techno-utopia and social cognition

26 12 2004

in his post, your life…online, guy dickinson at participo outlines the possibilities of what he describes as a techno-utopia in which everything we ever do or say is in a central repository at our fingertips. but just as thomas more and others have pointed out in utopian literature over the ages, there are numerous negatives to such a worldview.

i’ll leave the obvious agent anderson/paul rumsfeld privacy issues (see the electric frontier federation for some frightening insights into what the bush administration would do in such a world) for another discussion. one of the negatives i see centers around the role of forgetting and cognitive load.

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learner centered design and motivation

12 12 2004

in a quirk of the net, my link to stephen’s web today opened to an archived article from january 28, 2002 in which stephen discusses a panel discussing learner centered practice and design.   while the article is a great overview of the issues around designing "instruction" to be learner centered, i was particularly drawn to a point he makes in his conclusion and one of his reader’s comments on it.

his point, after discussing martinez’s learning orientation model, was:

indeed, it seems to me that most of the evidence and most of the
argument against learner centered learning is based on bias in the
questions and bias in the practice. bias in the question, in the sense
that self-learners never seem to be included in studies of the
effectiveness of learning online. and bias in practice, in the sense
that (in a university environment especially) only learning
accomplished through formal instructor-centered learning is recognized
as legitimate.

and a comment by garym:

that leaves us with a paradox: those with a’s are by definition less
well educated and less devoted to their field, and yet they are favoured by the certificate-myopia of the job market.

how can this paradox be reconciled?

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adapt or die

5 12 2004

most are familiar with the survival of the fittest concept in darwin’s evolutionary theory. another lesser spoken concept is that of adapt or die. when confronted with a radical environmental change, all living things must either adapt to the new environment or perish – being replaced by either organisms which are “native” to the new environment or more adaptable organisms.

why the science lecture? because we learning professionals – the facilitators, the designers, the smes, the event coordinators and those who lead and/or support them are in danger of extinction. our environment has dramatically changed on us. the new environment of accountability and core vs. non-core competancy views our field’s old ways (considering a 79% “liked it” level 1 rating as reason to continue a course, paying lip service to including the clients of our training in it’s development, building courses and hoping “they’ll” come) as poisonous.

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