Week 8

What do need to still learn about NGL?
How will you learn it?
How did you learn it?

Keep calm and carry on

Keep calm and carry on by Scott Roberts via Flickr

What do I still need to learn about NGL? Loads. Although, thanks to this course I now understand the complexities and challenges involved in utilising NGL for formal education (as teacher) or formal learning (as learner or student). Looking at Assignment 2, it looks like the remainder of the course will help me explore this further and learn more about what I still need to learn. I also think that I am ready to learn more about and  explore the potential solutions that might help address the challenges of NGL.

My context as a teacher is supporting academic staff in Higher education. They have many characteristics but a universal characteristic is how time poor they are and the competing demands placed upon them. As a teacher I need to learn how to harness NGL without alienating learners and this means catering to different requirements and preferences. It also means ensuring that academic staff don’t feel as though they must invest significant time before they get satisfaction. I think what Dede talks about in David’s favourite quote could be very useful here. Learners have different preferences and NGL isn’t for everyone –  it is one way (amongst a number of ways) that learners are able to choose to learn. The upside of NGL in my context is the ability for academics to engage in their own time and at their own pace. Building on this positive, Simon McIntyre  recently published an article that acknowledges that universities are the opposite of agile and that change takes time, even when the need for it is accepted. He suggests academics should be looking outward rather than inward for professional development and that systemic change can come from the bottom up through “disruptive innovaton”. This might be an interesting read for Deb who mentions the challenges of achieving a “paradigm shift in a large institution” and the need for incremental change.

How will I learn it? As a learner and student, I had already adopted NGL as part of my practice on a daily basis prior to taking this course. However since taking EDU8117 I can now see further opportunities for utilising NGL for networking, collaboration and learning. I can also see potential to do this more strategically. My foray into NGL began in an organic and ad hoc fashion, but now I am thinking about it more deliberately. EDU8117 has helped me become more courageous about baring my soul to the global community. So one potential barrier to my effective utilisation of NGL opportunities is now dismantled.


McIntyre, S. (2014). Reducing the digital literacy divide through disruptive innovation. HERDSA Review of Higher Education,                               1, 83. http://www.herdsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/HERDSARHE2014v01p83.pdf


Week 7/8: Reflection

A woman thinking.jpg








A woman thinking” by ÁWáOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This is a bit of hybrid post for Week 7 and 8. I will start by commenting on one of the readings David provided at the end of Week 7 that talk about the challenges of NGL. The one that resonated most was Keith Brennan’s article, In Connectivism, No one can hear you scream.

His comments around self efficacy and cognitive load, although not foreign were very interesting to consider from the viewpoint of NGL. He makes a few valid points around factors that contribute to “failure” in NGL:

“Too high cognitive load, and no assurance, or anxiety relieving measures.”

 “Decentralise the learning process to a degree where clarity and structure require skills you don’t have to access the information you need. “

“Tasks that are too complex with no guidance in how to achieve them.”

Regarding point 2, I would actually go further and argue that for me the problem isn’t so much about the skill I don’t have – but the time. EDU 8117 is a hybrid of connectivism and traditional education and one of the challenges of learning in a decentralised environment is that it requires more time commitment than a centralised and more traditional approach.

Even more interesting and helpful for me was the response to the Brennan article from Stephen Downes on his blog:

“Indeed, so long as you think of knowledge and learning as something to be acquired and measured and tested – instead of practiced and lived and experienced – you will be dissatisfied with connectivist learning. And – for that matter – there’s probably a limit to how far you can advance in traditional education as well, because (to my experience) everybody who achieves a high degree of expertise in a field has advanced well beyond the idea that it’s just information and skills and things to learn. Kind of like Dreyfus and Dreyfus said” 

After reading both points of view, I am wondering if perhaps EDU8117 is attempting to reconcile both approaches and philosophies? “…something to be acquired and measured and tested” and “…practiced, lived and experienced”. That might be where my discomfort lies and perhaps also what Keith Brennan is articulating as the challenges of connectivism in his article. I think Stephen Downes is trying to say that true connectivism doesn’t try to do both? I would love to hear other views on this.


Keith Brennan. In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice. 24 July, 2013. Hybrid Pedagogy. http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/in-connectivism-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-a-guide-to-understanding-the-mooc-novice/

Stephen Downes. Connectivism and the primal scream. 25 July, 2013. Half an Hour (Blog). http://halfanhour.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/connectvism-and-primal-scream.html

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