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Social Learning and Communities of Practice- in search of a definition Gordon Lewis Bilgi University Istanbul, Turkey May 12, 2012
Statistics, statistics, statistics • In talking about technology – advocates love to throw around big numbers • People love to talk about exponential change All true, but…. • Has this data been parsed for education? • Is social behavior immediately transferable to education context?
Technology Turmoil • Too many tools take our eyes off the real issues • Instructional design • integration
Education and Everyday Life Students are not an audience anymore Nor are teachers in their professional development
A few things we do know…. • Change has changed • Frequency of interaction • Diversity of context • Communication is driving change • Departure from Permanence • Dynamic self-organization • Creative destruction • Transmission model is in decline • Student will get more of what they want and less of what someone else believes they need
The 21 century is technology-driven and technology is changing the face of literacy • Digital (computer) literacy • Information literacy • Multi-media literacy • F2f interaction will retain it’s unique role and must be seen as a fundamental part of any community • However, in the case of instruction, the teacher must be really, really good , motivating, and inspiring to attract students to the classroom when so much content is available online.
Think about it- Why are you here? From: Headrush.typepad.com
What are you building? • Social portal? • Social add-on to an LMS? • A social community? • A learning community? • A community of practice? The most significant barrier or challenge to adopting social media and collaborative tools in education has been identified as a lack of strategy
Social Community • Communities are united around a common sense of purpose and desire to learn with and from one another • It is an instructional design issue, not a technology issue • Communities aren’t a sum of personal pages. A friend of a friend is not really my friend.
CoP versus social network Social Networks connect individuals Focus on “personal” (PLS, PLN) CoP’s create knowledge for mission Focus on conversations
Learning Community Structure Domain Learningpartnership Community Practice
Key Social Design Questions • Why do we exist? • What do students/teachers want from community? • What are the roles and responsibilities? • What does daily life look like? Weekly, Monthly? • Access and convenience (integrated/firewalls)
Expectations: 1-10-90 • 1% will create content • 10% will communicate around it • 90% will view or download it This is normal. Compare- • Youtube videos uploaded daily: 200.000 • Youtube videos watched daily: 100.000.000
Community Roles SponsorFacilitator /MentorArchivist/LibrarianTechnicianCore Team Subject Matter Experts Participants
Orchestrated Spontaneity • The Invisible Hand • the crucial role of the facilitator • Calendaring (balancing activities- flow) • Linking online with f2f activities • This event!
COMMUNITY ACCULTURATION • Moments in the life of a community member • Back channel communication
Exchanges • Productive inquiries • Building shared understanding • Producing assets • Creating standards • Formal access to knowledge • Visits Outsidesources Pointers to resources News Informal Information 1 Learning activities Hot topicdiscussions Stories Broadcast inquiry Polls Exploringideas Debates Tips 3 Case clinics Document sharing Readinggroup 2 Jointevents Documentingpractice Project/after-actionreviews With From Eachother Guests Jointresponse Peerassist Collections a great variety Visits 7 4 Field trips Problem solving Learningprojects Role play Boundarycollaboration Formalpracticetransfer Practice fairs Q&A 6 Mutual benchmark Casestudies 5 Models of practice Helpdesk Trainingand workshops Warranting Formal External benchmark Invited speaker Systematic scan From: Etienne Wenger
Success Factors in Peer-Peer Learning From: IBM
Measuring success • Three key questions for members: • Did they like it? • Did they learn • Are they applying their learning?
Measuring success (2) • Quality of Communication • Meaningful interactions- quality of exchanges • Timely and meaningful feedback • Informal learning (learning from each other) • Liveliness, diversity of traffic • Contribution patterns- who is contributing? • Sustainability • Brinkerhoff: Success Case Methodology • Identify goals • Measure data to identify successful/unsuccessful members • Conduct interviews- collect stories- identify performance factors • Share knowledge
Final Words • Forget about things like PLE’s to start • Focus on conversations • Knowledge lies in the conversations • Harvest these conversations to create “community memory”