Reflection of Topic 3 – Gobbets

This blog post have four entries and structured in the following content based on the 3P-Model of learning from  (Biggs, J.B. 2003. Teaching for quality learning at university. Maidenhead: Open University Press.) This model describes three stages in the process of learning (in constructive alignment):

  1. Presage
  2. Process (Facilitating the group for Topic 3)
  3. Product (Our End result)

1. Presage

It is easy to forget that we already come into this course with knowledge. In my case, I have a diploma as a Gestalt Therapist with the expertise in organisational development. As such, addressing group, leading groups and facilitating groups are not new. In this case, I felt my knowledge as a burden – I cannot un-see what I see and know.  The need, the pain, the struggle.   In this context, we are asked to be students/learners. For this topic, I was asked to be a leader. The context did though change, where two groups were collided (and not combined!) into one – as we potatoes had just found our feet – gotten to know each other – we were suddenly four leaders in of two groups that had no time to bond very much. A very difficult set up – and – an experiment in itself – as we really had to go through all the phases again – with people dropping in and out, as well as leaders. Basically – an example of a struggling group, where there were occasions of hostility, sadness, and frustration, but also admiration, respect and in the end, some joy. I was personally very much forcing myself to be there and do my best, but it was very very hard to stay true to myself. I asked myself hundred times why I do this – and as someone claimed “the overall motivation as a clear goal for a course” aids you through any challenge.

2. Process

One of my first contributions to the group work was to provide a more structured and expanded view of the scenario (with the aim to create a better discussion).

A. Scenario comment

Recognize the value

To build and consolidate collaboration

A. Coming together (social/group process)

  • Share view
  • Have different views but appreciate differences
  • Common “knowledge base”
  • other?

B. Bring it all together

End product (visible/observable) should be:

  • Made by all (all contributes)
  • Reflect the “common” ground (all views, all differences etc )
  • Aid others (outside the group) who made it
  • Reflect the “knowledge” gathered in the group

C. Working together Collaboratively

  • Make it pleasant for all to be present
  • Make it “easy” and trustful for all to be present
  • Allow for all to speak and comment and contribute
  • All do not have to agree – it is ok to not share view!
  • Respect and respond to all (make people feel visible)
  • Do not allow people to “overtake” – but also have respect to allow someone to “unburden” – this is part of “social” respect
  • All peoples voice is worth listening to
  • All voices should be heard, seen make a stamp, be a contributor
  • Make goals clear for all
  • Show appreciation for group – and group members

D. Influence the Capacity for collaboration beyond course

  • Take part of “the “network” around the world” (being a member)
  • Exchange info (is also giving to the network – pay forward)
  • Ask for help – have a place to “ask” others
  • Make known that it is “ok” to ask others
  • Show appreciation (for the network) by sharing (your own aha moments)



We had a brainstorming on Miro (a new tool) : that resulted in three ideas from me:

A. Learning in “any way” does not suffice. For it to be “social” network learning it must be much more goal oriented, and based in scientific (validated) studies. I am worried about the references here seems very “anecdotal”, even if published in academic…. I noticed that a researchers “push” their view, based on relative loose scientific ground (as we discussed in our MDU reflection) on references.  Also realizing that I have not sufficient time (in this topic) to really make research on “how valid are our references”, as my reference page got littered with a lot of other issues, due to poor copy paste.

B. Taking the Anti-approach:

Encompassing “disbelievers”  of On-line “learning”  i.e. I really learn best on my own?!

  • It is effective to “learn/read” self-learn
  • Only some subjects  are ok in discussion
  • When does different perspective matters? Is really science about opinion
    • When knowledge is “political, anecdotal, and opinion-based/context based”..
    • New or immature “science” areas.
  • How can group learning become more than I would achieve on my own reading (ex. research papers).
    • Cover more ground (find more ref’s)
    • Highlight what is most important (compared to what I think) – a.c.a “priorities”.
  • Relating learning to “personality”.

C. How to be more “effective” learning and still allow for social in groups? 

C got elected  as one topic to expand on  and provided with the best expanded learning (from others) for me – as I posed the question.

The group also chose Two other topics that did not engage me as much or give me any more “new” insights.

–Commitment Imbalance of contribution as being the source of frustrations  in a group for students: Well, interesting as I reflect that this is a fact, and it is more interesting to hear WHY people think group work should be balanced? Nothing else in the world is fair or balanced, so why group work?

  • I come from a standpoint, the more you put in, the more you yourself get out of it. So, why should we measure this? It is more a measure – we put ourselves into things a lot, because we want to get a lot out of it:
  • Leading to the saying “Nothing worth having comes easy”. (I have never experienced that in my life – everything has been as struggle!) which means, that now some things come easier than before. But I paid my dues!

— Philosophical question: The borderline of social learning and networking?

  • Where I actually get a bit lost in this – maybe it was the format or the “rambling”. I just could not make sense of this. Too unstructured – or simply not engaging.  I am still pondering –
  • Social learning as anything you do interacting together with others (on the subject)? (that must be social learning?) and networking (what is that – if not being social – but being on-line?) assumed on the subject…. so what is the borderline? Computers and access? Still a bit lost why this is an important philosophical aspect.

3. Product (Our End result)

  • As facilitators from the start – we were aiming to structure our result in a web-page (will be our group 9 and 10 together).
  • Instead the group “took over” and decided to make a musical “chain letter” in google scholar – and just did it. Ok.
  • I did my part – taking up my “frustration” of the group work – as a part of the chain-letter. This actually was good (for me) and – I think for the group. As my group members tagged on.
  • I moved the google scholar into the web-site (as people were not listening to us) – and started our last meeting with this. The result was then excellent. Not only did each group decide we are to come together as one – but also the web-page where all contributed was great.


(why no pictures? 1. Copyright issues  so hard to copy from net… licences.. sigh. 2. I do not want to upload my private pictures 3. Learn to read – yes, this is purely a course! – not intended for any other purpose!)


(PS: can anyone teach me why wordpress puts this in a column? VERY frustrating web page tool)

7 responses to “Reflection of Topic 3 – Gobbets”

  1. Here you declare that you prior knowledge has been a burden. Why?? You then describe the difficulty of changing group belonging. I am sad to hear that, but I also think this was a learning journey(?). Glad to hear that this seems to work now anyway!

    You then describe your expansion of the scenario. -Great! Then your prior knowledge was very rewarding for the group?
    Then you present you findings for the learning: “How can group learning become more than I would achieve on my own reading?”. And to what conclusion? I really think we can help each other dig deeper, by asking questions, by replying and adding on, by specifying and making things clearer. What do you think..? I seems that this was reached by your chain letter..?



  2. Thanks for sharing – your reflections resonate with me. I also find that the process in the ONL course may be a bit too compressed – there isn’t enough time for us to go through the cycle of ‘forming – storming – performing’. The ‘storming’ part where we have to agree to disagree with group mates may not be pleasant. The convergence part is not so smooth. That in itself is a good lesson learnt!

  3. Thanks Sigrid,
    I believe that we start from where we are, each of us, and will need to allow for challenges and opportunities to move in various directions. These moves will for all of us mean that we need to step out of our comfort zones, whatever they look like. That never, as you express very well, happens without friction.

    If we use the term “fronesis” (mainly because you lift philosophical perspectives) as to illustrate how we enter with an expertise from which we can define various actions to take in situations, I could see how your expertise, as described initially in your post and commented by Lotta, played out in different ways during the work in the new forming group. Supportive and challenging at the same time. Now, by this post, I also learnt a bit more about how you experienced that process. I appreciate that aspect of your capacity for meta-cognition very much. Not all knowledge is in prior research and in articles, that is rather information to support critical thinking about processes under way. Citing does not make a text better per se, your thinking does from forming valid arguments. That makes us knowledgeable.

    I commented on another post by a member in the group about that I am not sure that we, the group, have a shared understanding of what “output” is. Here we are somewhat finding battlegrounds defined partly by our home institution’s different ways of defining what the requirements are for the course, partly by the wide variety in backgrounds of the group members, partly by different views on what knowledge is, and in our case partly from the merging of the groups. It is an interesting process and I am pretty sure it is not harmful, but rather fruitful.

    Thank you for sharing

    • Thank you Lars for your reflection. I agree that citing does not make things better. But I think “founded in some scientific ground” is very important for me. Or it becomes a fora for “opinions” or a “big experiment” (which is alright, if you have now pedagogical insights to draw). I realize of course group theory is utterly important for some part of pedagogical learning. And – I totally agree – this process is aimed to be fruitful and not harmful. In some parts, I found it be rather painful (even if I realize this is me allowing myself to “be hurt”) – I could also see this “pain” in others. So, you were not there at the very low, but I guess we all have moved on. And no pain no gain 😉 (which is actually a horrible expression)…And now we all (including me) are somewhere else. So not here and now reflection, a there and then reflection. Here and now, I am happy and positive and engaged. And life feels good! And much thank you for all your support. It helps!

  4. Ok – Why a burden? I think when you “see” beyond the surface of people behavior – how they present themself, the “shell” they want to show (and parts of their “shadow” – See Jung) – it is hard to respond “purely” to the surface. It is simply not the place and forum for doing “therapy” – even if you know how to guide this, and even if you are seeing the big picture. Now, it would have been better to “forget” – and just do in this case. That would have been better (for all). But – as I said, this would not have been “me”. So I tried an “in-between” – and that type of personal engagement has a cost (of my energy). On the other hand, it all turned out ok – and I realize my learning here is that I care “too much” -and probably more about people, than they themselves do. In any case, we managed. And I think I succeeded partly in giving different perspective and contribute in building some others up – sharing my journey. As I do now, and in this blog post. But thank you Lotta for reading, seeing and validating me.

    Ok: About the chain-letter. First I felt that was both childish, and a “leader take over” – maybe a gut reaction of “I do not want to do your stupid web-page so I create what I want to do”. I was frustrated, and felt I was not heard. Or neither of us were “heard” or respected suggesting the web page. And also thought – when you are a facilitator you can enforce this. Then I reminded myself that “anything goes” in this group – and that I do not care what the output would result web-page suggested by one facilitator (which I liked . the web page – it would be easy to read),or a chain letter. Yes, I initially did not like this, especially as we wasted time to talk about a childish theme of having music lyrics – which I thought was a plain diversion of attention, instead of keeping to the subject content. “More form than substance”. But after pondering long I realized these both methods could be combined. This would benefit the group best – all got “their way”. And yes, it(the chain letter process) was better than I thought. So I learned, that “not sticking” to your guns is sometimes fruitful. Maybe this has to be put in context of I am CONSTANTLY overrun at work with my ideas, so maybe I feel “fighting for yourself” is something I “must” do. I have simply stop fighting. I do not take that space anymore. Yet I realize I do take a LOT of space anyhow. So I guess this is my self-practice to become “smaller ego” until I die and are forgotten. 😉 (to put it a bit dramatically). “Go with the flow”!

  5. Dear Sigrid, I came along your post very late. One sentence that draws my attention is: Why group work should be balanced, when everything else is not. Good to think on it. Very interesting point. I think a balanced group work is a nice experience, in my case it usually is. But otherwise it is more challenging. You learn a lot, frustration is of course high too, but in the end you went through it and made experiences which will help you maybe in a future situation. Maybe you learned more in such a situation.

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