Pedagogical Foundations For Personal Learning


Published on

In this talk I outline the differences between learning using a personal learning environment and learning in an LMS. I argue that a PLE does what an LMS cannot do - it is designed to stimulate learning through an immersion into a community, as opposed to learning via presentation of facts. Pedagogy thus becomes the facilitation of skills for participation in such communities, which I tie to my critical literacy framework. Slides and audio at

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Thanks, I used this to see how we can better improve for use as a PLE. We have been motivated by this 7th grader who is using her PLE in the class:

    Team Symbaloo
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Stephen, thank you very much for this presentation on PLE.
    It is very didactic.
    María Fernanda
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Great presentation.

    zunita |
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Good presentation, Mr Downes, friend. I wonder, with your permission, may I advise about some terms that need to change. ’Pedagogy’ is a word that means teaching children. If you want to teach adults the word is Androgogy. If you want to teach online adults, then the word is Cybergogy. Just trying to help us be clear. Daniel C. Elliott, Ed.D. Professor, Curriculum Specialist,
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Pedagogical Foundations For Personal Learning

  1. 1. Pedagogical  Founda.ons  for  Personal   Learning   Stephen  Downes   January  10,  2010  
  2. 2. VLE  vs  PLE   We  are  in  a  process  of  from:   •  Virtual  Learning  Environment  (a.k.a.  Learning   Management  System  (LMS))   To:   •  Personal  Learning  Environment  (PLE)    This  is  not  only  a  shiK  in  technology,  but  also  a   shiK  in  how  we  view  learning  itself.  
  3. 3. The  VLE  –  Managing  Learning   Image:  The  central  purpose  of  the  VLE  is  to  manage   learning  (whatever  that  means)  
  4. 4. The  PLE  –  Manage  Connec.ons   Image: Via:
  5. 5. Two  Kinds  of  Knowledge   Knowledge  in  the  VLE  (Typically):   –  Sta.c   –   –  Authority-­‐based   Knowledge  in  the  PLE  (Typically):   –  Dynamic   –  Tacit  /  Non-­‐   –  Constructed  
  6. 6. PLE  (From  a  Knowledge   •  The  PLE  is  an  environment  for  a  person  to   manage  connec(ons  (whatever  that  means)   •  Knowledge  (conceived  as  dynamic,  tacit,   grown  or  constructed)  consists  of  a  set  of   connec.ons.   Thus   •  The  PLE  is  an  environment  for  a  person  to   manage  knowledge  (whatever  that  means)  
  7. 7. PLE  as  Knowledge  Management   Image:
  8. 8. gRSShopper   •  A  tool  for  managing  connec.ons   •  Used  in  Connec.vism  course  
  9. 9. PLEs  in  a  Network   PLEs  are  envisioned  as  working  as  a  network  
  10. 10. Social  Networks   Image: Image:
  11. 11. Social  Learning   •  The  next  step  in  such  a  discussion  is  usually  to   describe  a  theory  of  social  learning,   learning  as  an  external  process  (or  set  of   processes)  
  12. 12. Some  Forms  of  Social  Learning   •  Behaviourism  /  Instruc.vism   •  Interac.on  &  Interac.on  Theory  (Moore)   •  Social  Construc.vism  (Vygotsky)   •  Problem-­‐Based  Learning  (Johnasson)   Image:
  13. 13. Aspects  of  Social  Learning   •  Externally-­‐Based  Defini.ons   –  Learning  objec.ves,  Body  of  Knowledge   •  Externally-­‐Based  Processes   –  Learning,  Processes  and  conversa.ons   –  Interac.on  and  communica.on   •  External  Systems   –  Classes,  networks,  groups,  collabora.on   •  External  Evalua.on  
  14. 14. Personal  vs  Social     Social  knowledge  is  not  personal  knowledge   •  Personal  Knowledge  management  =  Learning   •  Social  Knowledge  Management  =  Research    The  product  of  the  educa.onal  system  is  not  a   social  outcome  (knowledge,  skill,  problem,   community)  but  a  personal  outcome  
  15. 15. Personal  Knowledge   We are using one of these To create one of these  Personal  knowledge  consists  of  neural   connec.ons,  not  social  connec.ons  
  16. 16. Learning  Outcomes   Simple  vs  complex  –  text  vs  network   “Paris is the capital of France” vs
  17. 17. Learning  Outcomes  (2)   It’s  the  difference  between:   •  ‘Knowing’  that  ‘Paris  is  the  capital  of  France’   or  even  some  sort  of  ‘knowing  how’  (these  are   external  defini.ons  of  this  knowledge)  and   •  What  it  feels  like  to  have  geographical   knowledge;  what  it  feels  like  to  be  a  speaker  of   a  language   Learning a discipline is a total state and not a collection of specific states
  18. 18. Learning  Outcomes  (3)   •  Learning  a  discipline  is  a  total  state  and  not  a   collec.on  of  specific  states   •  It  is  obtained  through  immersion  in  an   environment  rather  than  acquisi.on  of   par.cular   •  It  is  expressed  func.onally  (can  you  perform   ‘as  a  geographer’?)  rather  than  cogni.vely   (can  you  state  ‘geography  facts’  or  do   ‘geography  tasks’?)  
  19. 19. Learning  Outcomes  (4)   We recognize this By perfomance in this  There  are  not  specific  bits  of  knowledge  or   competencies,  but  rather,  personal   (more on this later)
  20. 20. Shared  Understandings   •  Interac.vity  vs  commonality   •  Communica.on  is  not  this:   This is not biologically or physically possible! Image: Image:
  21. 21. Communica.on   •  Communica.on  is  more  like  this:   Context Syntax Semantics Context Semantics
  22. 22. Coopera.on  vs  Collabora.on   •  Groups  vs  Networks   •  Collabora.on  assumes  (the  fic.on)  that  we   share  goals,  objec.ves,  methods,  etc.   •  But  these  are  seman(c,  and  hence   irreducibly  individual  and  complex   •  Coopera.on  assumes  only  the  interac.on  at   the  point  of  interac.vity  –  a  syntax  of  words,   objects,  ar.facts,  but  personal  goals,   objec.ves,  methods,  etc  
  23. 23. Social  Construc.on   •  Social  construc.on  is  at  best  the   crea.on  of  social  ar.facts  (such  as  naming   conven.ons)   •  It  can  be:   –  Process  driven   –  Results  oriented   –  Consensus-­‐based   –   –  Mechanical  
  24. 24. Personal  Knowledge   •  Is  not  ‘constructed’   •  You  do  not  ‘make  meaning’  for  yourself   •  It  is  a  maher  of  organic  growth   This is important because it means that developing personal knowledge is more like exercising than like inputting, absorbing or remembering (Totally not what personal (How do I know this? Research on knowledge is) how neural networks grow, develop)
  25. 25. PLE  as  Exercise  Machine   •  A  PLE  is  a  tool  intended  to  immerse  yourself   into  the  workings  of  a  community   •  Once  immersed,  you  then  prac(ce  being  one   of  the  people  characteris.c  of  the  community   –  For  example,  you  would  learn  philosophy  by   prac.cing  ‘being  a  philosopher’  in  a  philosophical   community   •  Your  personal  growth  develops  as  a   consequence  of  the  interac.ons  with  that   community  
  26. 26. Construc.onism   •  “the  idea  of  materials  to  the  idea   that  learning  is  most  when  part  of  an   ac.vity  the  learner  experiences  as  a  meaningful  product.” •  “a  philosophy  of  educa.on  in  which  children   learn  by  doing  and  making  in  a  public,  guided,  process  including  feedback  from   peers,  not  just  from  teachers.”
  27. 27. Construc.onism  (2)   Image:
  28. 28. Freire   •  “Students,  as  they  are  increasingly  posed  with   problems  to  themselves  in  the  world   and  with  the  world,  will  feel  increasingly   challenged  and  obliged  to  respond  to  that   challenge…  Their  response  to  the  challenge   evokes  new  challenges,  followed  by  new   understandings;  and  gradually  the  students   come  to  regard  themselves  as  commihed.”
  29. 29. The  Learning  in  PLE   •  The  learning  in  a  PLE  is  about  developing   capaci(es  (not  compentencies,  skills,  etc.)   •  The  outcome  of  personal  learning  is   engendered  through  empowerment  (vs   engagement,  etc)  
  30. 30. Network  Learning   •  Science  as  language,  learning  as  conversa.on,   knowledge  as  inference  
  31. 31. A  Frame  For  Literacy   Syntax   Cogni.on   Seman.cs   Context   Pragma.cs   Change  
  32. 32. Syntax Not just rules and grammar Forms:  archetypes?  Platonic  ideals?   Rules:  grammar  =  logical  syntax   Opera.ons:  procedures,  motor  skills   Paherns:,  subs.tu.vity  (eggcorns,  tropes)  Tversky  -­‐,  etc
  33. 33. Semantics Seman.cs   theories  of  truth  /  meaning  /  purpose  /  goal hhp://     -­‐  Sense  and  reference  (connota.on  and  denota.on)   -­‐  Interpreta.on  (Eg.  In  probability,  Carnap  -­‐  logical  space;   Reichenbach  -­‐  frequency;  Ramsey  -­‐  wagering  /  strength  of  belief)   -­‐  Forms  of  associa.on:  Hebbian,  con.guity,  back-­‐prop,  Boltzmann     -­‐  Decisions  and  decision  theory:  /  consensus  /  emergence  
  34. 34. Pragmatics use,  ac.ons,  impact •   Speech  acts  (J.L.  Aus.n,  Searle)  asser.ves,  direc.ves,   commissives,  expressives,  declara.ons  (but  also  -­‐  harmful  acts,   harassment,  etc)   •   Interroga.on  (Heidegger)  and  presupposi.on   •   Meaning  (Wihgenstein  -­‐  meaning  is  use)  
  35. 35. Cognition reasoning,  inference  and  explana.on hhp://­‐logics/     •   descrip.on  -­‐  X  (definite  descrip.on,  allegory,  metaphor)   •   defini.on  -­‐  X  is  Y  (ostensive,  lexical,  logical  (necess.  &  suff  conds),  family   resemblance  -­‐  but  also,  iden.ty,  personal  iden.ty,  etc   •   argument  -­‐  X  therefore  Y  -­‐,,  (but  also:   modal,  probability  (Bayesian),  deon.c  (obliga.ons),  doxas.c  (belief),  etc.)   •   explana.on  -­‐  X  because  of  Y  (causal,,  chao.c/emergent)  
  36. 36. Context placement, environment hhp://­‐it-­‐is     -­‐  explana.on  (Hanson,  van  Fraassen,  Heidegger)   -­‐  meaning  (Quine);    tense  -­‐  range  of   -­‐  vocabulary  (Derrida);  ontologies,  logical  space   -­‐   Frames  (Lakoff)  and  worldviews  
  37. 37. Change -­‐   rela.on  and  connec.on:  I  Ching,    logical  rela.on   -­‐   flow:    Hegel  -­‐  historicity,  direc.onality;  McLuhan  -­‐  4  things   -­‐  progression  /  logic  -­‐-­‐  games,  for  example:  quiz&points,  branch-­‐ and-­‐tree,  database   -­‐  scheduling  -­‐  .metabling  -­‐  events;  ac.vity  theory  /  LaaN  
  38. 38. 21st Century Skills Languages The ‘skills’ described by Jenkins and others– performance, simulation, appropriation, etc - are actually languages and should be understood in terms of these six dimensions
  39. 39. PLE  Pedagogy   •  The  six  frames  are  the  elements  of  language   used  to  communicate  bwteen  individuals  in  a   community   •  Learning  in  a  PLE  involves  immersion  in  this   community  and  communica.on  involving   refec(ve  awareness  of  these  six  frames   •  Pedagogy  in  a  PLE  environment  is  the   modeling  of  these  skills  and  feedback  along   these  frames  
  40. 40. Stephen  Downes