Trying the FISh-model
The question in the scenario, “How can I get people to really recognize the value of becoming part of a learning community and experience the benefits of social learning?” is indeed intriguing and this course, ONL231, has helped me concerning this. I teach in an international master course, Research methods in Innovation and Design, at the same time as I take the online learning course. One of the sessions in the master course is about situated design methods, and unfortunately the book linked to the session is not frequently used by their students. This time, I decided not to stand and lecture with breaks for discussions in groups and tests of methods, but to use the FISh-model and PBL! It went great! They learned much more related to their own projects they work on.

I started with a brief lecture, ca 20 minutes and then presented the model and the work in groups. Also, I said that after the three hours they should walk out of the Studio and know, with good arguments, if the methods in the book were something for their own projects – or not. The group work started a bit lame but improved a lot after one hour! They read and investigated and started to use post-it-notes and made analogue visuals about how the methods was or was not useful for them. When finally sharing with the others they were very excited having made a lot of solid decisions. Now, it will be very interesting for me as an examinator, to see how they made use of the literature on situated design methods in their examination work.

Afterwards, one of them asked if the session on theories also could be made the same way. I think it went so well because they had a motivation. There was something in it for them. Also, they helped each other to learn this through negotiation the matters at hand.

Learning is social!
Of course, this was not online, but I consider this a dry-swimming lesson for future online sessions. Attending the webinar with Hróbjartur Árnason, from the University of Island, who teach adoult learning gave me insight into such a transposition. We were part of a session where he guided us in theory and questions which we then discussed in breakout rooms. The structure was clear, and we went through the lesson in an interactive manner of either having ownership ourselves in a Murial app or be guided by Árnason. In our group we spoke about different perspectives and challenges of being different. Others spoke about building on each other. Tools also becomes important. One crucial matter Árnason brought up is that learning is social; we learn together and construct together, we observe, experiment, and negotiate. Everyone co-created the course. Hence, a very wide understanding of learning, riming well with life-long-learning: One learns through participating which means partaking in a community – community of practices. This is a social theory of learning emphasizing practice, belonging and identity through learning the idea of as becoming.

Learning as becoming, or creative destruction
In one of the breakout sessions, we spoke about how this also can be painful. It is not always easy to partake and negotiate with others. Since learning in this social sense is a continuously becoming of one’s identity and the community, this is an ongoing struggle. This made me think of Friedrich Nietzsche’s understanding of human beings; we are a continuously struggling of forces forming and deforming the world and our thinking through creativity. The identity is indeed a becoming and the concept of creative destruction ¬– taken over by economists and innovation managements today – in communities of practices, I believe, it would be good to acknowledge that creativity in learning understood as social is not just a nice pile of good new things placed on top of each other. It also has a side that is a destruction of other things, i.e., the things we leave while learning something new. Looking at learning as social an ongoing, working in communities online can be both rewarding and challenging. If one is not willing to be challenged, and become, i.e., develop and put earlier values and thoughts aside for new ones, one will not learn.

How can this be fostered in networked collaborative learning?
Using tools, such as Miro or Murial, can connect online learners in interactive building on each other’s thing and doing – and recognizing that we change during these sessions. Otherwise, there is no learning with others. Communicating both this creative and “destructive” side involved in change to the students is crucial.

From trying out FISh in a classroom to Nietzsche and becoming. Topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning