The challenge of coherence

George Siemens, elearnspace, Sept 07, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Another presentation from George Siemens (I wish he would record the audio of his talks, so we could listen to them). The presentation asks how learners develop a deep and nuanced understanding of how concepts are related when learning occurs in fragments. It's a good question - I remember the English teachers objecting when we structured courses into modules at Brandon Adult Learning Centre in 1998. Some learning objectives, the said, cover entire courses. OK, so it's Siemens, so the answer will be formulated in terms of complexity and networks. He writes, "within complexity and networks we seek coherence and relatedness." Then we're off into a discussion of the need to understand the relatedness of things (probably within a theoretical structure or model). Oh it's all so unsatisfying! I want a transcript I can address directly. Because, to me, it's not about understanding the connections, no more than undertsanding a brick is about understanding its constituent atoms. Knowing that the knowledge is composed of connections doesn't mean that understanding the concept is the same as understanding the connections.

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