Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tango as a Learning Metaphor

Image from No,Pip,No!!

Via Stephen Downes today comes this link to Darren Kuropatwa's blog based learning environment on - learning ecologies! "Orchestrating a Learning Ecology (or Learning the Tango)". Click on the video right away, even if you are only listening. This sets the tone and, for me, enhances (changes?) the experience of reading through Kuropatwa's writings.

The concept is simple:there are only three steps in the Tango, yet a myriad of combinations. Same in creating a learning ecology. The components, writes Kuropatwa, include:

* Informal, not structured. The system should not define the learning and discussion that happens. The system should be flexible enough to allow participants to create according to their needs.

* Tool-rich - many opportunities for users to dialogue and connect.

* Consistency and time. New communities, projects and ideas start with much hype and promotion...and then slowly fade. To create a knowledge sharing ecology, participants need to see a consistently evolving environment.

* Trust. High, social contact (face to face or online) is needed to foster a sense of trust and comfort. Secure and safe environments are critical for trust to develop.

* Simplicity. Other characteristics need to be balanced with the need for simplicity. Great ideas fail because of complexity. Simple, social approaches work most effectively. The selection of tools and the creation of the community structure should reflect this need for simplicity.

* Decentralized, fostered, compared to centralized, managed, and isolated.

* High tolerance for experimentation and failure
To that last one, I'd add high tolerance for ambiguity and diversity. Thinking about the recent conversations on blogging across all sorts of cultural borders, that becomes crucial.

In thinking about Kuropatwa's elements and community indicators, I find a lot of overlap. Interesting.


Blogger Nancy White said...

Correction: I did not discern that the quote was actually Mr. Kuropatwa quoting George Siemens here:

9:09 PM  

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