Knowledge in interactive practice disciplines

In the weekend I read the discussion about rhizomatic learning between Jenny Mackness and Keith Hamon in rhizo14 and I had to return to an academic dissertation from the year 1988. It helped me work  in the teacher education for adults coming from different vocations with quite different views and perspectives. Cognitive modelling is only one of the ways to interpret life and experiences. My own education (psychology) had opened my eyes to broad understanding of  human beings, but theory is grey and understanding becomes deeper in practice.

The researcher was Anneli Sarvimäki and the dissertation was accepted in the University of Helsinki, 1988. Epistemic styles can be described using three different ways of knowing: rational, empirical or metaphorical. Types of data and criteria accepting data as knowledge in the same order:

  1.  theoretical data, knowing via thought
  2. empirical facts, knowing via senses
  3. experiential, phenomenological data, knowing via intuition and insight.

Criteria for acceptance as knowledge are

  1. Is it logical? Is it theoretically sound?
  2. Can it be experimentally proven?
  3. Does it fit with my experience? Does it feel right?

The subheading of the research is An analysis of knowledge in education and health care.  In my work as a teacher educator we had used Argyris’ and Schön’s ideas about reflective practice and we had often used metaphors. Our students were free to express themselves using whatever artefacts and so they did. There was music, movement (videos), art, self-constructed boxes of wood, images, metaphors. I suppose that this development is known in all interactive practice disciplines and the jobs grounded on them. Mariana Funes has dealt with the difference between espoused theory and theory in use. I enjoyed reading her storify “the interpersonal contract in cMOOCs”.

When I am blogging I put a part of me in writing, it is not only a cognitive process. Rhizomatic learning seems to be a philosophy which every human being constructs during his/her life. It tells me obvious and self-evident truths which have been found in every science and written in numerous books. Intuition is an important concept in psychology. If you want to test your blog, go the the address I have given in this post. Most bloggers had a result beginning with I. How about you?

I’ll tell an example of my experience with books. This came to my mind while reading Ann’s blog about phenomenology and tactile memory. I participated in a course Fantasy and Science Fiction and we read very old books and wrote essays (to Eric Rabkin, Michigan University) . The texts were scanned so that we could read them from the screen. I printed some of them because they were long. BUT there was a book that could not be changed to these formats and so I went to a library. It was a deep experience to find that book in the shelf of my home town library, smell it and turn the yellow pages. That book was a part of history, human civilisation in a deeper way than  text-on-screen.

Now I feel that there is a difference between community and network in the epistemic styles of research … what/who is self in social self organisation of crowds? I have to continue my former pondering

5 thoughts on “Knowledge in interactive practice disciplines

  1. Hi Heli

    I like your article. It resonates with my experience as educational practitioner and researcher. I think you should include the issues raised by Inge de Waard ‘Thought on Power discrepancy in MOOCs’ as I think that is important in data collection and research as well. We are flooded by xMOOC data at the moment, which influences the emerging research in MOOCs. I also like this article ‘Transforming Power: Impact, Partnership and the Tao of Wholesome Power’ at as I think in the end our relationships and the data collected on the networked are shaped by power relations: in the class room, in organizations and on the network.

  2. Thanks Rita,
    I am so glad that you found this post. I have followed Inge de Ward many years but I did not participate in her mobi-mooc because I am not so interested in the mobiles. Thanks for the links, I’ll read them carefully.

  3. Thanks Heli. I love you telling of the smell and the yellowness of books. Finding a book this week that my father wrote in in 1935 was a visceral experience for me.
    And thanks Rita for the link to Ignatia’s blog post – I have read it and am off to comment now.

  4. Thanks for the comments and valuable links, I have a lot to read. I am eager to continue my studies in rhizo14, more eager than in past weeks. It is exciting to see how far we can travel and which mountains we climb …

Comments are closed.