False frontiers

Steve Wheeler, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, Mar 26, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm not so intersted in the 'false frontiers' aspect of this post (which asserts the boundaries "are blurring between formal and informal learning") as I am the statement off the start, to wit: "Collaboration is where two or more people work together to achieve a common objective. In education, the common objective is usually to learn specific content, skills or competencies within defined areas." the definition is correct, but the depiction of 'shared objective' is not. For something to be an objective, it must have a subject. An objective is not simply 'to learn P' but rather 'for me to learn P'. When two students work together 'to learn P' they do not have a common objective; they are each trying to learn themselves, and they have found a point of cooperation in the commonality of learning material (what this does to Wheeler's thesis about false frontiers I'll leave to the reader to deduce).

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