Archive for the ‘psychological’ Category

The Bonsai Incident

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I just finished reading “The Element” from Sir Ken Robinson Ph.D., a must-read for everybody interested in education or personal development. The “One Element” is the activity you’re designed to do, that you forget time and space doing it.

He states that the human creativity and intelligence is nearly infinetely and most of all, diverse. I understand this in the sense of Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences“. I think therefore it is not sufficient to create a test like the Meyer-Briggs-Test that only holds like 5 or 6 categories to describe a human being, all his plans, feelings, dreams, and behaviours. For nearly 6 billion people you’ll need 6 billion categories.

Robinson compares the thrive for knowledge of humans with the thrive for growing within fauna. I think everybody who has ever seen a bonsai tree or ever has cut one can see that. A Bonsai will keep growing only within the possible conditions. As long as there is the slightest chance, it will grow! It is not getting as tall as it could, but it doesn’t give up either.

Manfred Spitzer wrote in “Learning: The human brain and the school of life” that every animal is optimized for a specific task. Birds are optimized for flying, the cheetah for running, and the human? The human is optimized for learning! No creature is better in adepting to new situations. So why are so many humans that much discouraged about something they are designed to do?

It could be, that often in education methods and knowledge is forced on children and nobody cares to explain why this knowledge is important for them. Nobody cares if this knowledge is useful to them or if only one of them is talented at what he is trying to teach to them. Additionally sometimes if learners try to verify their understanding of the content by asking questions, their opinion is not appreciated if it doesn’t match the one that is taught.

So how could learners or possible learners be motivated intrinsically? Could personalization be an option? Would personalized content be an motivating factor to boost or even initialize thrive for learning? I think if that’s the case, computers could help to determine a template for learners, based on several profiles of learners.

What’s your opinion? Could there be a personalized learning? Would it motivate learners? Could computers help with personalizing content? And if, to what degree would you think they can be of help?

What’s in it for me?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

DecissionSteve Wheeler pointed in his blog post “Hanging in there” out some really good points. He posted “…informal learning is more reliant upon an individual’s intrinsic motivation than it is by any external pressures. In other words, we learn because we are interested.”
I couln’t agree more with that! But how to “create” that interest? Or better how is the interest in informal learning different from the one in formal learning? Is it the relation to the content? So that directly relation to the content causes intrinsic motivation (the chinese girlfriend) and an indirect relation (good grades lead to a good job leads to a good pay … some day) needs an extrinsic motivation?

Could it be possible for somebody to improve his motivation by creating intrinsic motivation, just by finding a way of directly relating the learning content to one self? That would imply to be very creative in order to relate any given topic to a current living situation.

But how to achieve that? Creativity is defined as “…thinking items together, that haven’t been thought together before and getting a value out of it…”. I would say that matches the need of connecting externally imposed demands of learning content and personal interests pretty much.

This again would emphasise a certain view on PLEs. Not only would they document ones successful learning history in an e-Portfolio and an overview on current learning activities but they could be used as a support for trying to find a relation between given learning content or topics and current personal situations. Situations of any professional or private nature. The closer to ones interest the better.
I guess with the help of some semantics in the future it will get easier for a PLE to find connections that not even me was thinking of.

My guess is, the more clear I can see what’s in it for me, the more important “it” is for me, the more motivated I am.

What’s your opinion? Any experiences with that? WVDA67ET62Q2

This time it’s personal

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

merged world eye stampedThinking of social e-learning instantly brings a community and interaction to mind. But … learning always starts at a personal level. And how exactly does my personal learning look like?

How is it that I’m not motivated at all to learn some cheap formulas for a cryptography exam but I’m highly motivated to learn a foreign language like Chinese, which by the way is slightly harder. My english professor always said: “The fastest way to learn a language is to have a girlfriend who just speaks this language.” I think in this case the motivation is kind of raised.
Why do we have different motivations for different things? How is it that my motivation is higher if I learn self-initiated and when I am passionate about the outcome as it is when somebody tells me to learn?

A personal learning includes intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and it includes formal and informal learning. Mostly it starts with informal learning during the days you try to stand up and walk, then it is more formal learning going through school, college or university and after that it becomes informal again. For instance if you learn a foreign language just for the fun of it or to stay active or if you discover a new sport or game.

The reason for the differentiation of informal and formal learning could be the same as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, at least in most cases. So it would be fantastic to be able to transfer formal to informal learning or sometimes vice versa. Is there a chance to convert from one into the other? How could students be engaged to disregard the boundaries of formal learning and go beyond these boundaries? Could social learning be an approach to facilitate learners to simply forget about the boundaries of formal learning and just learn as it would be informal?

picture source: http://mrg.bz/s4aN2K