Expert participants in the fslt13 syllabus

When I explored the history of the department of Psychology (University of Jyväskylä, Finland) I noticed that the first professors had some voluntary assistants around them. They helped in many ways and were postgraduate students at the same time. Now we have this situation in MOOCs. In this post I take this expert participant question very practically: what was asked and what I did. I cannot describe the process from others’ point of view, only mine.

Marion’s blog says that in fslt13 the facilitators have taken an approach to maximise the role of the expert participant. They sent emails to people like me.  I felt myself flattered (to be an expert at Oxford u know 🙂 ) and so I answered yes. Expert participants were invited to help

  1. facilitate and moderate discussion forums,
  2. support other participants in learning activities and assessments and facilitate peer marking.

I had to leave the second task because I could not participate in British markings. Actually I commented some assignments which were published in blogs. By commenting outside the Moodle I could be myself 🙂 . I had problems with the first task as well. I have told in the former posts how I felt to be in a wrong place and did not want to offer direct support all the time. I would like to wait more and let the students find their ways. I could say for instance about the profile photo that they use Gravatar, and I could send a message to tutor’s forum and ask them to notice a comment in my blog. I did not facilitate the discussion on the forums or I did it only very little.

But I did something else. I have this blog and I gathered the students’ blogs in my blogroll. So it was easier to check if there was any new posts. The same could be done in the fslt13 sites > community but to use my blog was comfortable. I liked others’ posts and wrote comments. I followed Twitter #fslt13 and greeted there some students, favorited and retweeted. I joined to Diigo group which Cris Crissman built for us. I noticed how Cris tried to flip her session and I retweeted about it.

I began to model open online participation and wrote many posts about it: power law or free will or what is this diminishing of participants. I published these questions on Expert participant forum and got feedback. I scanned the numbers of Moodle participation and shared that information. I wondered why last two weeks student assignments were presented in closed small groups. Those sessions were said to be open but it was double-bind-speak. I noticed this, if I took the freedom to go in.

I suppose that this part of my blogging, modelling open participation, will be the most meaningful afterwards. Those posts will get readers from outside the course, because the questions are general.

Marion’s blog ended in these words: “There are many unanswered questions about MOOCs especially in relation to the experience of participation. We hope our expert participants will gain a better insight into running a MOOC, build new networks an opportunity to reflect on their experiences. We will be giving them support in their roles with some online orientation sessions in Blackboard Collaborate.”

I have gained a better insight into running a MOOC. I am sure about this. Thanks to Marion about following me all the time and Jenny about your interest and help, and all others who participated in this journey.

The concept expert participant is very problematic and assisting teacher is not better. How about voluntary assistant? It could begin with voluntary because it tells about the nature of our work, we were not paid for participation. Assistant has a hierarchy which I don’t like but what concept could be a proper one? Tutor and mentor have certain definitions already. Resources? How does voluntary resource sound in British ears? Ridiculous or funny or?

Expert participants in fslt13?

Open online courses are full of possibilities to learn from each other and to network. Some of us participants in fslt were invited to participate as experts, because we had a some studies and MOOC experiences already. Marion raised a hypothesis in her blog using Dave Gormier’s words:

Expertise in an open online course can mean something different than in a traditional classroom. It need not be someone who has studied in that discipline but might be highly motivated within the social network of a course.

I try to handle that question using my own experiences. What concepts may I need for my pondering? Figure 1.

Dia3Marion gave the concepts craft knowledge and MOOC experience. I added networking skills from the hypothesis. Online technology is always near. Craft knowledge are connected with professional experiences. My first insight was that I don’t know the British Higher Education an its assessment so well that I could participate in student grading. Jenny commented that I could share my experiences as a teacher educator in Finland instead.

Jenny helped me with another interpretation: there is a great amount of philosophical grounds which are totally shared. Figure2.

Dia4I had read the books of Dewey, Schön, Brookfield and many others in Finnish universities and used them in teacher education. I knew them and now I found them online.

But where was the difference between practices? I had feelings about that but could not interpret what I felt. We studied openness in academic world, open communities and open hybrid pedagogy. I follow same happening in my country and reflect them against the global development.

I felt homely when I looked and listened to this presentation of Ilene Dawn. It is published in her blog here.

Dia5Teacher and learner share knowledge, but the important concept here is atmosphere. Transformation of consciousness takes place in the intersection of these agencies. The atmosphere means to sit near, sit beside, watch over, be present as a supporter. I love the slide 13, which is a photo of the students working together. The teacher has to trust in the students, groups and teams. The students have to recognize the learning happening in themselves. It is learning to learn.

This was a moment of learning to myself. I did not feel myself comfort as a direct supporter, I have never been such. My pedagogy is to wait until the students find their own truths. I did not feel that I should help everyone who said to be on his/her first MOOC. I trusted that they will find the way. My concept of online facilitating was more passive that which was in air. It is not easy to know when help is needed, but giving too much or too fast is a wrong solution. I had felt guilty because I didn’t participate in the discussion forums, only followed them.

I began to analyse students’ motivations by reading the Arrivals lounge discussions again. I found a group of students which wanted the grades and I thought that they wanted feedback only from the teachers. I noticed that only part of the students were interested in moocing and open online sharing. I tried to find those people, but many of them had already stopped to participate in the Moodle. Later I had to check my findings: some of the graded students were very open and I learned a lot in the interaction with them. Special thanks to Ilene, Steffi, Zoe and Charlotte. You were my teachers.

My answer to the given question about the role of expert participants leaves open in this post. This is a description of my way, main findings and problems which I met in fslt13. Scott, another expert, showed me that the ways to participate may vary a lot. Scott said that he was a helper. He was very active in all forums, he commented and supported. Perhaps he was “highly motivated within the social network of fslt13? “

Trying to define my expertise in fslt13

I was very eager to begin my participation in fslt13 week 0. I wrote two blog posts and commented on some forums. I enjoyed the first sessions. Then came a pause: I began to think about my expertise. What could I give in order to help or support my co-learners?

It was easier to recognize what I cannot offer: I do not know the British universities and their assessments or grades. Most of our expert participants live in UK, Oxford, London etc. They know these practices, so I may leave this side to them. I also recognized the difference between fslt13 and my way to act as an online teacher. I did not use any strict schedules or small groups. I gave the freedom to participate when the students wanted, when the time was suitable for them. I even gave the freedom to select their topics. Some people did their assignments at the beginning of their studies, some at the end. Every assignment was very personal and I did not care about the style or correctness of their texts. The diversity was great and I used to be a flexible 24/7 teacher. I cannot wait that this is the case in fslt13, this course is more normal or usual: topic of the week is clear and there are deadlines.

I have to find my expertise on a general level. I have participated so many different MOOCs that I know the process. My former blog posts based on my former experiences. I know that some chaos, uncertainty and disorientation belong to the orientation phase of MOOCs. But I began to ask myself on week 1 that who wants this knowledge of mine? I read again the arrival lounge discussions and found many different expectations.

One group of students aimed to learn to teach better, new skills and techniques. Some wanted to learn more from higher education and enhance their competitiveness. – I used to work in teacher education but teaching is contextualized and depends on the culture. So I am not sure how I could help these people in their career building.

Another group of students wants to learn more about online learning or about MOOCs and the technologies used in them. Here I recognized many questions which I was interested in myself: the engagement, cultural effects, teaching philosophy and style. Some students told that this is their first MOOC and they want to live it through . That got me to think that what makes a MOOC? Is it the openness and the freedom to choose the tools? This fslt can be performed by following guides and deadlines and working alone just like whatever university course, is this?

The diversity of expectations and very heterogeneous students are considered as a richness in open online courses. I have a hunch that this is true in fslt13 and our students will learn quite different skills and knowledge depending on their different orientations.

We have many experienced moocers which already know online learning very well. Our list of expert participants could be much longer than it is (about 22 of 133 = registered in Moodle today). But it is not important how our roles are defined. I believe that this experimentation to use expert participants, as described in this blog of MazWaite, this will produce us some new knowledge. This is a post about my process of losing my expertise and redefining it in this context. I had to define what I am not to understand what I am. Sometimes I wish I were more simple (simpler does not sound right, I am not sure..)

Now I am going to follow Icehockey, Finland against Sweden, our favorite enemy.

Technology has no meaning

I found the heading to this post while listening to Larry Johnson. He spoke in Online Educa Berlin 2010. I enjoyed “Fri 03 Dec Academic Plenary” where Larry Johnson was the first speaker. Technology changes but human passion matters – could be a summary about his presentation.

Often I have a feeling here (internet, web, online, in open studies) that I should run faster in order to understand the last tools, devices or what ever they are called. Larry Johnson showed me that I can relax and enjoy – it is important to know my passion (which is not technology). The network is us + The network is everywhere – these were his other focuses. OK I should learn to use my mobile better.. it is a necessary tool of networking.

Also two other speeches were interesting. Aaron Wassermann showed how to study via mobile. That makes sense, I can agree easily. Josie Fraser from Leicester contributed with a theme Digital literacy and learning communities supporting 21st century learners. First she presented facts about the situation and development in different age groups.  Then she described three modes of literacy:

  • functional: cognitive and practical skills
  • sociocultural : we are here together
  • transformational: new thinking and new social and …

We need tools, thinking and social engagement. She gave a vision to action: developing skills, competences, confidences and so on. It is something I did in my former post. Listening to Josie Fraser added my confidence that my way is right – and so did Alan Cooper by commenting my post.

I recommend the presentations of Online Educa Berlin, the link is in the first chapter.

Diversity in open online courses

I can’t stop thinking about online communities or courses, I need to analyze happenings in order to understand what my opinions are. I have many threads to this post. Yesterday Chris tweeted this picture . I noticed it is in Flickr and we have a group there, I had joined it earlier and forgot it. Now I can link the picture here. Ian Woods has done it and explains it more in his blog.

I have been pondering the hierarchies in online participation. I have tried to understand diversity of expertise. Ian speaks about the expertise to participate in PLENK and describes the situation of newbies. I have pondered possible influences of background expertise, what do we bring to the course, what we have especially to give. I have a simple picture about it:

expertonlineMember profiles in PLENK tell that most participants have high skills in ICT and some are professional experts in it. Most participants have educational professions or -how I call it – human science expertise. My third case “no expertise” is hypothetical, everybody in PLENK has some expertise background. I just wanted to illustrate that you could participate without any expertise and learn new digital skills. I know some guys who follow internet .. web .. blogoshere and they are respected because they can drop others the newest hints. They sometimes call themselves as parasites – I have named this “copy-paste” expertise. Is this behavior the purpose (excellent) or false (do not know one’s borders).

The most common story in PLENK seems to be that teachers, educators or lecturers learn new technologies to use. We  train communication skills, writing, thinking, using web tools and creative thinking. Simultaneously we have technological nerds who give us hints and help to prove new tricks. This is normal networking, concrete questions can be answered. I learn something new tools in every course.

Ian Wood describes well the situation from newbies’ point of view. It is tough to manage one’s time and follow the flow of many discussions and themes. You have to learn to use PLE, it cannot be clear from the beginning.  Organizing mentoring sounds good, or is it better to continue spontaneous mentoring, I am not sure.

Now I should combine my pondering with the scientific knowledge Kraut gave. I participate in open online courses because my self-concept tells me I am that particular type of person. I want to be part of something bigger, I want to live in global world. I am interested in human learning and development – what happens in web world? I have to experience it myself, it cannot be read from books. I emphasize community, what it stands for. If the direction is right in my eyes, I can commit to it instantaneously. I am inspired through my identity, I have identity-based commitment to open courses. I have found like-minded people in CCK courses.

How about you?

Evaluating online activity

We have the Evaluation Week in PLENK2010 and this challenging topic interests me greatly. I scanned the web pages recommended to us. My first astonishment was that a famous guy who’s name I do not remember (never heard) and do not want to write here: he made a survey and asked people (American people) about influence and popularity: same or not? Oh god, I cannot say anything, I am wordless.There is so much stupidity in world and internet is effective in spreading it.

There was one description about web participation, the Google.doc is here. It is worth trying and assessing. It will be my first step this week. I checked my earlier blog posts from CCK studies. I had planned assessment criteria for myself in October 2008. I had assessed myself in December using images in my final project. I am not shamed about those writings, they seem nice in my eyes still 🙂

Clarence Fisher has given content to expertise levels (beginner, capable, accomplished and expert) using areas:

  • commenting
  • developing global understanding
  • connecting and networking.

He aims to help his students think about these issues. He has written earlier about blogging and writing must be there. Now I will reflect myself and my doings with this rubric scale.

Commenting

  1. Beginner until 1996, then I wrote my first public comment and made my first mistake and insulted a friend on mine
  2. Capable 2000- online teacher, rarely comments
  3. Accomplished 2005- regularly comments on own and others work, quick feedback
  4. Expert 2007- often comments on the work of others, build a community around my space. Comments ask questions and drive forward thinking.

Here I assessed my work in Finland, as a teacher, colleague  and community member but: when starting CCK08 I could not participate an in expert-like-manner. I was a beginner in using English and only capable (level 2). So this depends on the context.

Connecting and Networking

I combined this scale in commenting, I see now. Rude behavior belongs to the beginner level, of course. But RSS feeds were not possible in 1996, I began as late as 2008 and 2009 it began to work for my purposes. Now I see that Fisher scale is planned for students as he told, it warns about giving personal information online.

I have to stop reporting my own history and only check this day’s situation. Capable level: usually uses proper netiquette and connects with others safely, network changes only with support – I can perceive discussions about these themes in our Moodle every day (just wrote about the openness of comments).

  • level 4. I work on the  Accomplished level: use proper netiquette (or do I with this English?) , connect safely (thx to Akismet), regularly review self-chosen RSS feeds. And last: My network sometimes changes, grows and shrinks slowly.

How about the highest level expertise?

  • level 5. Supportive of others online: yes since 2000 I suppose. RSS-feeds I do delete and add as needed, but I do not know why subscriptions are better than self chosen RSS? And the last: my network is flexible, changing to meet needs. Oh yes, it is and is not, it depends…

Developing a global understanding

The year 1968 opened the global world to me, or some years later. Never been a beginner who accesses information only from North America 🙂 This is nice to read in Finland: American people must learn that there are other continents. Now I recognize how good I am at global thinking. I have regularly created own content about global issues since 1970’ies. This part was for Americans only.

I thought that he had said something about THINKING but no, it is lacking almost totally. Waited too much.

But it was nice to fill this rubric of Clarence Fisher. I tried to grasp this issue at the end of CritLit and after it: I was searching the content of expertise in these open CCK courses – and try it again during this week.

Expertise and guidance

I still have a need to understand expertise, mine and others’. This time I will use a Finnish Dr dissertation of Minna Lakkala: How to design educational settings to promote collaborative inquiry: Pedagogical infrastructures for technologyenhanced progressive inquiry. It is published in  the University of Helsinki.

The study begins: Educational practices should pay special attention to improving the skills necessary for collaboration and knowledge work, in order to address current societal changes. Strategies of scientific, question-driven inquiry are stated to be important cultural practices that should be educated and promoted. – Easy to agree with these thoughts.

The study did not clearly follow any learning-theoretical paradigm, but it can be characterized as falling between socio-cognitive and socio-cultural approaches to learning: Bereiter and Scardamalia in Toronto, Canada. The model of Progressive Inquiry is developed by Kai Hakkarainen and his colleagues, Lakkala is one of them.

Lakkala’s study focused on investigating multiple efforts to implement a research-based pedagogical model of Progressive Inquiry and related Web-based tools, to develop guidelines for educators in promoting students’ collaborative inquiry practices with technology. The Progressive Inquiry model explicates epistemic activities that are generally important in academic and scientific inquiry; i.e., in collaborative activity that aims at improved solving of ill-structured problems, utilization of knowledge sources, and explication and elaboration of ideas, explanations and theories.

The results indicated that appropriate teacher support for students’ collaborative inquiry efforts appears to include interplay between spontaneity and structure. Consideration should be given to content mastery, critical working strategies or essential knowledge practices that the inquiry approach is intended to promote. In particular, those elements in students’ activities should be structured and directed, which are central to the aim of Progressive Inquiry, but which the students do not recognize or demonstrate spontaneously without explicit modeling or promotion, and which are usually not taken into account in existing pedagogical methods or educational conventions. Such elements are, among others:

  • productive co-construction activities;
  • sustained engagement in improving produced ideas and explanations;
  • critical reflection of the adopted inquiry practices, and
  • sophisticated use of modern technology for knowledge work.

The developed Pedagogical Infrastructure Framework enabled recognizing and examining some central features and their interplay in the designs of examined inquiry units. The framework helped to recognize and critically evaluate the invisible learning-cultural conventions in various educational settings and could mediate discussions about how to overcome or change them.

The concept engagement was used to delineate the quality of students’ inquiry activity in order to evaluate the success of the pedagogical intervention: a central aim was that students demonstrate sustained engagement in an active and deepening process of improving ideas and explanations as well as in critical reflection of inquiry practices.

Most of the explicit process guidance in the tutors’ postings concentrated on rather practical issues, such as using information sources or organizing the threads in the discourse forums. The guidance did not draw the students’ attention to higher-order metacognitive inquiry strategies, the promotion of which is one principal idea in the Progressive Inquiry model and should be a central focus in the tutors’ scaffolding efforts.

The analysis of social aspects of the inquiry designs revealed that the threaded discourse areas in the web-based system were experienced as a valuable new possibility to promote collective working practices, and teachers reported how eagerly the students participated in the technology-mediated interaction by reading and commenting on each other’s ideas. The most difficult objective appears to have been to induce the students to enter into “serious” efforts for advancing collective understanding and elaborating common knowledge objects, instead of just discussing or sharing ideas.

Educational settings should include elements that explicitly advance students’ metalevel awareness and understanding of inquiry strategies, which may support their self-regulative action. The analyzed features of the course designs, categorized according to the components of the Pedagogical Infrastructure Framework, were the following:

  • Technical component: Access to technology and technical guidance, and Diversity of tools provided;
  • Social component: Structuring of collaboration, Sharing of the inquiry process, Individual or collective nature of the inquiry outcomes, and Integration of multiple social spaces;
  • Epistemological component: The emphasis on question-driven inquiry, Main source of acquired information, and Concrete knowledge object as an outcome
  • Cognitive component: Modeling of inquiry strategies, Human guidance provided, Scaffolding embedded in tools, and Promotion of meta-reflection.

The aim is to support epistemologically high-level and deepening inquiry activity in which students direct their efforts in elaborating questions, explanations and knowledge products, that the tasks and their achievement criteria are accordingly defined. A requirement for a concrete product (a report, a model or a presentation) as a goal and outcome of the inquiry process appeared to increase and focus students’ inquiry efforts. If there was an explicit assignment to produce a research report, the students were very engaged and productive in writing their contributions. It is important to set explicit high-level epistemological criteria for the quality of the outcome (systematic summing up of inquiry results with theory-based arguments), otherwise the external form of the end product easily starts to dominate as the object of the work, not the improvement of ideas or solving of knowledge problems.

Most students do not spontaneously take responsibility of the advancement of other students’ or the whole community’s inquiry. This is quite understandable because conventional learning culture in schools and universities is strongly shaped by individual accountability and grading. So they hardly ever contributed to the work of others or other teams, if it was not explicitly demanded or built into the task criteria. Thus in progressive inquiry, the common goals of the process across individual students and groups should be explicitly defined, and the practical ways of contributing to the common outcomes should be modeled and explicated; for instance, by directing students to together produce a common summary.

It still is an apparent difficulty to have students openly share the entire process-progression (including original ideas, drafts and intermediate knowledge products) for commenting and co-construction through a Web-based learning environment.

The Progressive Inquiry model aims at simulating expert-like and authentic cultural practices of collaborative inquiry and knowledge creation. One problem is, that students do not necessarily benefit from the guidance style where the teacher demonstrates too advanced expert behavior. In progressive inquiry, it apparently is not enough that the tutor models the high-level, expert-like inquiry practices by demonstrating them in his or her own on-line performance; there should be other ways to scaffold students themselves to recognize and perform intended high-level inquiry practices and cognitively demanding strategies. Teachers and tutors should not do the critical cognitive tasks on behalf of the student.

One finding of the studies is that a typical feature of progressive inquiry practices appears to be that the engagement in open-ended inquiry is experienced as challenging, particularly, at the beginning. Students complained that the level of guidance was insufficient. Teachers were surprised about the feedback because they thought that they had provided clear models and guidelines for the process. These results may relate to the parallel increase in the cognitive challenge of the inquiry task together with the increased authenticity that to give special attention to encouraging students to struggle at the beginning of the process; by helping them realize that the phases of confusion and chaos are elementary characteristics of open-ended inquiry; assuring that it is acceptable and, indeed, probable that inquiry efforts do not always succeed.

Teachers should pay more attention to designing the educational units so that the tasks and other arrangements, especially, stimulate students’ engagement in epistemologically highlevel, deepening inquiry and true collaboration around shared knowledge objects and products. Students’ own metalevel awareness of or intentional efforts for effective collaboration and appropriate inquiry strategies may be more deliberately and explicitly promoted through modeling and self-reflection activities. These conclusions led to define the cognitive or metacognitive support for students’ inquiry engagement as a separate pedagogical design component that requires special attention from the teacher, in addition to technical, social and epistemological components.

Lakkala’s study ended, Heli Nurmi begins to analyse her experiences. I can’t help thinking about our CritLit2010 course which had same ideology than progressive inquiry, and voluntary adult students, but same difficulties as well. Much talking and less serious problematizing, was it so? I remember some comments from Alan and Maria that helped me. I remember deep misunderstandings with Stephen and I am still wondering why. We are experts both but cannot follow each other’s thoughts. Sometimes it goes that way: inquiry efforts do not succeed.

Many discourses about open courses deal with same themas. Educause and many analyses about CCK08 learnings have been interesting to read.  A new course PLENK2010 with these principles will begin next week – we already know mistakes that will happen during next weeks 🙂 .

Where can I find my expertise?

I tried too much in my former post and I could not swallow the excellent doctor dissertation in one piece. It got broken and the order was wrong as Stephen told me in his journal. Actually I don’t know what he meant, but I checked the ‘rule-firing’ concept and it was from 1993 from Anderson and it belonged to information science and artificial intelligence period. Very much has been developed after it and also earlier in cognitive psychology. I mentioned chunks and schemata but I cannot speak shortly about these complex issues. I tried anyway. I told about early years of cognition science and we have Dave Snowden in CritLit to tell about newest findings.

My aim was to follow better who is Me who writes this blog and lives my life. When I participate in web what are my conceptual structures that awake and why I use just them not others. I have a long history of knowledge about  human learning and development and teacher education. Then I became online teacher by doing it, learning in practice. I have so much stuff in my head and it is organized in so complex order and moves dynamically – I cannot follow it totally. It is not possible but is it worth trying? There is childhood before schools and expertise acquisition and work practice and sometimes I can find the little girl inside me. She is still there and she is wondering .

I write this blog in order to find myself and participate in discussions. When I write something I learn something: why I want  to react and how I do it: which concepts, which emotions. My chunks of memories are living and changing. I wanted to say only that there are big problems in discussions with no real mutual understanding via concepts. Expertise means whatever in daily life, it is not always a scientific concept. Is it possible to use strictly defined concepts in this web world?

I listened to Susan Blackmore’s Ted Talk about memes before writing this post. Thanks to Ruth Howard who brought meme discussion into CritLit210. Alan Cooper has been pondering memes too. I have followed discussions about memes as new (?) culture evolution some years, not deeply but lightly, and it seems to be an interesting add to our knowledge. Is meme an opposite of conscious expertise or what is it? Stop thinking and replicate memes, we live in a copy-paste world. Susan Blackmore’s favorite word is must. – Interesting tweets and writings are going on.. thanks to my active friends.

Expertise-in-use

Sometimes I feel that forgetting all I know seems to be expected when participating in Open Online courses. We should believe that learning in web differs so greatly from earlier knowledge and skills acquired that we begin almost  from zero. These question are considered also by Rita in CritLit2010 Course blog. I haven’t stop my wondering.

In this post I try to conceptualize the development of expertise in ill-defined, open questions. My main source is a Doctor Dissertation: Eteläpelto A. The Development of Expertise in Information Systems Design. 1998 Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research 146, University of Jyväskylä. She presented scientific knowledge better than I could. I suppose that the basic concepts are still alive and help me. The main question is not online vs real life, it is the complexity of the domain, learning in changing contexts and trying to solve open and ill-defined demands.

Expertise is analysed as a consequence of domain-spesific experience arising out of practical problem-solving in real  contexts. Practical domain knowledge can be captured via conceptual model construction, thinking aloud, qualitative and quantitative analyses are complementary in the assessment and description of various qualities of expertise. I have done this many times in my blog during connectivism courses 2008 and 2009  and critical literacies course 2010. What can I say today?

I try to capture the critical stages of my transition from psychology and adult education context to the open online studies context. One of the threats may be that I use heavily professionally-centred tools and methods and I tend to adopt these methods all the time even if my studies include better new notions. Another threat is to generalize from technical competence. I have a hunch that connectivism was easily called a learning theory because of developers’ technical perspective.

I have the right to use my expertise, I do not apologize it. But I have to proceed from professional centred to more interactive approaches, from context-free to more individualised solution models, from individual to network. I have to keep in mind whether a situated approach to learning and cognition would offer a more adequate framework for the redefinition of  expertise.

Comparison of experts vs novices in terms of their metacognitive knowledge and awareness showed that experts were superior to novices in

1. domain spesific knowledge structures: experts tended to perceive information systems development from a more comprehensive perspective, adopting more the perspective of overall work organisation. Novices were more restricted in their scope and often failed to integrate end-user issues into their procedural working models. In their first project they had acquired strategic competence in using domain-spesific tools and methods, but were not able to consider users’ constraints comprehensively. 2. spesific components of metacognition, had better interconnections between the knowledge awareness and regulation components.

My CCK08 studies went for acquiring basic skills and strategic orientation, how to work online globally, in CCK09 I was more confident and in CritLit 2010 I tried to construct my way really, it is easier to say than do.

Human development happens in interactions between different  knowledge qualities.  Declarative knowledge encodes factual knowledge and procedural knowledge encodes much of cognitive skills including problem-solving in terms of production rules that are condition-action (if-then) pairs. Declarative knowledge is converted into procedural  through memory systems. Long term memory and permanent memory are activated via semantic network. Temporary memory is network structure that has just been created.

Summary about expertise:

  • experts are faster, make fewer errors than novices in their domain problem solving
  • perceive large meaningful patterns in their own domain and focus on the relevant cues in the task
  • represent their domain problems at a deeper level than novices
  • knowledge is organized in a way that is relevant for problem solving
  • use more time in problem analysing and constructing a detailed mental representation of the problem before they enter into the solution
  • knowledge structures are hierarchically organized and have more depth in their conceptual levels
  • categorize problems in their own domains according to abstract high-level principles and their knowledge structures are more coherent than those of novices
  • have better self monitoring skills than novices
  • high performance professionals spend more time on problem evaluation.

Some experiences are strong enough to be put in long-term memory, some visit only temporary memory. Declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge are connected to each other in very complex ways. Automatic responses may become very complex and hard to follow.

Because of limitations in human processing capacity, complex cognitive skills are learned through the acquisition of large integrated chunks of knowledge. Chunks take the form of larger, more detailed conditions and actions of production rules. Larger conditions provide more precise spesifications of the circumstances under which the action is appropriate. Reduction in the need to access declarative memory allows speedier rule-firing due to increase in the strengths of rules which are needed in each successful application.

I think our knowledge chunks are a problem in open online courses. We speak different languages and cannot always understand each other. A good example is Stephen Downes’ response to my blog post. I cannot follow his thinking – and this was my third course with him.

Now I am again confused, have to stop and publish this. I hope some day I will be wiser …