Sunday, December 10

Convergence Learning

I came upon an interesting term -- Convergence Journalism: from the convergence of technologies that has taken place with digitization, to economic convergence in media ownership, through to the journalistic convergence that is seeing both a combination of media forms into one 'multimedia' form, and a multiplication of delivery systems.

Wondering if the learning profession has such a term, I Googled it and came across this interesting definition from KERIS - the Convergence Learning Model is founded upon cognitive sciences and operates on three impetuses: the psychology of learning, pedagogical change, and technological advancement. From a psychological view, the model addresses intrinsic motivation based on Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory. From a pedagogical view, the model provides a link between formal and informal learning to the benefit of each. Finally, the model is implemented using ubiquitous computing technologies.


Flow

Flows are not just one element of social organization, they are the expression of the processes dominating our economic, social and symbolic life - Manual Castells in The Rise of Network Society.

Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." Thus the development of learning spaces is far more than developing content, rather it is staging experiences that allows the learners to gain a finely tuned sense of rhythm, involvement, and anticipation known as "flow." And rather than seeing learning as a chore, "learning flow" challenges the learner to want to learn.

Formal & Informal Learning
"The learning zone" is the convergence of formal and informal learning within a social context where the interests of the enterprise and individual meet. The role of social networks is essential to successful learning in enterprises. - Window into Talent and Learning

Thus, rather than learning being organized around an event, it becomes a network of both planned and spontaneous situations. Some business processes are just too important to be left to chance. For example, manufacturing a product to specifications or safety procedures normally require that some type of formalized learning be given. Yet, it does not require strictly formalized learning methods. Competencies require the mastery of the 5 Cs: Content, Conversation, Connectivity, Collaboration, and Context:

  • While we all enjoy a good speaker, literature, or video that a well prepared lesson can provide, we also need to create and search for our own content in order to provide meaning to the new information.

  • While corporate classrooms have been moving away from lectures and more towards the interactive, it is often only after the learners have left the classroom and have had a chance to digest and reflect on their new knowledge and skills that they are able to engage in meaningful conversations with others to make their learning deeper.

  • People are social creatures, thus many of them look forward to the social aspects that a well prepared class can provide, yet once they leave the classroom, technologies such as the web, blogs, discussion groups, mobile phones, and email allows them to connect not only with the people they met in class, but also with others who share the same interests.

  • This social aspect carries over to working and learning with others in new projects that allows them further gain insight into their recently acquired knowledge and skills.

  • And finally, it is the experiences provided by the other four Cs that give the learners a more well rounded picture or context -- information only becomes relevant when it is related to something the learner is already familiar with.

Technology

Technology is meaningless except in how it can assist you, and then it should disappear and be invisible. It allows you to think of things you couldn't think of, it doesn't think of them itself. - Richard Saul Wurman

When most of us hear the word "technology," we tend to think of hardware, yet it is far more than computers and electronics. It is the application of tools, machines, materials and processes that help to solve problems and extend human capabilities. It has a circular effect on us in that we use technology to learn other technologies; use the newly learned technologies to create new technologies, and then use the newly created technologies to learn other technologies.Thus learning has sometimes been described as the meeting of people and technology. Since technology extends our capabilities, it can help to provide that needed flow that fully engages us in the task we are focusing on.

4 comments:

jay said...

Bingo! Perfect timing. (And lovely graphics. Thanks.)

The world is changing so rapidly that many of the old boundaries between disciplines are becoming obsolete.

Last night at internettime.com I posted this troll:

"The traditional barriers separating training, development, knowledge management, performance support, informal learning, mentoring, and knowing the latest news have become obstacles to performance. They are all one thing, for one purpose, and that’s performance."

Many things are converging. Or perhaps we are seeing the hidden connections.

Thanks for a provocative post.

Donald Clark said...

I think we often miss the connections of things. I noticed that you touched upon it in your book Informal Learning with the Yes or No Continuum and your discussion of formal and informal learning being a both-and, not either-or.

There is a continuum which starts with direct sensory observations and proceeds to enormously complex, indirect methods of observation. - Rudolf Carnap

My guess is that most of us are still at the direct observation level when it comes to formal/informal learning, however, the more we learn about them, then the better we will become at moving towards the more complex and indirect methods of using the two to build the learnscapes that you also discuss.

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