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Posts tagged ‘social learning’

(Activity 3.29)

“Learning can be viewed as a journey through landscapes of practice” (Wenger, 2010, in Blackmore, 2010, 185).

Ever since I read it, that phrase has been eating away at me – triggering connections all over the place…

It has given me a sense of dissatisfaction with the way I wrote my post about being part of communities of practice.

I have also made connections with an exercise we had to do in the first assignment for the course, plotting our individual trajectories, the journey that led us to start TU812.  At the time that had value in understanding the importance of our history to our approach to the course.  I wrote my post called Legacy as a result of that exercise.

Finally I was reminded of the way I pictured the C-ball in Reflection on juggling as a sack full of concepts, methods and techniques and my responsibility to keep renewing the contents of that sack.

Making the connection between a journey and the sack made me start thinking…as I have taken my journey through landscapes of practice, what have I learned – in other words what concepts, methods and techniques have I gathered to fill my sack.  This has made me think very differently about my connections with communities of practice.

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(Activity 3.25)

There is a long list of concepts that I need to understand in relation to CoP.  So here are my notes and thoughts from Blackmore, 2010, Chaps 7 – 11

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CoP out?

(Activity 3.22, 3.23, 3,24)

It felt clever giving this title to a post about Communities of Practice (CoP).  However, as I am not sure where I am going to go with the post I don’t really know whether it is relevant or not!

I have covered a little bit of ‘community of practice’ theory before – when  I studied Managing Knowledge.  In that field they were seen as a refreshing change to an information management approach as they focused more on human interaction.

Then there is my more recent experience – I think the phrase ‘community of practice’ is getting over-used and applied to entities that don’t really fulfill the essence of what Wenger describes – he and Lave coined the term to describe something very particular

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. [source E Wenger, http://www.ewenger.com/theory/ , accessed 27 February 2011]

but it seems to get used to refer to any type of group network, especially when internet based social networking platforms are used.

Seems a pity that we participate in things we think of as ‘communities of practice’ but in reality they are not CoP and therefore we may overlook the opportunity to take part in a ‘real’ one.

Perhaps I need to explore my experiences some more….

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Woodhill (2002) describes the development of natural resource management over time as:

– a technocentric era – where it was seen as a “technical problem requiring technical solutions” (page 69) and primarily the responsibility of government

– a localist era – focussed on community participation and local level change.

However, his work challenges this localist perspective and says it needs to be complemented by “broader scale institutional change” (page 70).  He says that NRM is entering an institutional era.

He advocates that a paradigm of social learning is central  to “overcoming such institutional constraints and engaging with the deeper causes of the ecological unsustainability of modern society” (page 70).

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Woodhill  (2002) identifies three elements for facilitating the development of social learning.  He points out that these are the three defining features of a paradigm for social learning.

– A paradigm is defined by its philosophical assumptions – a paradigm for social learning includes philosophical reflection.

– A paradigm is defined by its methodological approaches – a paradigm for social learning includes methodological pluralism.

– A paradigm is defined by its institutionalised practices – a paradigm for social learning needs institutional design.

As I read Woodhill’s commentary on what he experiences in the here and now and what he advocates is needed for a social learning paradigm, I saw a number of parallels with what we learned through the juggler isophor in part 2.

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(Activity 3.17, 3.18, 3.19 based on Chapters 3 – 6 in Blackmore (ed, 2010))

Well, I suppose I better start with….

Critical learning system

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I have been reading about critical social learning systems and it has set me thinking – what is the difference between social learning and critical social learning.  Or perhaps more specifically, what did Bawden and his colleagues seek to emphasise and draw attention to when they chose to use the prefix the phrase with the word critical?

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(Activity 3.10, 3.11, SAQ 3.3)

I think I mentioned elsewhere that I have come across Geoffrey Vickers work on “appreciation” a few times before but I have never had the opportunity to look at the source material and the writing of the man himself.  From reading the relevant chapter (Blackmore (Ed), 2010, Chapter 2) I have gained the following understanding of key concepts.

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(Activity 3.7 based on Chapter 1, Blackmore (ed) (2010))

I have heard of Schön before.  Mostly in connection with his work on reflective practice and also from his work with Argyris on learning (Ramage and Shipp, 2009).  I had not really come across his work on change where he uses ideas connected with social learning.  He is included in the course as one of the ‘early’ works on social learning systems – the chapter in the book was written in 1973.

After reading the Chapter, I come away with the following understanding of Schön’s key concepts

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(Activity 3.1, 3.2 based on Introduction and Chapter 12 in Blackmore (2010))

So Part 3 of the course is about social learning – or to use the formal heading “Social learning, interaction and systemic change”.

From what I gather so far, this draws on some different traditions of research and practice around social learning.

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