Sunday, October 20, 2013

Who Owns the Learning?

As I cruised through my bookshelf late last night I noticed Alan November's book, Who Owns the Learning, Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age. Aha! more clarity around ownership and PLNS - all part of the wrangling of thought that I am participating in with the MSLOC Exploring PLNs mooc community. We cannot own each others learning - although education systems have long tried to do so. It comes down to basic respect for people and an understanding that while you can lead a horse to water you cannot make it drink.
For those wanting to explore further and hear it from others I would encourage you to check out:

Ken Robinson's talk, Changing Education Paradigms (illustrated by RSA Animate) - I think PLNs are about waking ourselves up to divergent thinking

Dan Pink's, Drive: The Surprising truth about what motivates us - What about organizations supporting PLNs based on the tenants of autonomy, mastery & purpose? (hardly sounds like ownership? and it doen't sound outrageous to me!)

Howard Rheingold et. al's  concept of Peeragogy with their ever evolving Peer Learning Handbook

George Siemen's, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age which helps us understand some of the 'whys' associated with the question, 'Why would an organization support employees in creating, nurturing and maintaining a PLN?'

then for a bit of tongue-in-cheek levity (with a serious undertone) check out Steve Wheeler's latest video on Edupunk

Personal - belonging to or affecting a particular person rather than anyone else
Learning - a gerund - the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience or being taught
Network -  which can be either a noun or a verb -
as a noun it is - a group or system of interconnected people or things
as a verb it is - to interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts

Yup, I vote that organizations need to support PLNs in order to thrive, that this will simply be the new normal and that networks cannot be owned!


  1. Hello Maureen! Thanks for linking to these ideas, will be interested to check them out. I think that once you've participated in a connectivist learning experience like this, and built up a PLN with meaningful connections & relationships, you understand the potential of networked learning / working and the limitations of our current systems and structures.

    But how do you explain this to a CEO who hasn't had this experience, and who's deeply invested and embedded in the current ways of doing things? I think that'll be the real challenge - working out how to navigate the barriers to make some progress towards changing the system.

  2. Tanya, I think that most CEOs have a really good grip on the concepts of networking, grappling with ambiguities and having to take personal responsibility for navigating. I think framing PLNs using the language and terms that CEO are familiar with is the best approach. Start from where the person is at! The other thing is to start small, plant seeds and if possible make it fun.
    If our hypothetical CEO has a gmail, Yahoo or MSexcahnge account provide her/him with the opportunity of visualizing a portion of their own PLN as a dynamic network by going to