I recently finished writing up a report on a qualitative study conducted on the different processes that corporate learning organizations are using to design, develop, and implement Microsoft SharePoint 2007 traditionally more of a content management system for collaborative learning purposes (see Using Microsoft SharePoint for Learning: A Snapshot of Current Practice). Although I was initially skeptical about using this software to create an effective collaborative and networked learning platform, I am now of the mind that it can, indeed, be considered a good choice for enabling social learning. Read more »
I just finished reading an article entitled Managing Multimedia written by Elliott Masie in the July 2010 issue of Chief Learning Officer Magazine. In this column, Masie states that there has been an increase in the use of video sharing as a corporate learning methodology, claims that one of the major challenges is how to store and provide access to video clips, and lists several functions that learning leaders would like to see as part of the video sharing systems, such as tagging and rating.
Although I have no argument with anything that Masie says in his article, I do propose that Masie and other observers of this trend often overlook the most important aspect of video sharing. Read more »
I heard something quite interesting this week a story about a company that recently dismissed its entire leaning and development (L&D) organization and is now conducting all learning activity via a computer-based collaboration platform. Im sure you are familiar with this type of software platform it provides a virtual environment in which people can network with one another, share ideas and best practices through blogs, ask and answer questions on discussion forums, possibly share video clips, access files and other media, etc. Some might see this bold decision as groundbreaking and cutting edge considering the current hype surrounding social learning. However, while there does appear to be potential for such environments to leverage informal learning by capturing and providing access to the tacit wisdom of the crowds, I have been researching social learning tools and strategies over the past year and a half and do not yet see enough hard evidence that collaboration platforms promote learning transfer to support such a drastic change. Read more »
To set the stage for this post, let me quickly review the very basics of the three primary learning theories:
Although in previous posts I state that I believe that collagogy is supported by the constructivist theory of learning, I can see that there are certain aspects of networked, collaborative learning that are also supported by both cognitivism and behaviorism. Read more »
A couple of posts ago, I proposed that the concept of collagogy falls into the camp of the constructivist learning theory, which states that people are information constructors, gaining meaning from their experiences by taking new information and incorporating it into their existing knowledge framework, or even adjusting their existing framework to fit the new information. To avoid going into the theoretical terminology too deeply, suffice it to say that this theory says that we learn through interactions with our environment.
One particular constructivist theorist, Lev Vygotsky, developed a cognitive development theory called Social Development Theory during the early 1900s. The basic premise of his Social Development Theory is that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the development of human cognition. A key component of this theory is the Zone of Proximal Development, which is, in essence, the gap between what a child already knows and what he/she has the potential to learn with the guidance of an adult or through contact with other children. I have created a graphic below to demonstrate this concept: Read more »
Well, I was going to get into a whole bunch of psychological theories that would support this concept of collagogy, but I struck upon an idea that required me to play around with graphics instead. I wanted to represent pedagogy, andragogy, and collagogy visually to help explain my thought process. In so doing, it became very clear that each approach to leading the learning process has its place in the world. There will be times when each could be used because it would be the best approach based on the learning needs of the audience. Here is my thinking…
Pedagogy: The Instructor
Pedagogy is the teaching process in which an expert provides information to learners, and the primary direction of the learning process is from Instructor to the learners. The level of control in the learning process starts out high, and remains high.
As stated in my previous post, there are questions that need to be answered in order to build out the concept of Collagogy as a new set of practices and strategies that enable social learning. The underlying principle is that, in the world of social learning, we are no longer imparting knowledge and skills unto others, but rather, we are helping people utilize networks to get the knowledge and skills they need. We are no longer teachers, but are technology architects, guides and coaches. However, lets take a step back and try to establish what learning paradigm best supports social learning.
There have been only three fundamental learning paradigms over the years, and they reflect how we have evolved in our thinking about humans from being passive learners to active learners to interactive learners:
- Behaviorism: People are reactors to external stimuli, and learning is simply behaving in a way that earns rewards or reduces punishment. Theorists such as Skinner (operant conditioning) and Pavlov (Pavlovs dogs) popularized this paradigm in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Instructors who believe in this paradigm primarily manipulate consequences to promote learning and appropriate behaviors.
- Cognitivism: People are information processors with brains that act like a computer, and internal mental processes are the key to how people learn. Theorists such as Piaget (Stage Theory of Cognitive Development) and Gardner (Theory of Multiple Intelligences) challenged Behaviorism with their theories in the early to mid-twentieth century. Instructors who believe in this paradigm primarily present new information to promote learning
- Constructivism: People are information constructors, actively creating subjective representations of reality in their minds, with learning taking place when new information is linked to existing representations. Theorists such as Knowles (Andragogy) and Bruner (Discovery Learning) introduced the concept of interactive learning in the mid to late-twentieth century. Instructors who believe in this paradigm primarily present new information in context and help learners adapt, adjust and apply the new information to promote learning. Read more »
We live in exciting and turbulent times, and I believe we are fortunate to be witness to a significant change in the field of training and development. With the introduction of Web 2.0 technology, and whether we like it or not, our role is now in the process of shifting from the traditional and comfortable training provider role, to the new and developing learning enabler role. In addition, our current economy has dramatically increased the rate of this change, as more and more organizations are looking to electronic training delivery methods to cut costs.
If our role is changing so significantly and so quickly, I wonder…should we pause to consider whether we also need some new, fresh, and more relevant terminology to reflect this dramatic change? Granted…recent technology has influenced our terminology. Practically everything has a 2.0 placed behind it now, and there is a plethora of new software solutions out there with strange new names. However, there are some core, fundamental training concepts that do not seem to be quite as applicable or at least require revision in this new age of networked learning and development. It seems to me that the art of enabling people to learn from one another is significantly different than teaching people from the platform, and therefore, the teaching methods of andragogy and pedagogy – both designed in eras of platform teaching – could be ripe for re-evaluation. Read more »
In discussion with people from across industries and from multiple roles in L&D, it is clear that the definition of Social Learning is extremely unclear. In fact, the term Social Learning itself has competition from terms such as Collaborative Learning, Learning 2.0, Cooperative Learning, eLearning 2.0, and Networked Learning. However, there does seem to be a common thread among those who discuss this issue, which is that technology is an integral part of (what we are currently calling) Social Learning. This makes some sense. These terms above were not coined until after the Web 2.0 explosion a few years ago, so to associate Social Learning with technology is logical. However, I wonder if the field is being carried away from the purpose of this new strategy by focusing on the means to achieving that purpose. Read more »