Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Does a course prevent us from learning material not covered by the course??

Thinking about the PLENK 2010 course, PLEs, general attacks on the idea of a "course" with bounded limits set by an instructor - or by the curriculum at a certain institution.. George Siemens has a great slide of a traditional course that includes a line demarcating "faculty-provided resources bounds domain of knowledge exploration." ( )Does all of that really limit what we can learn? Isn't it possible to take a course that has some bounds and then learn more? Isn't the instructor our first "expert" we're consulting with when we sign up for a course? If I want to learn about PLEs, could I do better on my own than having spent the last few weeks with the PLENK 2010 course? Would PLENK 2010 work if it weren't run by the experts Downes, Siemens, Kop and company?

I'm looking at the article suggested for this week by Fiedler and Valgataga "Modeling the personal adult learner: The concept of PLE re-interpreted." The paper describes a course that started with 41 participants with 35 students completing the course. That's not a horrible drop-out rate, but I'm interested in why some students weren't able to complete the course. Did the students lose interest? Was it too intimidating? Were there personal/family issues that kept some students from completing the course? And I want to know if all the students functioned well... and I'd like to know that with PLENK 2010 as well: Did everyone get an A?

We seem to keep skipping over the confrontation with content. If you need some midwives, don't students need to absorb some content? Can individuals be allowed to be uninterested in some aspects of midwifery? I'm sure it can all be taught in exciting ways - but aren't there some things that need to be learned? PLEs can be a means to transfer learning - but isn't there something in particular that we'd need our students to learn?

Some people teach themselves to be drug dealers. What do we do when "informal learning" and "self-actualization" means joining the nearest drug cartel?

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