Learning Paradigms as Philosophies of Practice

In the online class I am teaching, Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design, I introduced the class to various learning paradigms, which we (and our text) referred to as Philosophies of Practice. These include progressive, behaviorist, radical (critical theorist), constructivist, connectivist, and such. While Creswell speaks about four different “worldviews”–postpositivism, constructivism, advocacy / participatory, and pragmatism–and Guba speaks about–positivism, postpositisism, critical theory, and constructivism–I thought it would be helpful for my students, all of whom are involved in adult learning, to be introduced to this concept and then to wrestle with it.

I asked my students, within our course system, to comment on which one they embrace. I thought it may be too personal to do out here on the public Web, and am acutely concerned with privacy and the safety of a learning environment.

I wonder if they can determine my own preferred paradigm?

Continuing Education + About.com (& CCK08) = Reflective Practice

I often blog about adult and continuing education. Makes sense–I am a senior instructional designer, adjunct instructor at New York University, and organizational learning and communication consultant.

I live and breathe teaching and learning, and with many of my influences (Lyotard, Mezirow, Brookfield, and Denzin, among others) encouraging (critical) reflective practice, I tend to regularly toss ideas and experiences around in my mind for extended periods of time. This is after all the purpose (and by-line) of my blog Silence and Voice itself:

Reflective practice in organizational learning, educational technology, and postmodern society.

It was with some surprise to have Deb Peterson find something that piqued her interest and write about it on her About.com blog. She was very generous in her comments, and it certainly made my morning when I learned about it yesterday. It serves to remind me that we never know who finds our work online–colleagues, future colleagues, current / future / past students, clients, friends, and the like. Once our words are out there and shared online, then the public face we wear may show interesting signs of what it means to be a (critical) reflective practitioner. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it may be more challenging.

With our world increasingly connected and decreasingly isolated, it is no wonder that George Siemens and Stephen Downes have been able to gather 1900+ of their closest friends (and a few colleagues as well) to discuss Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (cck08), which I think speaks nicely to this experience. Interesting how Deb’s comments about my work and thinking helps me to connect some online (and internal) dots. I suppose we never know when opportunities for reflective practice arise.

The world is getting smaller and more connected indeed . . . what an exciting present and future!

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) Online Course Preparation

Are you one of the 1800+ people who will be participating with the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) online course that George Siemens and Stephen Downes are facilitating and formally begins tomorrow?

Want to watch a short online introduction to the course? Click the image to see it:

connectivism course intro

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Online Course

I am planning to attend this fall’s Connectivism and Connective Knowledge online course, that runs from September 8 – November 29, 2008. With instructors George Siemens and Stephen Downes, it is sure to be an interesting and exciting experience that can be taken for credit through the University of Manitoba or free without the credit. Interested in joining over 1000 (at recent count) people in this MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), then you may want to do some background reading that George has gathered together.

In true online format, here are some of the course materials (over two months early!):

Course wiki ~ Connectivism Wiki
Course blog ~ Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Blog
Course email list ~ Connectivism Google Group
Different conversation aggregation ~ Pageflakes page

While I met George when he was in New York this spring, I have never met Stephen, so am looking forward to this learning experience. With the amount of preparation that has already been done, and the online materials and systems that have already been put into place for this course, I think I am already learning the best way to prepare for something like this.

With our networked world, I believe this may be part of the future of distance education.