'come about' as in 'to occur', and to 'come about' as in sailing, meaning to change directions when tacking against the wind. Today: Total:1084 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Links

(Still working on this)