Chaos Theory and the Sciences of Complexity: Foundations for Transforming Education

Charles M. Reigeluth, Dec 08, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is from 2004 but still work reading, as it is well in advance of what most people today are still saying about learning. But it is relevant to the theories of learning networks and connectivism. Among other things, it discusses:

  • network health - "For a system to be healthy, it must co-evolve with its environment: it changes in response to changes in its environment, and its environment changes in response to its changes"
  • learning theories - "Co-evolution is fostered by disequilibrium and positive feedback" (ie., Boltzmann mechanisms and back propagation)
  • openness - "open systems maintain a state of non-equilibrium… They participate in an open exchange with their world"
  • content - "Transformation is strongly influenced by 'strange attractors'... In educational systems, they can be considered 'core ideas' and values or beliefs"
  • self-organization - "require two major characteristics: openness and self-reference [and] Because it partners with its environment, the system develops increasing autonomy from the environment [and] the more freedom in self-organization, the more order"
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