ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Sensemaking via learning analytics?

Posted on: April 25, 2012

George Siemens as expert in the Change MOOC’s week 32:

Change MOOC: Sensemaking and Analytics

Georg intends to connect sensemaking and analytics, defining sensemaking as social process versus analytics as algorithm-driven. He asks us Change MOOC learners how we make sense out of the MOOC and all it’s content distributed via the web in many different sites and environments (wordpress 🙂 twitter, diigo, delicious, pearltree, scoop, facebook, and and and).

It’s interesting that his topic is arranged around “sensemaking” which coincides with my reading, thinking about and writing about Karl E. Weick’s sensemaking, which comprehends (in my own words): identity, percepting and reflecting (looking back), being in reciprocal dependency with my environment, social interaction, reduction of complexity, making of patterns (extracting clues) (see my blog-post about Karl E. Weick’s Sensemaking). In our ZML-Journal Club of this week we continued with Connectivism and during the discussion Weick’s sensemaking emerged quit often (I have to write about our journal club a soon as possible).

We have an intuitive understanding what sensemaking means nevertheless there exist many definitions. F.e. Schwandt sees sensemaking as “swift and hasty as opposed to reflective” (Schwandt 2005: 189) whereas in the approach of Karl E. Weick – as I understand it – reflection is part of the sensemaking process which is ongoing and changing in continuation. “[S]ensemaking is a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections . . . in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively” (Klein et al. 2006: 71). “Sensemaking is about labeling and categorizing to stabilize the streaming of experience” (Weick et al. 2005: 411)

George’s bridge to analytics

George understands learning as a process to make of connections. Online these connections are documented and can be analyzed. By analyzing the connections he hopes / believes

“to understand how they are formed, the nature of exchanges between people, and the impact of those connections.”

…. meaning to make sense out of our acting as MOOC learners?? (what do you think about being analyzed in your learning and sensemaking efforts by people using learning analytics??) I don’t want to say  that I wouldn’t be interested into the results of these learning analytics 😉

Whereas in our ZML Journal Club Natasa criticized that informal learning is missing when learning is defined as the reation of visible connections.

For the topic of analytics see as well George’s slides at Educause Learning initiative.

The quotes are quotes which George extracted in his blog post and in the slides.

Klein, G., Moon, B., and Hoffman, R. R. (2006) ‘Making sense of sensemaking 1: Alternative perspectives.’ IEEE Intelligent Systems 21, (4) 70–73. doi:10.1109/MIS.2006.75

Schwandt, D. R. (2005) ‘When managers become philosophers: Integrating learning with sensemaking.’ Academy of Management Learning & Education [online] 4, (2) 176–192.

Weick, K. E., Sutcliffe, K. M., and Obstfeld, D. (2005) ‘Organizing and the process of sensemaking.’ Organization Science 16, (4) 409-421

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