Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Sameness

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Sept 22, 2006

Posted to ITForum:

ali carr-chellman wrote:

> .... The fundamental assumption that I am not so supportive of here is the truth is to be found out there and that it can be tested until we understand it fully. I disagree fundamentally that this is the single, primary or even the most important way we can ever understand our world. But that's completely me, and perhaps we now come to a new sort of fundamental possible disagreement in the field that may continue to fracture us and derail abilities to seek consensus?

I am in agreement with this sentiment.

It seems to me that one thing educational theory has been unable to address is the possibility of multiple theoretical perspectives, the possibility that there is no one taxonomy, set of standards, methodology, etc., that will define The Way to do education.

Certainly, any approach to learning theory that suggests that an experiment can be conducted in (say) a double-blind model in order to test hypotheses in terms of (say) achievement of learning outcomes in my view demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the enquiry.

We need to move beyond consensus, beyond sameness.

-- Stephen

p.s. (Not posted) - and why is this the case?

Because how we teach depends not only on the nature of the learner (though it does that) and the nature of the content (though it does that as well) but also on why the learner wants to learn and why the teacher wants to teach.

And there is no single characterization that will describe those motivations, and hence, no single characterization of how best to teach, how best to learn.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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