Miscellaneous

Are rich media better than single media in online learning?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:00
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Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jan 05, 2015

Tony Bates suggests, "In general, it is usually a useful guideline always to look for the simplest medium first then only opt for a more complex or richer medium if the simple medium can’ t deliver the learning goals as adequately." One reason for this is "there may be too many distractions in a rich medium for students to grasp the essential point of the teaching." But if what Daniel Lemire  says below is true, then this is false. And it's false, I think, because the application of 'cognitive load theory' to learning is mistaken. And it is mistaken because it takes an atomistic view of learning, rather than an interconnected or network view of learning.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How to learn efficiently

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:00


Daniel Lemire, Weblog, Jan 05, 2015

What's interesting about this post is the suggestion that efficient learning is the opposite of what we might think it is. Lemire first outlines three reasonable principles (quoted):

  • Seek the most difficult problems
  • Reflect on what you have supposedly learned
  • Avoid learning from a single source

This is in fact exactly what I have done most of my life (even in public school, where I frequently went well beyond the curriculum to create 'projects' devoted to any of a variety of topics). Then Lemire observes, "When studying, many people do not want to mix topics 'so as not to get confused'. ... What researchers have found is that interleaved practice is far superior. In interleaved practice, you intentionally mix up topics. ... Interleaved practice is exactly what a real project forces you to do."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Google’s Philosopher

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:00
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Robert Herritt, Pacific Stamndard, Jan 05, 2015

This argument from "Google's philosopher" (actually Oxford ethics professor Luciano Floridi) has been flagged as "novel", but they're actually in line with a lot of contemporary thinking. According to Floridi, 'you are your information, which comprises everything from data about the relations between particles in your body, to your life story, to your memories, beliefs, and genetic code." This reminds me immediately of McLuhan's argument that our tools and devices are extensions of ourselves, and George Siemens's suggestion that our thoughts and ideas are contained in the network beyond our physical brain. The idea of an identity that is not simply the body has a long history, and in today's networked and digital age, it makes more than merely spiritual sense.

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Hotels Fight for the Right to Block Guests' Wi-Fi

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/04/2015 - 14:00
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Kate taylor, Entrepreneur, Jan 04, 2015

This story has been around for a while, but it points to the danger of commercial provision of essential services. As everyone knows, price is determined by the law of supply and demand - it is, essentially, whatever the market will bear. But the often unspoken corollary is that creating artificial demand is a reliable means of driving up price. This is what hotels are trying to do when they block personal Wi-Fi hotspots. It's a vile practice that creates no value for the customer at all. How much of the 'free market' is based not on provision of goods and services, but on creating artificial scarcity? Education is an excellent case in point. Learning should be ubiquitous, but we channel it through institutions, create the requirement for degrees, and charge students a large mortgage for passage.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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