Posts Tagged ‘Architecture of Participation’

Institutions or…Building a Learning Infrastructure

Yesterday I talked of how creative insights into how we might teach emerge from “bumping into learners expectations,” and of how some wonderful people had created new tools, or new models of learning, as they had worked their way closer to learners expectations (within the limits of their institutions). In our experience learning is an emergent process, so if you pay attention to learners, and to what they are saying to you, then what you need to do to support their learning will become clear. If you consistently pay attention to learners and the learning needs that they articulate, then you can build a learning infrastructure that supports the learning of others.

In the original Academy, Plato’s in Greece 2,500 years ago, learning was a series of conversations. It wasn’t given to you for just turning up, it was something you made through active participation. In medieval guilds, still found in the City of London, “mastery” in a craft was demonstrated through a process of “show and tell” – this is what I do, this is how I do it.

More recently the first British e-learning guru, Diana Laurillard, discussed how we should be building a “conversational framework for learning” and Gilly Salmon talked of e-mentoring as being a key element of e-learning. My friends in Romania, the Alternativa Universitate, who have their own learning model, or learning journey, organise learning around peer-to-peer mentoring, which is, perhaps, how Romanians share understanding.

So we are forever becoming really close to building enduring “learning infrastructures” but only when we can create alternative spaces in which we can follow the learning, rather than the more traditional follow the money (Paris, Bologna, London I’m looking at you).  Nigel and I have talked about using new participatory digital tools to help create organisational Architectures of Participation. Perhaps we should have described this process as creating “learning Architectures of Participation. We discussed some of the elements of this in Before and After Institutions where we are, perhaps, really describing how we might be Co-creating Learning Institutions with the learners (who turn up and participate). We’ve already described how we might be Co-Creating Open Scholarship so there may be some clues in there.

Since 2010 I’ve been trying to solve the practical problems as to how we might enable learners to create their own contexts for learning. I’ve done this, with the help of many others, by trying to build “Ambient Learning Cities,” starting in Manchester, where we have been trying to “transform the learning environment” by creating learning “beyond the classroom.” The first thing we learned was that nobody wants you to transform anything, even if they are offered €3m (City of Manchester) or £88k (MOSI). We were constantly bumping into institutional prejudices, instead of learners expectations, and discovered their rigid constraints (we have everything we need thank you), rather than participatory engagement. This is great for forcing you into solving new problems, which we did. We replaced textbooks with “digital Cabinets of Curiosities” and high-stakes assessment with Aggregate then Curate, our social media participation model of learning.

The second thing that we learned is that the classroom is a metaphor for learning. (more…)


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Heutagogy, Emergent, Ambient (2)

This is the second of three posts looking at developing the heutagogic qualities of the Open Context Model of Learning (OCM) into the Emergent Learning Model and from that examining the possibilities of building an Ambient Learning City in Manchester (with MOSI-ALONG). The OCM is an attempt to re-conceptualise learning post web 2.0, with a concern to rethink roles and responsibilities for learning as suggested by the LGC Manifesto. An earlier blog post, the first of a sequence of three of which this is number two, used the concept of the PAH Continuum to look at how teachers might develop a craft of teaching that would enable and support the self-organisation of learners. Sugata Mitra, who works on similar ideas, is now talking about Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLE).  However what we are discussing here is perhaps the conceptual follow on, what I call an Emergent Learning Model (ELM), for reasons that I hope will become clear.  (more…)

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