ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Outcomes are not predictable in complex adaptive systems

Posted on: Oktober 23, 2012

Week 7 in the Openness in Education MOOC starts with

Complex adaptive systems (CAS) are a significant shift in thinking. Instead of seeing the world as a mechanistic structure that produces set outcomes, CAS states that multiple interacting elements respond continually to feedback from each other and the environment. As such, it is difficult to predict outcomes. This limitation suggests that since outcomes are not always knowable, our attention is best served when directed at the elements interacting and the nature of their interactions.

This introductory text reminds me of yesterday’s discussion of the blog post „Why #CFHE12 is not a MOOC!„. Allyn reflects his own learning in the context of MOOCs and asks if the term „course“ should be used for a MOOC. He writes:

Courses are required not only provide the general course information but also information on the objectives (goals), learning outcomes, learning activities, resources and assessment.

… the absence of the framework for learning that is normally associated with a course does [in my experience] negatively impact learning.

In the following comment I agree with Allyn that our understanding of „courses“ is different from what is happening in MOOCs. And I ask if we should rethink „learning outcomes“ as well.

So what? If we – as teachers – cannot define learning outcomes anymore, what is our role in the learning process? In the context of emergent learning students and lifelong learners learn the unexpected, in connectivism they choose their own learning path AND now in complex adaptive systems the outcome is open.

I’m very curios how these trends will further develop. I like it because I believe in self-responsibility of learners.

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2 Antworten to "Outcomes are not predictable in complex adaptive systems"

I think learning in MOOC requires very motivated and responsible learners.
Recently tweeted by S. Wheeler from the key note at #ride2012 D. Laurillard believes MOOCs are fine for students who have learnt how to learn, but not for others.

CAS is not the only kind of learning with unexpected outcomes. When a teacher expects a learning outcome, or a learning goal, the test of the teacher will be if that outcome is present after the learning. The teacher does not test unexpected outcomes. And unexpected learning outcomes were no exceptions, but nobody cared.

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