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Valerie Brown: Collective social learning - a theoretical foundation for Web 2

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Collective social learning - a theoretical foundation for Web 2 Print
Friday 19 June 2009, 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Emeritus Professor Valerie A. Brown AO, BSc MEd PhD *
Location: LKL Auditorium



Whether we are now at Web 2, Web 3 or Web 8, we can agree that after Web 1 came a surge of interoperability, user-centered design and mass collaboration. Web-based communities, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, and blogs, add up to a new cultural force. There has been little consideration of the changes this integrative cultural force brings to the ruling fragmentation of knowledge. This seminar will identify the hierarchy of knowledge structures in the construction of Western knowledge and suggest collective social learning as a synthesising framework consistent with the needs of Web 2 and above.
* Director, Local Sustainability Project, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. Valerie works collaboratively with communities in Australia, Asia, Canada and Europe on whole-of-community change. Her latest books include "Social learning and environmental management: towards a sustainable future" 2005; "Leonardo's vision: a guide to collective learning and action" 2008 and "Tackling wicked problems: using the transdisciplinary imagination" In press, 2009.

Published in: Education

Valerie Brown: Collective social learning - a theoretical foundation for Web 2

  1. 1. Collective social learning Foundation for Web 2 and beyond? Valerie A. Brown Local Sustainability Project Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University 1
  2. 2. The argument: 1. Web 1 …..Web 2……..? 2. Culture change 3. Five voices 4. Multiple knowledges 5. Collective social learning 2
  3. 3. Web 1 creates links: • across space • across time • across cultures • across languages • across organisations • among people • among communities 3
  4. 4. Web 2, 3, 4, - - - - - - - • User-centred design • Wide social networking • Open interoperability • Flat organisation • Mass collaboration = a new cultural force 4
  5. 5. Cultural change involves: Individuals + Communities + Specialists + Organisations + Shared focus 5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. Local Sustainability Project 1996-2006 Local community Specialists 7 Council
  8. 8. Multiple knowledges in practice KNOWLEDGE STRUCTURE TEST FOR TRUTH 1. INDIVIDUAL Personal experience 2. COMMUNITY Shared beliefs, events Health, Sociology, 3. SPECIALIST Ecology, Economics… 4. ORGANISATION Agendas, strategies 5. HOLISTIC Focus, goal 8
  9. 9. Multiple knowledges in theory KNOWLEDGES AUTHORS INDIVIDUAL Polanyi, Satre, Buber LOCAL COMMUNITY Geertz, W. Berry, Putnam SPECIALIST Kuhn, Ravetz, Gould ORGANISATION Foucault, Senge, R. Saul HOLISTIC FOCUS De Chardin, Berlin, T. Berry 9
  10. 10. Western knowledge as a hierarchy KNOWLEDGES SOURCE OF EVIDENCE 4. INDIVIDUAL Personal experience 3. LOCAL Shared beliefs, memories 1. SPECIALIST Health, Education, Sociology, Engineering… 2. ORGANISATIONAL Agendas, strategies 5. HOLISTIC FOCUS Collective ideal 10
  11. 11. Mutual rejection: INDIVIDUAL Biased LOCAL Powerless RESEARCH Fragmented ORGANISATION Self-serving HOLISTIC FOCUS Too hard • As a citizen of the community 11 • As an expert in your field • As a strategist in your political environment
  12. 12. Multiple knowledges in Malaysia KNOWLEDGES EVENTS INDIVIDUAL Encephalitis epidemic LOCAL No action: People resigned to risks SPECIALIST Universities clinicians identify new strain from pigs Health Dept calls it En.J 9 (from ORGANISATION mosquitos)/ blocks emails Fear for future HOLISTIC FOCUS livelihood/cost/loss of face 12
  13. 13. Information access in Malaysia INDIVIDUAL Digital divide LOCAL Strong community SPECIALISTS University, clinicians publish new strain ORGANISATION Government sticks to story Community under- HOLISTIC ground email • 13 As a citizen of the community • As an expert in your field • As a strategist in your political environment
  14. 14. Different - language - vision - know- ledge culture
  15. 15. What sort of order? One right answer? Lowest common denomin- ator? Consensus ? Majority vote? 15
  16. 16. Collective knowledge as a nested set Individual knowledge Local knowledge Specialist knowledge Organisational knowledge Holistic knowledge A collaborative system 16
  17. 17. For collective learning How do you address the multiple knowledges in your own designs? Who wins? Who loses? Whose truth prevails? 17
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  19. 19. Jig-saw puzzle: Pre-determined picture Reproduces what is Requires: Careful observation Good memory Accuracy Perseverance 19
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  23. 23. A collage requires: - reflection - review - creativity Brings something new into the world Accepts ambiguity and uncertainty 23
  24. 24. Experiential learning cycle (Kolb et al, 1984) Ideals Facts Focus question Actions Ideas Kolb et al 1984, 1995 24
  25. 25. Collective Learning spiral 2. Describe Ideals Facts What should be? What is ? 1.Develop 3. Design Actions Ideas What can be? What could be? Kolb et al 1984, 1995 4. Do 25
  26. 26. Collective Social Learning: 2. Describe What should be? What is? Multiple Informed citizens 1.Develop knowledges 3. Design What can be? What could be? Collective action Collective knowledge 4. Do 26
  27. 27. 1. Web 1 …..Web 2……..? 2. Culture change 3. Five voices 4. Multiple knowledges 5. Collective social learning 27
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