I’m sharing an a-HA moment experienced during my recent Encounter Art Facilitator studies. – Co-creative learning indeed produces more than the sum of each learner’s individual input. The extra we see does not appear from nothing though. When we learn and work together collaboratively and connected it’s a privilege to perform more than what we would when learning or teaching alone. The other side of the coin is that we are also forced to do more. The whole does not progress without each and every participant performing some extra work – at times this means not only some extra learning efforts, but big learning efforts. This extra required of us does not happen without dedicated time, space, support, care… That’s why during a MOOC – or actually during any co-creative learning setting – the personal learning process plays an extremely important role. The personal process can be separated and very different from what we share collectively. Successful personal processes of each individual learner are prerequisites to the whole we expect to achieve. This is how I currently perceive the personal process – these eight elements belong to a learning day of a MOOCer:
The dialogue of learning processes is one issue I’d like to reflect more during this MOOC. Have you got similar experiences? Or totally different? Why might that be?
I’m very much looking forward to proceeding to the first #moodleMOOC week!
I just changed the name of my blog to: On the fourth Identity. This post is my first rough plan for explaining what I’m aiming to develop around this topic and why I chose to make the #change11 MOOC my main utility and vehicle for the next 36 weeks. There are three main points. As the first I’ll mention the first Aboagora symposium held in Turku, Finland a month ago. The theme was: Rethinking enlightenment. Putting the concluding message of the first Aboagora in brief – we must teach our children that we’ve made the world a place in which no-one can predict what kind of impact the development of all the technology next will have on us. We must learn to adapt. We must learn to do it together. Refraction instead of reflection and re-inventing are key words.
As the second point I pick up this blog post by George Siemens explaining the #change11 process: “The final image, however, is one that will be formed by all of our contributions!”. So it will be all about re-inventing – not getting stuck with endless reflection, but utilizing the refractions brought by the diversity of interests and being open to changing the direction along the way and not setting too fixed targets at any phase of this MOOC.
“Believe that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Believe that you might be that light for someone else.”
– Kobi Yamada – photo: cc Irmeli Aro’s flickr 2011/365/255
The third and my most personal reason goes back to an afternoon class in February 2004. I had started to work for a R&D European Union Socrates programme Minerva project on inter-cultural education. The first task was to participate & learn to tutor the pilot courses belonging to the project. The main knowledge architect of the project Venla Varis explained that in order to become an inter- and socio-culturally competent educator, manager, learner and knowledge worker we must learn a second, third and even a fourth identity. – The project ended in 2005. No next project followed. There’s been a small group of us enthusiasts who have kept the idea of the next identities as a back light of all our learning & development ever since. Now I feel I’m ready for both myself learning the fourth identity and collaboratively collecting the learning process from the first identity to the fourth as a transformative learning path – to be tested as a model for e.g. learning & coaching organizational dialogue as the following step. The following conference paper by Venla Varis presented in Prague in 2005 (the International Conference New Perspectives in Cognitive and Inter-cultural Learning: from Preschool Education to Information Society) explains the outcomes of the mentioned EU project: Sociocultural competence and its evaluation. I’m going to both summarize and expand the theme throughout this MOOC.
How I’ve personally experienced the identities I-III so far
By yesterday, exactly ten years ago, I had used almost fifteen years of my young adulthood for expanding my career within airline ground handling subcontracting services. I was a member of a global innovation project group. We aimed at re-inventing the branch. The growth expectations were exceptional compared to many other businesses. An intriguing future was just around the corner. Today, exactly ten years ago, we were reading of the devastating effect the New York bomb attacks would have to our business. Very soon the UN International Labor Organization estimated that almost a million jobs were lost overnight within the airline and travel business and related services. And that was only a beginning of the snowball effect which followed. All innovation projects were canceled. The recession was a kick-off for focusing on cutting costs only. For us who – despite our still relatively young age – considered ourselves to be old professionals within the business in concern, the further career doors were closed for ever.
Observing the case now – it had never ever occurred to us that our competences were extremely bound into a very narrow context. We considered ourselves to be able to form and conduct multicultural teams and to innovate and re-invent. We were totally blind to the fact that our skills were limited to performing inside thick walls of the existing old silo only. In brief – in the end of the day, there was always someone more experienced to say something like …good ideas you have, but that kind of ideas have never worked before – so let’s not touch the corner stones of our activities. – When we became redundant, we had no preparedness to re-invent anything outside the safe walls of the closed old silo. Neither had it ever occurred to us that a major part of the core network of (professional) friends would get unemployed simultaneously. All of a sudden we were not able to offer any kind of professional help or safety network to each other.
Acquiring the second identity
For acquiring the next identity (which process I of course at that time could not name or understand like that) I started to study forestry economy. The above mentioned EU project was one side path of my studies. The main outcome of the project and its courses for me personally was a completely new way to interpret personality tests. I had taken several of them during my earlier career – and always the results had been explained more or less in a way that emphasized a point view according to which we were supposed to remain the way we were. What can be done is to transfer people into different job positions. There was always a dose of fear in the air when hearing the test results. – What if I’m not a suitable personality for my current job position… We completed the DiSC test during the EU project. For the first time ever I got the result explained in a way that the test points out two personality types you kind of know because of how you were born, raced and later on socialized into at school, during studies, at job organizations etc. How you should utilize the result is that you should planned and consciously begin to practice the two personality types you cannot utilize e.g. in multi-cultural contexts yet. I’ll go deeper into how the process proceeded later on. As a brief conclusion I can say that because of starting to practice the Steadiness and Influence pillars of DiSC – I’m writing this post here today. The “S” and “I” can also be thought to stand for “social” and “innovative” – skills we did not get any real chances to practice inside the old working silo with the thick walls.
photo cc Irmeli Aro’s flickr @dailyshoot #ds609
Observations of the process of learning the third identity
Acquiring the third identity began when I participated my first MOOC: Connectivism and Connective Knowledge #cck08. When looking back today – I realize that no matter how crucial I still keep the phase of learning the second identity for my whole life – I actually during that time learned two new silos inside which I acted from. The new silo #1 was the forestry economy. During the years we completed the B.Sc. a significant amount of Finnish forestry and pulp industry moved into areas where the near future core markets are: Brazil, China, Russia… The process still continues. The old plants are closed one after another. – Again – no matter if we are old professionals or newly graduated – we have no readiness to re-invent, when the old safe silo with the old safe procedures does not exist any more. My new silo #2 was e-learning. Through the before mentioned EU project inter-cultural education became my minor subject and I completed my bachelors thesis on transformative web learning of adult students. I also completed web teacher studies. But, but… the core ideas I had adopted were that it’s up to the teacher or tutor to create an authentic learning environment, collect clear instructions, be a lot present throughout the course and always correct, aid and/or decide how to proceed if any problems occur within the e-course work. But hey… that sounds like the teacher builds a safe silo with thick walls for the duration of the course… It may work well for a learner who has her or his old work silo where to return and utilize all the learned. – Again I was in a situation in which I had no readiness to re-invent outside an old learning silo with the thick old walls. Sigh.
MOOC is about sharing your local contextualizing process globally
Many pieces of the identity reconstruction puzzle fell into there places on last Friday when an entrepreneurial meet-up 71. #bisnestreffit (in Finnjsh) coordinated by TIEKE (Finnish Information Society Development Centre) was organized in Helsinki with strong social media presence. The topic was open public data. Among the conclusions were at first, that even though our new government supports the process, a clear political leadership and will is missing, and second that a big reason why organizations in key positions to take the remarkable steps forward don’t do it – is that people throughout the organizations are stuck with 2D A4 paper sheet kind of imagination. Yes!
Finnish entrepreneurial coach and author Mari Aulanko has taught that if we try to improve our (working) life by changing the context (like moving the location, organization…) our worries, troubles and sorrows follow and move behind us. This is what happens if and when we see a MOOC to be our next or new context for learning. The focus is not in the center of the MOOC itself. Our focus must be in re-inventing our closest contexts and sharing the process with other MOOCers and learning and daring more by utilizing each others’ experiences.
And next into discovering the first refractions of this MOOC
My whole post has been about good old old-fashioned reflection. What I’ll do next is start to find out what you other participants are aiming at. I don’t intend to make too fixed goals for learning & development in the beginning of the MOOC – but I’ll anyway draw some outline for the discoveries I’d like to have made by the end of next May. Some of my current key issues are:
- utilizing blogging, concept mapping etc. during this MOOC to draft a publication on “The Fourth Identity” (together with Venla Varis) – I don’t want to decide the exact format yet
- utilize an unconferencing process called #SomeTime2012 for organizing a series of workshops bound to this MOOC in Finland during the next spring
- based on the above, decide the final perspective for my master’s thesis on new knowledge management
- bind the above process with the unprocesses of opening the public data in Finland <= find some (un)organizations willing to test & develop the MOOC & identity reconstruction processes & procedures
Now I’m very curious how all your inputs will shape and refine my list by the end of this week!
It’s the beginning of the week 4 of 8 of #edfutures course. I’m almost ready to become fully visible. I’ve been lucky to participate to #cck08 and and some other MOOC:s (massive open online course) after that. Based on the experiences gained, I try to turn my learning curve the other way around this time. During the previous MOOC:s I’ve been either active or very active in the beginning of the course. The beginning of an e-learning course traditionally means presenting oneself and getting the discussions going. When a MOOC is in concern, it means a million messages in discussion forums. And then another million. Because the majority of us participants still thinks according to the way the courses used to be, we try to say everything of everything immediately. A third million of messages.
When I started last year’s first version of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Course, I faced two very confusing things. The first one culminates in this slide #5 belonging to a presentation created by George Siemens: “Helsinki Seminar”.
Picture: Slide #5 by George Siemens: “Helsinki Seminar”
It was very difficult to begin to perceive that organization scheme 2.0 looks like the August flower in the following picture.
Picture: Irmeli Aro’s Flickr
…That one of the nodes is me. That knowledge emerges in the network: The new knowledge already exists somewhere there in the background, invisible, tacit, even hidden …waiting for becoming discovered, made visible, usable, combined in a new way, growing into innovations and sustainable solutions. Helping your organization to learn to collaborate, create, gradually reduce stress and boost well-being. That this is the way the world 2.0 around us already looks like. That the networked era already has began. That “the node-thinking” is a way, means and tool not only to manage and cope but to transform your learning and distribute this attitude – beginning from your closest surroundings and the effect gradually growing into new dimensions.
The second confusing thing was the overwhelming amount of social media tools I should learn to take into daily use. That was as unfamiliar for me as the above described “node thinking”.
Ton’s Interdependent Thoughts offered a huge help for my connective learning – in an intuitive level. Prior to the beginning of CCK08 Ton had included in response to my post to CCK08 Google Group – something I today would say is:
“Ten Rules of becoming a Social Mediator”
-I needed to learn to make sure there is enough diversity, dissent, breadth and depth in my social network for it to work as an information filter.
-I needed to learn how to avoid echo-chambers.
-I needed to learn that context is often the most important information.
-I needed to learn to measure my actions in a meaningful way, the stuff that I did do, not the stuff I could have done.
-I needed to learn to switch faster between contexts. And at the same time create enough space of focus to do stuff, not just switch all the time (like people checking their e-mail 60 times an hour).
-I needed to embrace uncertainty, and see linear problem solving as something that has its own niche of application (Like Newtonian physics has its own niche, compared to relativity theory.)
-I needed to learn complexity theory.
-I needed to learn to focus on big pictures (patterns) and minor details (my personal single actions) at the same time.
-I needed to learn to be connected and empathic on a global scale, and be deeply rooted in my local community at the same time
-I needed to learn to formulate my core values, strong beliefs, deep wishes and dreams, as a basis for choosing actions in the moment.
From learning by doing to doing by learning – from intuition to innovation
CCK08 networked learning boosted my learning by doing. Encouraged by the example and peer support of my growing network I added a small element to my 2.0 tool box every day. I understand and recognize now that it was the only way to find, create and recreate my own learning space – my path within the nodes toward the new emerging networked way of thinking and working. Even though it at times felt very stressful. Instead of learning stricktly as instructed – choosing which kind of knowledge, information and competence to produce and share by oneself.
In a year’s time of active sharing and deepening my network, concrete changes started to happen. I’ve been involved in development process of Holistic Cultural Competence Assessment (HCCA) Learning Model since the corresponding EU Socrates/Minerva Project ended in 2005. The Learning Model looks as follows in a pre-2.0 phase:
HCCA Learning Model in pre-2.0 phase (Picture: Irmeli Aro’s Flickr)
Finding partners for furter developing the HCCA Model has been very difficult in Finland. I’m currently translating the HCCA Model in Finnish and to reflect my working process I started a blog in Finnish a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise I’ve already got remarkable contacts expressing there interest in HCCA Model. This is due my blog posts circulating withing several social networks – reaching people I’m not aware of and I never would have reached without social media tools.
My learning by doing phase is now transforming into doing by learning phase. I’m in transition. My home country is in transition. These phases resonate. This is what I meant by the chain I mentioned in my video: Learning initiave by Canadian teachers –> knowledge and competence emerging in an active global learning network –> boosts innovation in Finland.
My biggest goal for #cck09 and #eci831 is to learn more of how to encourage people to dare to try social media tools, to learn to let one’s imagination fly. With my photo of the day 2009/258 I wish us all blue skies and innovative surprises for the beginning fall – and spring for the classmates down under :)
Phot0: Irmeli Aro’s Flickr