Personal reflection

Once again an intriguing debate has started. On D. Grey‘s “Personal Learning” post

“…it is the quality of the dialog with your peers that really matters.”

G. Siemens commented:

“While I’m very fond of the notion of learning communities, I’m afraid that we’ll ignore the values of personal reflective/contemplative learning…”

Wishing to understand, and align with, both of these plausible texts, I try to approximate the ideas by plotting them both into M. Boettger‘s map:

  • Personal reflection, supported by technology that “performs many of the cognitive operations previously performed by learners” (see Siemens’ connectivism) takes place somewhere left from her “me, later” notes (which can consist of a varierty of technological auxiliary storage for the brain or other tools for thought).
  • Very near to this spot on her axis, the small groups sits who roughly understands the “rough, undetailed”, provisional, approximate statements (which are not yet properly understood by the uttering learner himself) because the group shares the context of the joint approximation of understanding. The learner himself, in turn, listens to and reflects the similarly approximate statements of the small group to gradually refine his understanding.

(This is my first approximation to the concept of shared meaning making) .

Approximating Böttger’s distance concept, U. Mejias introduces an “Epistemological distance”, which may explain the second step (right to left, group to learner, input process) of the meaning making.

Mejias, in turn, relates this to Ong’s orality vs. literacy distinction (already quoted in my #70 and #71 ) by connecting orality to smaller epistemological distance, and literacy to a greater one. This, however, is not generally plausible to me since, depending on their respective cognitive style, some people prefer personal reflections in writing, i. e., not all prefer uttering provisional, not yet sufficiently reflected thoughts orally to a wider audience, and I think the success of blogging proves just this: that writing and asynchronity is also very appropriate for learning.

Says G. Siemens: “Different learning styles and different learning situations require different approaches. …One canned answer doesn’t meet every need.”

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