Wednesday, May 06, 2009

LaaN Revisited

In my opinion, douple-loop learning and connectivism complement and enhance each other. Connectivism focuses on making connections (at external, conceptual, and neural levels) and seeing patterns. Connectivism, however, misses some of the douple-loop learning concepts which are crucial for learning, such as learning from failures, error detection and correction, inquiry, challenging and eventually changing our theories-in-use to meet the requirements of the new environment.

On the other hand, double-loop learning aims at detecting and correcting errors by changing the values, strategies, and assumptions of the theory-in-use according to the new setting. Double-loop learning, however, does not recognize the power of connections/networks that help us operate in dynamic and uncertain environments, characterized by knowledge overload and fast-paced change.

The Learning as a Network (LaaN) perspective draws together some of the concepts behind double-loop learning and connectivism. It starts from the learner and views learning as the continuous creation of a personal knowledge network (PKN). For each learner, a PKN is a unique adaptive repertoire of:
- One's theories-in-use. This includes norms for individual performance, strategies for achieving values, and assumptions that bind strategies and values together (conceptual/internal level)
- Tacit and explicit knowledge nodes (i.e. people and information) (external level)

The role of learning institutions would then be to help us build our PKNs, by providing an emergent environment, in which we can make connections, see patterns, reflect, (self)-criticize, detect/correct errors, inquire, test, challenge and eventually change our theories-in-use.

I believe CCK08 was a great example of such an environment. Each participant entered the course with his/her initial PKN, including individual theories-in-use, i.e. a personal string of norms, values, strategies, and assumptions, as well as a base set of external knowledge nodes. In my case, my theories-in-use included norms (understand what connectivism is), values (build my private image of connectivism), strategies (active participation by following and contributing to the distributed discussion), and assumptions (Building my private image of connectivism depends on the continual contribution to the discussion). My initial set of external  knowledge nodes involved selected people and a collection of reflections in form of articles and blogposts, that, prior to CCK08, helped me build a first private image of the connectivism perspective, which I tried to share here.

CCK08 then provided an open environment that fostered reflection, critique, trial-and-error, inquiry, and helped participants find their niches to make connections, compare and adjust their private images of connectivism. The result of CCK08 was a restructuring of one's PKN, that is, a reframing of one's theories-in-use (conceptual/internal level) and an extension of one's external network with new knowledge nodes (external level).


Anonymous said...

Good post and very helpful diagram. I am wondering whether there is also some aspect of negotiating meaning within your CoP, PKN etc. where your double-loop learning potentially impacts on others - eg, is expansive - so contributing to a wider organisational learning/ dynamic capabilities? Thanks again

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Amine Chatti said...

Thanks Peter for your valuable comment.
Actually, double-loop learning is a core concept in organizational learning. Organizational learning occurs when individuals within an organization experience a problem (error detection) and work on solving this problem (error correction). Error correction happens through a continuous process of organizational inquiry, where everyone in the organizational environment can inquire, test, and adjust his or her theory-in-use, which is a private image of the organizational theory-in-use. Effective organizational inquiry then leads to a reframing of one's theory-in-use, thereby changing the organizational theory-in-use.