Why Count Learning? All Learning Is Local

VialoguesLeave it to Dave in Week 2 of #rhizo15 to tell / ask us, Learning is not a counting noun… so what should we count? He detailed this in his video, and I took Kevin’s suggestion that we collaboratively Talk Back to Dave.

In replying to Dave’s query, I thought a bit about how we could use Bloom’s higher level evaluation forms, as they could help us measure learning in ways that are still consistent in the openness of moocs, such as “Explain what you mean by claiming unstructured moocs offer deep learning opportunities” or “Justify how all of the time spent in #rhizo15 is of value.” Yes, these could be useful measuring personal learning, though I wonder if Occam’s razor may be useful here?

Consider why to count, which I interpret as measuring, learning, and a natural answer may be because we can then generate %’s of what is of value to what majority.

We like to fund that which serves the majority, or to exploit them, require of them, or whatever one thinks, but like “All politics is local,” perhaps all learning is local, to.

I really do not care what the numbers say about learning, or how many people learn (or do not learn) this or that–in the end, all learning is local. This may be what makes #rhizo15 so successful. It does not seek to provide models that work for everybody, does not offer sage wisdom from a leader with a clear vision that musters the troops, and does not in itself even generate revenue.

#rhizo15 does not pretend to, instead focusing on inviting and situating learning on the local level. Like me, or you, or even us. What we explore and try to internalize does not have to be measured or counted for it to be real of valuable to me. Or you. Or Us.

Why does anybody want to count learning, when numbers may mean nothing to how my (our) experiences grow and the meaning I (we) make of them?

Case in point, I worked on this post all of Week 2, and though Week 3 started a couple hours ago, that in itself means little for how I experience #rhizo15 and make meaning through it. Does it matter I do not post this until now, or first, or not even at all? Granted, working through this and not sharing it to get input or more ideas may not be the most valuable to me, but that again is the point. I engage in a wider discussion as that helps me find (make) my value in this experience. Indeed, all learning is local.

20 thoughts on “Why Count Learning? All Learning Is Local

  1. Jeffrey, the problem may be that in able to measure learning we reduce it to numbers that then become evidence of learning? People then become numbers specialists and forget all about learning.

    Was thinking ‘local’ could also refer to ‘in the moment’ as learning ‘happens’ and then reflection sets in to sort and sense-make that flash. To build something from it seems like a different activity than the initial prompting or surprise. And that again is is different as it exists as version detached from the original. Most of what we call learning is finding a place, a name a category that will accept what we understood in that moment as communicable to others.

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  3. Jeffrey, you’ve expressed very succinctly something which wasn’t entirely obvious to me until you said it – the fact that #rhizo15 (or even #rhizo14) have been so successful because #rhizo doesn’t seek to provide models that work for everyone. Counting learning doesn’t make it count for us. Why didn’t I think of that?! Thank you for persevering with the post and sharing it.

    1. I was thinking about this in a similar way. @Nomad War Machine, this is one of the things I like most about online communications, especially around tags. They are alive and active whenever we dip in or out of them.

      1. “Alive and active, whenever we dip in or out of them.” – Nicely said. Echoes my own thoughts! Not just the notion of ‘just in time’ learning – beyond that. More like you can never be late for your own learning, it’ll happen for me when I need it, if I find time for it, wherever I look. I love your words “What we explore and try to internalize does not have to be measured or counted for it to be real or valuable to me.” This statement, plus that fact that I’m still counting on counting and not ready to move forward on ‘content’ doesn’t mean I’m late for my own learning. Relieves the self-imposed pressure to move on to the next topic! Thanks.

          1. I guess it’s a condition of being a rhizome – it’s always moving on, whether it’s ready for new ventures or not! Always seeking – a restless root!

          2. Nicely stated, @HJ.DeWaard. This restlessness as a notion does resonate with rhizomatic learning. Hmm, I need to do a bit more thinking about the implications here. Thanks!

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