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

CCK09 – from knowledge to networks

I have continued my path by reading again Anna Sfard’s and Etienne  Wenger’s writings and I see many important steps forward. Learning by participation and communities of practice have been meaningful concepts for me. It was nice to meet my old thoughts again and reorganize my mind (what does that mean?) The concept ‘brokering’ opened my eyes (my mind?) some years ago. Borderlines are interesting places: for instance I have come from an old-science-university to an university of applied sciences and I am most interested in practical problems, theories are not enough any more. So my place is nowhere in RL and I greatly enjoy to participate this open global course. I need this for prevailing decent motivation in my daily work (thanks to my friend who said this in CCK-Moodle).

It is obvious that we have to proceed from great amount of knowledge to ways for dealing with it, complex situations in complex world. One human being cannot anymore be an expert and it is better or even necessary to build up networks and projects. And so we have done. My attitude to projects is confused, a project means more ‘a joke’ than ‘a good job’. All projects have not worked as they should and there are unrealistic plays which no one believes in (I hope you can follow my simple English).

But I still believe in networks, why? My networks are honest, I build them for myself and they are open. I love the decentralization of networks, it means dynamics and  freedom to act in different ways and think whatever. I agree with the importance of diversity. Diversity is Ok when I can choose my ways, participate or not. I do not like griefers or trolls in internet, they have wrong diversity in their disturbance actions 🙁

Communities of practice (Wenger 1998, Cambridge university) are described as voluntary groups in a work place, people who have same interests. In spite of this, communities of practice seem to  have both good and bad elements in their action. All that is said aloud is not knowledge or true in any way, shared ignorance is not better than one person’s ignorance. I can see the same phenomenom in networks.

My first step in microblogging happened in a case that I followed a conference about research methods and I was very eager to follow what people told, I was in my workplace and could not participate in the conference. But I soon understood that I had waited too much: those who commented by microblogging where newbies and didn’t know much about scientific methods, it was their first time. This opened my eyes that microblogging (and blogging) and networks are as vulnerable as all human interactions are. Trust is needed but it shouldn’t be blind.

CCK09 – my perspective

Something happened in my mind when CCK studies began. I have to reflect myself in order to participate .. I can’t write to colleagues  if I don’t recognize my own perspectives. What am I doing here actually?

I work in teacher education for adults coming from work life. We don’t have fulltime students in classrooms, they are working and they live in different parts of Finland. So we use virtual learning platforms and social media. Our pedagogy has been up-to-date those two decades I have been here. We have been pondering all learning theories all the time and “invented” personal learning plans in the year 1988 and the great impact of networks soon after that. Students are organized (or they organize themselves) to learning circles with peer feedback etc.)

I have developed my online teaching since the year 2002 and I prefer it. I have a blog in Finnish as an online teacher and I take part in Finnish social media community. I participated in CCK08 in order to follow global discussions about connectivism. And I am here again, I cannot stop coming 🙂

This time I try to be more conscious about my perspective: I am asking questions about the “best online pedagogy in the world” and I suppose something like that can be found in CCK09 (the link into Manitoba University is not working any more). My orientation is practical, theories are not enough.  In my previous post is dealt with conceptions about knowledge and epistemic styles. In practice you must have skills to all epistemic styles and the ability to choose and combine them:

So I intend to use 1) theoretical data, knowing via thought, 2) empirical facts, knowing via senses and 3) metaphorical, experiental, phenomenological data = knowing via intuition and insight. The criteria for acceptance as knowledge are in same order:

  1. Is it logical? Is it theoretically sound?
  2. Can it be experimentally proven?
  3. Does it fit to my experience? Does it feel right? Because I am an expert in online pedagogy I can trust my feelings about rightness. (But I had to read that first, I had forgotten it).

I am not studying only connectivism, I am studying all interesting up-to-date theories about learning and networking – and I am not the only one in the course who has this perspective. I added Francess Bell in my blogroll and found the Ning and Diigo groups with this broad perspective. So my next problem is to take time, decide where to participate.

Sun is shining just now, I have to go out, it is not allowed to sit all Sunday with my computer when beautiful autumn is outside.

CCK09 – knowledge in interactive practice

This is my first step in second CCK09-travel. I always try to find my way, not George’s or Stephen’s or others’. I already know some students and I am convinced that I’ll get ideas from them .. so I must have my mind open. But I have to know what there is in my mind that influences me, I cannot be quite open. I have to ask myself about

  • my knowledge building, my habits and ways in constructing my mind
  • my values, do I have any so important that they direct my thinking and feeling
  • what do I already know about human learning and knowledge? What is closed and what is open in my mind?

These are heavy questions, I feel tired at the beginning of the job. Last week I found some good sources that I have studied in 1990’s and I wonder why I have stopped thinking during last years, have I? I believe that basic questions in knowledge acquisition do not change, not all of them, not totally. I read again a Finnish dissertation about “Knowledge in Interactive Practice Disciplines” (A. Sarvimäki, University of Helsinki 1988). I am not interested in all knowledge, only knowledge used in  education or other interpersonal, interactive disciplines (theory-in-practice). Pragmatism is my choice: what is working in practice and why is it effective and so on. Argyris and Schön: Knowledge in Action is in my bookshelf. Knowing in practice is more demanding/difficult that knowing in theory.

Knowledge is divided in “knowing that” = propositional, declarative, language and concepts, models. Knowledge is “knowing how” = procedural, how to do, what are the phases and so on. How about “emergent knowledge”, where does it come, how is it possible? The contextual nature of practical problems … what does it mean? A dynamic aspect is needed:  Skill in reading situations and flexing in interactions…

I am pleased with three epistemic styles: rational, empirical and metaphorical.  When I am rational I conceptualize and think in logical-illogical ways. When I gather empiria, I perceive (and sometimes misperceive). Most interesting is the metaphorical style: that’s why  I have to use pictures, symbols, which are universal or  idiosyncratic. For instance my photo about destabilizing in my previous post, Jenny recognized it at once and Ailsa remembers my images in CCK08. There is silent knowledge (Polanyi) and intuition in expertice.

How in the world we can construct any new theory of human learning? What is a theory actually? If I forget or leave that open how can I define criteria for good practice in my CCK09 studies? Too difficult, I must go out and walk ..