Seeing Students Develop: From Objective Data to Subjective Achievement

Even though the personalization / individualization of instruction is being driven by objective data in learning platforms, this data can also be used to facilitate a deeper self-understanding  commitment and understanding between the student and the teacher.

To see the future, students and teachers should focus on their horizons.  Horizons here refer to a point in developmental  time that can’t be seen clearly today, but that I can reasonable expect to achieve in the future.  Because many aspects of this developmental journey are both precarious and dependence on future actions, this joint vision can’t be wishful thinking, but must be clearly framed in terms of privileges and obligations.  When it is treated this way, assessment is not a picture of student achievement, but is a methods for making both student and teacher visible to each other in a way that is rational, meaningful and conducted in an ontologically responsible manner; that is, in a way that is true to who we we want to become (Shotter, 1993).

This model of support begins with valid assessments that are clear and explicit about their  meaning, the underlying values implied and the actual or expected consequences.  The learning process can then be understood from a narrative perspective as well as mathematically.  By referencing empirically supported path models, personalization can include choice, preparing the way for stronger commitment and clarification of learning directions, choices and possibly experiments involving learning directions.

Theis idea is not to suggest that assessment must become less objective, but to recognize that an education process must contribute to the development of a subject.  Educating a student is not like designing a computer chip.  It is about helping an individual actualize their unique capabilities while finding themselves and their place in society.  The Goal of Education is intellectual development.  Approaches that are tethered to a mechanistic model of education will fail in this goal and are not even appropriate in terms of the efficiency by which they may be justified.  Assessment may start with objective visions, but its uses must directly translate to the subjective tasks that are central to both teacher and student.

Artists, Creativity and Innovation

Working on 2 thought projects:

  1. How to justify practice from an evidence-based perspective
  2. The importance of artists and artistic environments in building creative learning environments.

Patrick Dunn alerted me to an issue of The Journal of Business Strategy that explores artists and business innovation.  This is a comment I left on his blog in response to the opening article by Nessley (Arts-based learning at work: economic downturns, innovation upturns, and the eminent practicality of arts in business).

I don’t think the value of the arts can be expressed in a linear fashion as in Nissley’s examples. My belief is that many innovations do not come out of nowhere, but are expressions of a zeitgeist. That is, many different innovations in different parts of the culture share parts of an internal structure or nature. Artists are important for innovation because they live on the edge of this zeitgeist; constantly testing its forms and limits. This zeitgeist spreads across disciplines like a meme, sowing the seeds of innovation. The arts become important for business when business is exposed to this spread and can adopt portions for its own innovation. It’s the artistic environment that’s needed, exposure to the thinking of people on the edge. It should be part of the regular business environment because it may be the 100 iteration of a particular portion of the zeitgeist that finally lights the needed spark.

I think business innovators, entrepreneurs and artist are all cut from a similar mold and all can be valuable contributors to an edge environment. It is an edgy environment that is important, not a Picasso on the wall or the thousandth rendition of a Beethoven piece.

More on this after a bit more research.

The Real Relationship: An Idea to Support Collaborative Practice

Gelso, C.J. (2011). The Real Relationship in Psychotherapy: The Hidden Foundation of Change, Washington D.C.:APA (

Most human practices, like management or education, have a social interactive foundation.  (Managers manage and collaborate with people and educators guide their development.)  Consequently the insights of psychotherapy, the most studied of all interactive processes, are usually very relevant; as is this book.  Gelso’s premise is that a tripartite relational foundation underlies successful therapeutic change: (1)The working relationship (agreements instrumental to completing the task at hand), (2) transference [“a client’s experience of the therapist that is shaped by the client’s own psychological (and social historical based) structure”] and counter-transference (the effect of the therapist’s psychological and social historical based structure), and (3) the real relationship.  He defines the real relationships as:

(T)he personal relationship existing between two or more persons as reflected in the degree to which each is genuine with the other and perceives and experiences the other in ways that befit the other.  . . . In the strongest real relationships persons communicator genuinely with one another, and are willing to let themselves be known deeply, and perceive and experience the other realistically, to an important extent (p. 58).  . . . the theory is bidirectional and represents a two person psychology (p.60).

This makes sense to me.  We have very nuanced relational capabilities and we need to seek collaborative relationships that maximize people’s potential, not seek simple command and control structures that have been shown to be inadequate.  This fits in with the ideas in the real relationship.

Gelso sees the strengthening of the real relationship as involving disclosure (he says relevance is more important than the amount of disclosure) and empathy.  The real relation is presented as critical, but it exist alongside the other two and does not necessarily subsume the other two.  To me this means that:

  1. You need to agree on and clarify your purpose for working together.
  2. You need to be careful regarding your own biases and what you project onto others.
  3. But, success in working with others may depend on putting together a deeper dialogue and relationship.

Higher Education – is it worth it? Valuing Action over Thinking

George Siemens prompted these ideas when he asked the question: Higher Education – is it worth it? To answer this question, it is time to move to another metaphor.  From the idea of education creating a difference of thought to a difference of action.

This question was originally prompted by Peter Thiel (PayPal)  suggestion that people drop out of school and start companies.  George backgrounds his ideas by contrasting 2 thoughts:

The higher education model is antediluvian, it is no longer aligned with the information and knowledge ecology in which it exists (see Reinventing Knowledge and Reconstructing the University for more detail on this line of thinking). The fatal logic in education-abolisher’s, like Thiel, thinking is that a broken system is an unneeded system. Higher education needs to change. It needs to be more effective, more flexible, more cost-effective, more equitable (in terms of access), and aligned with the knowledge structures and spaces of today’s society. However, as Edgar Morin states (.pdf) the purpose of education is to prepare each individual for “the vital combat for lucidity”. Thiel’s model doesn’t achieve this. When we learn, we are not only fulfilling a responsibility to ourselves but to society and to the future. This learning need not be formal, but it needs to be broad, diverse, and non-utilitarian…i.e. not learning only to achieve a task or get a job but learning in order to increase our capacity for greater future options (or, for that matter, to become a better person).

I disagree with Morin, who’s first statement is:

The purpose of education is to transmit knowledge. . .

This puts us into Ann Sfard’s two metaphors of learning, the Acquisition and Participation Metaphors.  Sfard’s metaphoric analysis does not go sufficiently deep for this discussion.  The acquisition metaphor must assume that knowledge is stored in memory to be drawn upon and adapted to the context (transferred) when needed.  I have to research this more, but I don’t think cognitive psychology supports this aspect.  The acquisition metaphor still has some use, but this severely limits that use.

The  participation metaphor is based on Situated Learning Theory, which is based on Vygotsky’s idea of activity as the primary unit of analysis.  (Wittgenstein’s thoughts also support this view.)  Community participation is usually the location of that activity, but activity is the psychological and education unit to which attention should be paid.  Most of the criticisms Sfard makes of the participation metaphor do not hold up if you properly place activity at the center of that analysis.

Morin’s “combat for lucidity” happens in communicative actions.  Even in soliloquy, we posit an “Other” to which our active  is directed.  This is why my first response to George was to Quote Evans & Mackey in this comment to his blog post:

I would like to see universities organize around greater flexibility in learning communities so this (college vs. entrepreneurial activity) does not become an either or question. I noted Terry Evan and Julie Mackey’s article in IRRODL’s Special Issue on Connectivism

where they say:

(The) insular view of community, bounded by course curriculum and timelines, is problematic for professional learning and highlights a tension between the underlying philosophical stance and the pedagogies adopted by universities. A central tenet of sociocultural epistemologies is that learning is vitally situated within the context of its development and that “understanding and experience are in constant interaction” (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 51). As Lave and Wenger (1991) describe in their theory of social practice, there is a “relational interdependency of agent and world, activity, meaning, cognition, learning, and knowing” (p. 1).

Higher Education needs to be re-structured so that it is imbedded to support our ongoing activities.  This fits with social-cultural, situated and connectivist perspectives, it fits with Hagel, Brown and Davison’s Pull metaphor of learning and it is not against Thiel’s idea at least from a learning theory perspective.  And ultimately, this question cannot be answered without referencing a theory about how we learn.  Why must you study than do instead of studying and doing as an integrated activity.

Again I am left with the impression that Higher Educations past is based on developing an educated class; creating a class distinction.  Morin’s lucidity was not practiced except in activity and that activity was valued by the educated class.  The value of education and lucidity of thought was the separation it created from the rest of the population, a difference that disappears as more and more of the population becomes educated.  If you want that distinction now you’ll need Harvard, Yale or Stanford, and maybe even not than.

How will Higher Education create value, how will it become worth it?

To answer this question, it is time to move to another metaphor.  From the idea of education creating a difference of thought to a difference of action.

#cck11 Exploring the Validity of Connectionism: IRRODL’s Special Issue on Connectivism Part 2

This post completes my look at the Connectivism Special Issue of IRRODL e-Journal (International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning)  Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning (Vol 12 (3)).  The first half of this 2 part review is here.

Three Generations of Distance Education Pedagogy by Terry Anderson and Jon Dron

Interconnecting Networks of Practice for Professional Learning by Terry Evans & Julie Mackey

I see these 2 articles as related.  First, Terry A. & Jon have a great insight, that the design of distance education has been driven by technological development, but I don’t think they takes it far enough.  There is substantial infrastructure and 19th Century technology dedicated to higher education, but the technological infrastructure of distance education has pretty much been just bolted on to that traditional infrastructure.  The changing needs of learning cannot be met with the infrastructure of the past.  Many of the limitations of connectivism that Terry A & Jon presents are rooted in the fact that connectivist networks are not yet well developed.  Many of the participants in those courses do not interact outside of the course, making it necessary to re-create an interactive network for each implimentation.  Imagine if the entire university infrastructure had to be re-created for each course.

Terry E & Julie discuss a similar problem in the way that Higher education is organized by pointing out the philosophical contradiction between social cultural / situated learning beliefs.

A problem with institutional perspectives of socially constructed learning is that the zone of interaction is usually confined to the online course community.  . . . This insular view of community, bounded by course curriculum and timelines, is problematic for professional learning and highlights a tension between the underlying philosophical stance and the pedagogies adopted by universities. A central tenet of sociocultural epistemologies is that learning is vitally situated within the context of its development and that “understanding and experience are in constant interaction” (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 51). As Lave and Wenger (1991) describe in their theory of social practice, there is a “relational interdependency of agent and world, activity, meaning, cognition, learning, and knowing” (p. 1).

The biggest challenge in redefine the integration of working and learning is to change the traditionally idea that learning and working are separate activities.  Learning happens in the university and is separated from work activities.  That is no longer the case today.  Another problem is the growing gap between the knowledge services higher education offers and the knowledge needs of professional practices.  Hagle, Brown & Davison (The Power of Pull) state that the pace of change is outpacing our knowledge infrastructure.  Their advocacy of pull learning models could be implemented by professional communities supported by higher education and online services in a connectionist pedagogy, but traditional practices in higher education seem hard to break.  All of these issues can be related to the 19th Century infrastructure of the university as compared to today’s changing learning needs.

So what would make more sense.  The basic technology and web infrastructure are already available and waiting to be appropriated by professional dialogic communities of practice and inquiry.  The infrastructure we lack is the organization of professional communities that would be a natural home for professional learning.  I do believe that this also entails dovetailing the organization of universities and professional organizations with new digital infrastructure.  The university could act as a gateway to and an enabler of this community, but currently higher education remains separated from professional practice.  Students could be ligament peripheral participants in this community.  Knowledge development could be accelerated through cooperative interaction that is supported by advanced communication and mash-up applications.  One technological need is advanced filtering tools that will coordinate network activity and keep everyone in the flow of knowledge at their chosen and appropriate level.  Long-standing core participant will act as peer reviewers and validators of activity, except they will act in a dialogic fashion rather than current monologic practices.

Of course, this is all sometime in the future.  Here’s a great article about self-reinforcing powers in business management and there are just as a many barriers in higher education.  So, until that day finally dawns  –  May you live long and prosper!

The Challenges to Connectivist Learning on Open Online Networks: Learning Experiences during a Massive Open Online Course by Rita Kop

Referencing Sfard (1998) (I favorite article of mine), Rita points out that Connectivism is inline with the theories that expect learning to accrue through participation.  She points to the PLENK course (Personal Learning Environments and Network Knowledge) and to the struggle that some learners have with developing the participation skills to support their PLE.  Inline with the participatory idea, enabling Legitimate Peripheral Participation could solve these problems, but first we need to strengthen ongoing online learning communities.

I find it interesting that the largest block of leaders were 55 years of age and older.  Learning goals may have a significant impact on participation and it may be interesting to investigate individual participation goals further.

EduCamp Colombia: Social Networked Learning for Teacher Training by Diego Ernesto Leal Fonseca

Diego presents a case study that describes a successful workshop whose implementation was modeled after the concepts of a Personal Learning Environment, the Unconference, over the shoulder learning in software.  These are 3 concepts that I hope to study in more detail.  The article mentioned many practical aspects of organizing an event

The EduCamps have served as a testing ground for the exploration of ideas concerning the design of learning environments. The results suggest the experience has an important impact on the perception of attendees about technology and its possibilities as a learning tool, but there are questions that remain open.  . . . It is clear that the workshops have the potential to be a trigger for the development of a community of practice around the social software platforms explored, which helps participants to sustain and enhance the connections they create during the workshop. However, this potential currently remains unrealized.

Once again the question of how you can foster the development of professional ongoing online communities of learning remains an important question.

Frameworks for understanding the nature of interactions, networking, and community in a social networking site for academic practice by Grainne Conole, Rebecca Galley & Juliette Culver

Grainna, Rebecca & Juliette describe the application of a social networking site named Cloudworks.  The site has been used for workshops, courses, as a discussion space, to facilitate reading circles, for open reviews, to aggregate resources, to explore practice design, and to find expert consultations.  They were able to analyze site usage through 4 frameworks: Communities of Inquiry, Communities of Practice, Activity theory and Actor-network Theory.  What I would really like to are case studies where professional oriented learning communities move onto these types of platforms and how to strengthen and develop the potential of these communities through social applications.

#cck11 Exploring the Validity of Connectionism: IRRODL’s Special Issue on Connectivism

THe IRRODL e-Journal (International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning) has released a Special Issue – Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning (Vol 12 (3)).  Though cck11 has officially ended, I am looking at these 9 articles as a continuation of my thought on the validity of Connectivism (4 articles are considered in this post, the remaining 5 in a part 2 post.).  These are not meant to be reviews, but rather my impression of  what I consider to be important points raised by my reading of these authors.  I encourage all to follow links to the original.  All articles are worthwhile additions to the connectivism literature.

Emergent Learning and Learning Ecologies in Web 2.0 by Roy Williams, Regina Karousou & Jenny Mackness

Roy et al state that the information age is being overtaken by the interactive age in that simple data transfer is now accompanied by interaction, collaboration and emergent learning.  There are questions that that these changes foreground: what structure and constraints support learning ecologies that can support this type of learning, how is the resulting knowledge validated and can prescriptive and emergent learning co-exist together.    There currently are institutions and frameworks that support web learning ecologies like Open Source and Creative Common Licensing, and cloud-based applications, but more pluralistic learning ecologies are needed.  These questions will continue to be at the forefront of building validity for Connectivist practices.

Connectivism: Its Place in Theory-informed Research and Innovation in Technology-Enabled Learning by Frances Bell

Frances states that Connectivism is not a sufficient stand-alone theory to guide a wide range of technology enabled learning projects, though he does acknowledge that we need new models for learning.  I would agree, but I don’t expect any theory to capture every perspective.  Instead I would look to include the ideas of other theories to expand upon and extend the ideas of Connectivism.  My personal belief is that many academic research projects that look into practices are based on rather narrow (and therefore weak) theoretical structures.  Strong structures are only developed by inter-relating multiple theories that address different levels and understandings of practice.  Many of these articles in this issue do just this type of theoretical development.

Note – Bell contrast blog supported Connectivism with Peer Review supports Actor_Network theory.  While this is basically correct, what it points to is the inadequate and slow moving nature of peer review, which is ill-suited to a fast moving interconnected world.  Peer review is more suited to the interests of the publishing industry and the academic hierarchy than it is in supporting knowledge building in connected world of practice.  Validation of knowledge is important, but new practices are needed beyond traditional peer review and publishing practices.

Proposing an Integrated Research Framework for Connectivism: Utilizing Theoretical Synergies by Bopelo Boitshwarelo

Bopelo moves on to connects other theories in a “functional synergistic relationship” with Connectivism.  Specifically he considers Design-based Research, Activity Theory and Communities of Practice (Situated Cognition).  Not only can these theories extend our understanding in Connectivism, but they also provide methodological examples for how to approach research.  He details a Connectivist informed case study, but I think that this study (based in the WebCT) might not be the best environment for evaluating Connectivism as most implementations of learning management systems are not recognized as the most innovative environments for collaborative web learning.

Dialogue and Connectivism: A New Approach to Understanding and Promoting Dialogue-rich Networked Learning by Andrew Ravenscroft

Andrew claim a social constructivist perspective, although I find his ideas include a broad understanding that includes a deep understanding of social cultural theory (Vygotsky), the dialogue theory (Bakhtin), and knowledge building (Beretier).

So this article argues for greater attention upon, and the pedagogical shaping of , the learning dialogue process within network learning spaces (and) . . .without a reworking of attested dialogue theory into more open and ambient pedagogies we will be less successful in converting mega-social interaction into mega-meaning making and learning.  . . .shouldn’t our endeavors still fully appreciate the role of language and dialogus as our oldest and arguably still most powerful semiotic System.

In my last post I mentioned Zhuge’s active dynamic nature of knowledge flows.  The root of these flows is also meaning-making or sense-making as discussed by theorist like Jerome Brunner.  In a quote of Bakhtin, Andrew points out that meaning, in the final analysis, is not a result of Hegalian logic, but rather comes from the clash of voices in dialogue.  I think this is compatible with Connectivism’s view of learning.

The Over-Education Problem . . .???

Overinvesting in Higher Education by Richard Vedder in the NY TImes (A Room for Debate Opinion piece) says:

It used to be that a college degree was a ticket to a prosperous upper-middle-class life. As the number of college graduates has grown faster than the number of relatively high paying jobs, more college graduates are not achieving the goal of getting relatively high paid jobs. Now merely having a degree is not enough — a student needs a quality degree.

How is it that we can be over-invested in education?  Where is the evidence that we are too smart today.  2 Problems are implied by this statement.

1 If this statement is true – increase educational attainment > the increase in the # of well paying job -, it point to this economics problem.  Educational attainment does not lead to economic development.  (Remember the US Clinton White House election Rule #1 – “It’s the Economy; Stupid”.)

2. If this statement is also true – an increase is degree quality (as measured by institutional status) = an increased access to well paying jobs –  it points to this educational problem.  Education is less about improving student economic function than it is about signaling class attainment. (Rule #2 When considering non-economic issues, refer to Rule #1.)

Here my main point – Traditional education has always been at least partially about class attainment.  If we want to improve functional abilities, the ability to live one’s life, we should update (significantly) and reboot education programming. The education  we have previously experienced is not what we need, but this is also true outside of education.  It seems more and more that we are moving into a period of sizable disruption.

#cck11 Hope for Connectivism as a Theory for the Future

These are 3 things I’m thinking about in regards to theory in psychology, education and for evaluating Connectivism as an educational theory that can provide a pathway to the future.

  1. The difference between reducible physical objects and non-reducible psychological properties.
  2. The hermeneutic nature of cognition and theory’s conceptual role in hermeneutically informed science.
  3. Recent criticisms of connectivism as a standalone theory that I think it should be judged within a wider field of educational theory.

Social Action is not Reducible to Individual Behavior: The Complex Emergent Variable Field of Social Science

This continues a previous conversation with Alan Cooper about the nature of theories and educational theories.  See here and here for that conversation.

First, start with an example of the development of communication between mother and child (From Vygotsky, need reference) .  The child randomly grasps for an object, but the mother interprets this as intended communication to obtain the object.  Overtime, the mother helps the child formulate efficient communicative actions by presenting objects and interacting with the child to refine the resulting communicative acts.  This demonstrates the social genesis and nature of communicative action.  Neurology is not the only foundation of action.  Communicative action also functions at a higher social level. You will never see the complete neurological correlates of social behavior because it involves the neurology and practices of other people.   Social action is not reducible to individual behavior.

This is also just one example that shows why the variable fields social and educational research are so diverse.  Natural science is able with some success to reduce experiments to a narrow field of variables, but in ways that are not available to social sciences.  This does not mean that education and social science research is not possible or valid.  It is just that it cannot operate within the same standards for validity as natural science research.  Validity is an integrative evaluative judgement of the degree of support for research.  Standards cannot be established a-priori, but must fit a situated holistic understanding of the method, intentions and variable field in which the research is operating.

Digging Deeper: The Hermeneutics of Psychology and Education

But during the 60s (Paul) Ricoeur concluded that properly to study human reality one had to combine phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation. For hermeneutics, whatever is intelligible is accessible to us in and through language and all deployments of language call for interpretation.  Paul Ricoeur Entry in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

First Aspects of Hermeneutics: Our Horizon, Our Prejudice and Our Ability to Change

Our field of interpretation is often referred to, through a vision metaphor, as our horizon.  This horizon represents our field of experience.  The object we interpret stands in this field and we compare and contrast it to our experiential field to make our interpretations.  It is both our horizon and the basis of our prejudice, the preconceptions that we bring to any interpretive task.  These preconception are the horizon with which we see or interpret any subject or object.  Our horizons are not static, but are ever changing.  They change in the process of fusing different horizons.  The primary work of interpretation to take something alien and interact with it in a way to expand our context of meaning.  What first appears alien can later be understood as a function of our initial perspective or prejudice.  (Note – Prejudice in this usage is about all preconceptions not just bigotry)

Second Aspect of Hermeneutics: The Dialectic Between Part and Whole

The hermeneutic circle expresses the central idea that interpreting any text (or experience) is by reference to the whole, whether it be a body of texts, a discipline or the whole of one’s experience.  In turn, one’s experience (our horizon) is made up of other experiences and texts.  No idea, project or theory can be understood by itself, but only in reference to other ideas, theories and projects.  While this does presupposes no ultimate or final interpretation, is does not preclude the ability to make judgements about the validity of interpretations.

The Hermeneutics of Theory

Theory, like any concept, cannot be understood except as a reference to a wider conceptual field.  This mean convergent and divergent differences with other theories as well as it’s position relative to broader intellectual movements and by considering lower level concepts that can be juxtaposed and compared with the concepts of other theories.  Therefore, evaluating the validity of connectivism involves (1) situating it within broader intellectual movements, (2) by comparing it’s structure and concepts to the structure and concepts of other theories, and (3) by evaluating conceptual parts of the theory for comprehensiveness and consistency.

How do reviews of Connectivism fit within this evaluation framework and what theories and movements would I consider relevant for evaluating Connectivism.  I’ll leave those questions for future posts.  I am looking for the pragmatic ability to peer into the future.  This is the future question posed by John Hagel at Edge Perspective:

(H)ow do we embed teams in increasingly rich platforms that will scale by encouraging the formation of  more and more teams. How do we then motivate and help these teams to connect with and learn from each other? What would these platforms look like?  . . . a pathway that is pragmatic and provides short-term value while also building the foundations for much more powerful long-term learning and performance improvement.

This is the next killer app. for education.  How do we create knowledge flows, the pragmatic web, the places that bring everyone together in increasingly empowering ways?  I don’t think that existing theories can foot that bill.  And we can’t wait 25 years for traditional theoretical development pathways to work their magic.  This is the hope I have for this Connectivism journey.

#CCK11 – Does Connectivism Help Us Face Modern Super-Complexity

Are you confused by all the different theories of learning?  Welcome to the ailments of the world of modernity.  This is the subject of an interesting article: University Knowledge in an Age of Supercomplexity by Ronald Barnet.  In this article he states:

The modern world is supercomplex in character: it can be understood as a milieu for the proliferation of frameworks by which we might understand the world, frameworks that are often competing with each other.  In such an age of supercomplexity, the university has new knowledge functions: to add to supercomplexity by offering completely new frames of understanding (so compounding supercomplexity); to help us comprehend and make sense of the resulting knowledge mayhem; and to enable us to live purposefully amid supercomplexity.

In other words, the variety of perspectives (theories) creates supercomplexity.  New perspectives (theories) are still needed, but instead of making things even worse by only adding to complexity,  they should recognize supercomplexity and should be constructed in a way to help us make sense of and live purposely amid this complexity.  Barnet calls it a therapeutic pedagogy offering:

(A) purposive equilibrium in the face of radical uncertainty and contestability.  . . . It does so by allowing space for meanings to come from within the person.

A therapeutic pedagogy offers a chance of recovering the self.  It looks back to that which was suppressed (by radical uncertainty) but also looks forward to new realizations of being.

So my question is;

does connectivism help us to make sense of all the different ideas on learning and education, or is it just another source of complexity and uncertainty?

Barnet does help by giving us a list of epistemological requirements for future frameworks.

An age of supercomplexity, accordingly, calls for nothing less from the university than an epistemology for uncertainty. It has, as we have seen, four elements:

  1. The capacity for revolutionary reframing;

  2. The capacity for critical interrogation of all claimants for knowledge and understanding;

  3. The capacity for enabling individuals to feel at ease in an uncertain world

  4. The capacity for developing powers of critical action.

Action Analytics: Formative Assessment with An Evidentiary Base

I found Linda Baer’s interview on Action Analytics (AA) with George Siemens interesting by way of what I see as a natural synthesis with evidence-based practice.  I see the relationship in the way that  Linda seems to defines AA in 3 steps:

  1. Identify from the research base what is needed to improve student performance
  2. Develop appropriate measures to generate needed data
  3. Use the data and data technology to guide teacher action while students can still be helped.

I find it similar to the idea of formative assessment, but with the addition of an evidentiary component.  Formative assessment is about developing feedback during the learning process in contrasted to summative assessment that occurs after learning. Summative assessment has only a post-hoc pedagogical purpose, while formative assessment is an integral part of everyday pedagogy.  The major difference between formative assessment and AA is that Linda specifies a place for evidence in the process.

I believe that  AA can be relevant beyond the field of education as a general methodology for practice and also as a way to combine evidence based practice and the growing field of analytics.  Analytics can be most productive when they are integrated into feedback loops in a formative way and will be even better when research based evidence is included in the design of feedback loops and in the development of the  measures that generating feedback data.  I expect integration to be tricky and will likely require a robust systems approach.