Slavoj Zizek and Rhizomatic Learning

As Dave Cormier is speaking about Rhizomatic learning this week in the #change11 MOOC, I thought about this recent interview Charlie Rose had with the philosopher and cultural critic, Slavoj Zizek.

While I know that Dave’s work on rhizomatic learning does not have the same critical lens that Zizek uses, his way of seamlessly moving from one topic to another, approaching human experience from different perspectives, speaks to me about what may be possible if we extend this discussion (as learning opportunities surround us) to other areas of learning and experiencing the world. In this way it recalls Dave’s thinking:

The rhizome metaphor, which represents a critical leap in coping with the loss of a canon against which to compare, judge, and value knowledge, may be particularly apt as a model for disciplines on the bleeding edge where the canon is fluid and knowledge is a moving target.

I wonder how rhizomatic learning fits with cultural studies, and if in this way it has a certain interdisciplinarity about it?


AERC & CASAE Call for Papers 2011

I just learned that the call for papers for the 2011 AERC, Adult Education Research Conference, and CASAE, Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education, Joint Conference was just released. While the information does not yet appear on their websites, it can be found on a PDF I uploaded here: AERC-CASAE Call 2011

As this conference is later than I can remember it in the past,  June 10 – 12, 2011, and is at the University of Toronto (beautiful campus), and I have some close friends in Toronto, perhaps I will consider submitting something for this. With the proposals due by October 3, no time to waste!

Anybody else interested in attending this?


Networked Learning 2010 – Hot Seats Discussions

I am hoping to attend the Networked Learning 2010 conference in Denmark in May of 2010 (as long as my paper gets accepted, of course!!), and this conference is doing something different from most other conferences — it is actively engaging potential participants, presenters, and those who are just interested in pre-conference conversations about networked learning.


Very smart.

These Hot Seats are described here, and are free and open to the public. What better way to prepare for a conference on networked learning, than by engaging in this learning medium itself? Right now I find myself engaged in a great conversation with George Siemens ( this week’s facilitator, Athabasca University member, and Connectivism advocate) and the other distant colleagues about how technology changes the possibilities and dynamics in teaching online.


Dilbert and Organizational Communication

I saw today’s Dilbert, and it speaks to so many issues I (we?) confront in organizational settings. Saying things in “code,” clear communications, authenticity, morale, internal political power, saying and hearing what we want to hear to get work done—these are all things that made me chuckle when I read this.

Wonder if there are any organizations where this is not present? Perhaps that is the organizational Holy Grail?


Dilbert, Tacit Knowledge, and Bridging Epistemologies

As I am finally getting back to my doctoral work and reflections after dropping everything this past weekend to attend to an article rewrite (that was finally submitted and accepted–hurray!), I am not playing catch up with my studies and processing my learning and thinking.

Last week, when I commented on the article Bridging epistemologies: The generative dance between organizational knowledge and organizational knowing, I mentioned how I liked the model for Knowledge and Knowing. With further reflection on this, I recalled a favorite Dilbert comic:


I think about this image in that, for me, it is all about trying to quantify the tacit knowledge. Formerly working in the area of knowledge management, I know how tough (nearly impossible) it can be, especially given issues of organizational power and positionality.

Thinking more about this, I wonder if tacit knowledge is just another way of thinking about qualitative knowledge?


. . . and how is THAT Research?

inuksuk Ever hear that question, usually at the end of some other pleasant introductory sentence? If not, then bravo, you are a traditional researcher doing what you have been taught and in so doing support the stability and safety of the academic industry. Your reward includes crisp peer-reviewed journal articles safely locked within academic databases (thereby keeping the knowledge safe) and proper cocktail discussion (“Oh, you were involved in that work, how interesting . . . .”).

However, if you are a rebel and make a nuisance of yourself by pushing the boundaries for what can be considered research, then I really want to hear your thoughts. Have you written and performed a dramatic reading of poetry using words from the interview notes generated during data collection? How about the use of media, Web technologies, Twitter, discussion boards, autoethnographic inquiry, and the like? Does your work not fit into the design – literature – problem – method – analysis – findings – next steps model? Did you ever wonder who created that model, and what power issues are at stake challenging it? Let me guess, you may have at times even wondered whether the struggles were worth it, how your life would be different if you liked numbers, how you should have been a plumber, and the like.

There are enough times when you (ok, we) have to defend our work to others, I want to reframe the question.

Rather than explain “How is that research?”, I am interested in the internal and personal reasonings about it. Why do I want to express my work in a different paradigm? What is it about my subject or perspective that makes it not seem to fit into a traditional framework?

In my fledgling autoethnographic inquiry, I find that I had to do it (after being subjected to years of impersonal quantitative social science work around organizational learning—it has a value, but is not where I am interested in exploring) since I have trouble researching something out there without exploring how it effects me and challenges / develops my own perspective. I always think, don’t we want our students to understand the content and then apply it to their lives (to demonstrate they understand it)? My autoethnographic work looks at something that is important to me and, while exploring it and seeing what has already been studied with it, I show how my frame develops while inviting the reader to consider something different for their own lives, too. Now isn’t that a way to bridge the research-to-practice gap?

Why should research be any different? Better yet, try not to feel threatened by something different. Hmm, this may in itself turn into an interesting project . . .