Week 8 Learning Formal and Informal

How do experts/expertise look like in the Web 2.0 definition of “knowledge as collective agreement about a description that may combine facts with other dimensions of human experience, such as opinions, values, and spiritual beliefs”?

I think the collective brains in Web 2.0 knowledge definition are people with some knowledge or special skill in a particular field, but who may not have yet achieved a certain rank or authority in that topic. The expertise is developed through peer-review of the published content. I agree with Dede that the validation of expertise may draw on the “education, experience, rhetorical fluency, reputation, or perceived spiritual authority in articulating beliefs, values, and precepts” of the contributors. Additionally, the accuracy of the collective voice would be validated by references to prior or existing research.

Dede rightly suggest that “the contrasts between Classical knowledge and Web 2.0 knowledge are continua rather than dichotomies”  because I think that ongoing research usually serves to ratify past research and are conducted by groups of people who collectively negotiate knowledge base on research findings.

Formal education with better assessment methods, I believe will continue to serve its purpose in preparing people for the workforce, until there is an acceptable way to assess/confirm knowledge gained  through informal education. There are different types and levels of work that education prepares people for. In manpower planning for a (small) country, there has to be a projection of needs, e.g. number of engineers and engineering technicians, doctors and nurses, etc. National curriculum is planned to support that manpower planning. Within K-12 levels, students are streamed according to their aptitude and academic capability. This does not mean that a student who is directed to a vocational curriculum at grade 10 cannot continue learning to post-graduate level. It is possible and it has happened, depending on the motivation of the learner. Conversely, it is possible that some academically strong students may be incompetent in real work situation. Would curriculum redesign help rectify the shortfall? Example, incorporate more problem based learning projects and making it part of the summative assessment?

The connectivist approach to learning is interesting, a good one for self directed learners and those seeking that learning path. With regards to the MOOC phenomenon, we should know that there are two types: xMOOC and cMOOC. In Coursera, Pedagogy, And The Two Faces Of MOOCs, the blogger shows how the Coursera pedagogy for xMOOC is still an instructivist approach, i.e. a classic “sage on the stage” approach but which is one-to-very-many. According to the author,  cMOOC is based on the connectivism-inspired approach, and focus on knowledge creation and generation whereas xMOOCs focus on knowledge duplication.

It is difficult to imagine what education and assessment will look like in the next 10-20 years but we can be sure that key assessment groups (e.g. Cambridge) are looking at how people are learning with Web 2.0 and mobile technologies.

3 thoughts on “Week 8 Learning Formal and Informal

  1. Rachel H Tan Post author

    Dear Courtney,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I still do not have a good sense of who the ‘experts’ are in the collective voice of Web 2.0 knowledge – someone with more knowledge than the average population? grad students and professionals?

    This contribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructional_design) was created 25 September 2002‎ by DennisDaniels (I think) and edits are on-going with this note:

    “This article contains embedded lists that may be poorly defined, unverified or indiscriminate. Please help to clean it up to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. Where appropriate, incorporate items into the main body of the article. (December 2010)”

    The accuracy of published content on instructional design is not as critical as something like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer

    The nature of Web 2.0 knowledge will cause discerning consumers to verify content as needed and ultimately when used in formal education, they will need to make reference to the work of experts as defined in the classical view.

  2. cnb135

    It’s difficult to validate “collective voice.” But wouldn’t validating simply be in the experts that are contributing and the fact that many (hundreds, maybe even thousands…) are agreeing with the information. Many may agree but how versed are those individuals on the subject matter.

    I also like that you addressed assessment methods here. Maybe it’s not how we are teaching students but rather how we are figuring out if they have truly gain the knowledge. More creative projects, more simulations and real-life situations… this will tell us what our students know and how likely they are to do in the 21st century world.

  3. Eunsung Amii

    As you explained and a part of trends for education, connectivism and MOOCs always coexist. I would like to add more detail about cMOOCs. cMOOCs is based on Connectivism and Connective Knowldege, which are developed by Geroge Siemens. In his theory, students learned using digital platform such as blogs, wikis, social media platforms to make connections with content, learning communities and other learners to create and construct knowledge. In a cMOOC environment the participants in the course act as both teachers and students, sharing information and engaging in a joint teaching and learning experience through intense interaction facilitated by technology. cMOOCs are not typically sponsored or funded by higher education institutions but are organized by individuals with a passion for a specific content area. cMOOCs are also open and flexible, responsive to needs of its participants which can provide a tailored learning experience. ( However, as you pointed out in you post, xMOOCs is offered on university-based platforms and are modeled on traditional course materials such as lectures and quiz assessments (professor-centric massive courses). Especially, xMOOCs contents are mostly prerecorded video lectures and posted on the course Web site. Usually learners who are looking for academic degrees take xMOOCs. Some courses offered through xMOOC providers also offer college credit, which may have a fee associated with it but still optional.)

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