Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ How do Online Learning Networks Emerge? A Review Study of Self-Organizing Network Effects in the Field of Networked Learning

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is a very nice study looking at the literature on self-organizing networks in online and networked learning. Starting from the (apparently correct) presumption that there is no comprehensive understanding of the subject, they look at literature on major forms of self-organization (preferential attachment, reciprocity, and transitivity) and ask "how these network effects can be enhanced or frustrated by the design elements of different networked learning environments." The authors observe that in the literature "self-organizing or endogenous network effects are never explicitly described as self-organizing or emergent." But they a present, and the authors "found factors related to the people, the physical environment and the task of the learning networks (illustrated)."

As an aside, I found myself thinking of the different systems of modal logic - S4, S5, K - while reading this article, as these are also defined by such things as reciprocity and transitivity (of a sort). Relevant? I don't know. I offer only the idea that there may be a relation between systems of modal logic and self-organizing networks; smarter minds than mine will have to determine whether such a relation exists (the closest I could find was connectionist modal reasoning, p. 273 here, but this isn't really what I'm suggesting here; my idea would make self-organization inherently modal, without the need for symbolic representation - that would be something).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 21, 2024 09:36 a.m.

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