Museums connecting to e-Learning 2.0

October 17, 2006 § Leave a comment

The following paragraph is from the introduction of the very recent (16th October 2006)paper Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge by Steven Downes. It provides a view of how the Museum and the Museum visitor connect to create the conversation network sociable technologies enable.

The purpose of this paper is to outline some of the thinking behind new e-learning technology, including e-portfolios and personal learning environments. Part of this thinking is centered around the theory of connectivism, which asserts that knowledge – and therefore the learning of knowledge – is distributive, that is, not located in any given place (and therefore not ‘transferred’ or ‘transacted’ per se) but rather consists of the network of connections formed from experience and interactions with a knowing community. And another part of this thinking is centered around the new, and the newly empowered, learner, the member of the net generation, who is thinking and interacting in new ways. These trends combine to form what is sometimes called ‘e-learning 2.0’ – an approach to learning that is based on conversation and interaction, on sharing, creation and participation, on learning not as a separate activity, but rather, as embedded in meaningful activities…

Later in the same paper he outlines in point form George Siemans Connectivism thesis:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.

  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.

  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known

  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.

  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.

  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.

  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision. (Downes, 2006)

When I read this I visualised the Museum as a huge knowledge planet that attracts smaller planets like the Museum visitor into it’s orbit which it then nourishes and is in turn nourished by.  The key is to not only find ways in which to open up the Museum’s knowledge resources online but for the Museum to find ways of sending it’s knowledge out to us the visitor. The Brooklyn Museum is trying to do exactly this by having a presence on MySpace and Flickr….I’ll have to search out other examples.

Reference:
Downes, S. (October, 2006) Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge. http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=36031 Accessed 12th October 2006

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