Friday, May 05, 2006

Learning and Community of Practice

by Dr David Hung @ Vista Lab on 4 May 2006
The article:
Learning within the Context of Communities of Practices: A Re-Conceptualization of Tools, Rules and Roles of the Activity System (Hung W. L. David, Singapore and Chen D.-T. Victor, New Zealand)

2 things that I remember...

  • Learning to be: Its final outcome: the acquisition of identity. It's a process when one undergoes the change in behaviour, mindset. A transformation takes place.

  • Learning about: It's about content! It's what that draws people of common interest to come together. It's what the arouses the curiosity in one and lead one to come in, peep, peep, look, look. If "Learning about" does not exist, what will the COP anchor on?

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Some Thoughts after the session @ VISTA Lab...

    Productive failure - it's a dip - a common phenomenon in the course of experimenting, incuburating innovative ideas, ... , leading towards to bigger goal, a long-term goal. Just wonder... how often we recognise them (when we face with) as productive failures? Very often, it'll be stamped or labelled "FAILED" and seal the case? Do we consciously look out for productive failure? Consciously be less judgemental? Can we accept the 'productive failure' and move on from there? Do we give the 'failure' a chance to prove itself? Hm... like what David Hung said, "phenomenon takes time to self-organise".

    Unproductive success - associated to short-term success, however, may not lead to achieving the long-term goal. As such, it will generate more unnecessary/duplicated effort in order to move on to reach the end-point. Yes, I think has something got to do with the 'big picture' thing. If we are able to connect what we're doing to the bigger environment, then perhaps we'll realise that more effort is needed or we'll have to go by a different path to achieve the results of task we're managing, however, giving room for expansion or being prepared to connect to the bigger environment, rather than as a CLOSED task.

    Agree fully with David Hung that "Efficiency" has a very influential role in both - productive failure and unproductive success. Often, we know that productive failure is part and particle of progression and innovation; however, very often, we want control over the course - introduce structures, set deadlines, KPIs, etc... to 'ensure' it 'happens' - and we wanted to do it quickly and systematically, to see the results quickly... yes, "patience" often overlooked or a neglected factor that fails to catch our attention. We forget that time is needed for self-organisation to take place. Agree that time is needed for things to take shape.

  • It's been an interesting comparison of learning and acquisition of knowledge between the past and present - the paradigm shift.

    • In the past, learning is a very individual matter. One possesses the wealth of knowledge in the HEAD. One brings it with him. One owns it.
    • With heightened awareness and the rapid growth of knowledge all over the place... how can one withholds everything in the head? There's where the different individuals come together, to interact, to share. To 'depend' on each other. To tap on each other.
    • Everyone have their own expertise, their own set of knowledge... and one can never hold everything in the world in his head alone... so, why not recognise the fact that the human world is actually a huge human library... and knowledge is indexed within different books (ie. each individual)... when need to, come together to share?
    • Then what's more important now is, knowing where the information or knowledge is, and knowing how to 'retrieve' it - through interaction, through network. Yes, as David Hung has pointed out - Learning is distributed in a community. Yes, there's no end to learning, but it's taking place everywhere, by every individual, focusing on different aspects of learning...

    Social Constructivism:

  • Good thinking is when Interpretation is close to the reality.
  • Seeing the "world" from the "LENS of the Participants"
  • Which PERSPECTIVE tells more TRUTH?
  • A fair bit of time concentrated on "Perspectives" and "Truth". What is truth? Something that is true can be protruded and lose its original meaning, intent.
  • Am still hazy over this... though the arguments sounded very logical when David Hung conveyed... Yes, it's a blur line between reality and illusion. Indeed, Reality can be distorted or misinterpreted whereas with proper 'shaping', illusions can be perceived true! Scary, isn't it?

  • Complexity Theory

  • At one point, the structure of the Education Ministry overseas and Singapore was briefly compared: Some of the Education Ministry overseas are just a body that comprises of several people (a 'thin layer') and therefore it leaves to largely to the district or school to 'self-govern' and therefore given the flexibility of the design of its curriculum, the way it runs the school, etc... whereas Singapore Education Ministry is a huge body where the thining and planning, etc... take place... and eventually most of the time, leaving the schools to come in at the implementation stage - so much so that, the school will wait for the 'big nanny' to say what's next... and even the 'how to do...' - Yes, both have pros and cons.
  • One interesting scenario: What happens if the Singapore Education Ministry turns into a 'thin layer' one day... whereby the full autonomy is given the schools. It's just a body that dishes out guidelines... how will the school react to that?
  • Schools immediately move in to the inequilibrium state? How the school re-organise itself? etc.... but after a while, it will reach a steady state, into the cruising state again... so the key factor to the whole situation - from chaos to settlement - TIME.

  • COP Conclusion:

    • Learning as becoming
    • Emphasis as process
    • Interaction are relational
    • Designing for Social-material infrastructure
    • Facilitating - enculturation
    • Allowing - Emergence

    Click HERE and HERE see some interesting illusions.

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