• Rediscovering the nature of learning   2 years 37 weeks ago

    Brother Lung, it is obvious that seamless learning is being rediscovered and redefined. More interestingly, the perspective of ecology is valued during this cycle of reflexive process of rediscovery. My reflection is just based on the observations of the complex and diversified nature of ecology. Learning is everywhere, just as creatures and lives and the complexities and interactions brought from their existence are prevalent. Some choose to describe and define the properties of the entities, and thereafter to categorize them. Some choose to observe the interactions of the properties and reflect upon them. To define seamless learning, we cannot avoid the modifier of “seamless”, school learning and informal learning, the properties of learning in different contexts, etc. These work and efforts are valuable. But we also have another choice to see learning. Learning is learning. It is absolutely alright without the modifier -- seamless.

    School learning is not an evil in my eyes, either. As a matter of fact, we all benefit from school learning. However, it does not mean that we just have to be so grateful for school learning not to problematize it, as you said “we never regard schooling being a necessary condition for practicing seamless learning”. But I still sense the “either or” logic in the statement above. (If I am mistaken, pardon me ) Not necessary condition for practicing seamless learning sound to me like seamless learning sometimes can exclude school learning. I have a few questions then: 1. Can we really escape from school learning? 2. Aren’t we the product of school learning in knowledge society, or even ever since the Industrial Revolution? 3. Learning does not happen from nowhere, then there must be some elements of school learning in informal learning? So can we really have a clear-cut distinction of school learning and informal learning? Further suspicions will emerge: are we really able to identify the seams between school learning and informal learning? Aren’t the perceived properties illusions?

    Having all these questions and suspicions, I was seeking another alternative to view learning: it could be pragmatic or intangible, it could be metaphysical or down to earth. One alternative is to believe that learning is just learning and learning is seamless per se, as I said in the previous post: learning is existence, survival and development. In this sense, I agree with your ultimate goal.

  • Rediscovering the nature of learning   2 years 37 weeks ago

    Longlong: Thank you for your input. It is indeed our attempt to redefine seamless learning in the perspective of ecology. I don't see why an attempt to define seamless learning will be doomed by not being able to jump out of the box of school learning. School learning is not an evil that should be gotten rid of. It plays a specific role even in the context of more self-directed version of seamless learning. However, we never regard schooling being a necessary condition for practicing seamless learning. What we are doing now is to identify the seams that most people perceive existing and then advocate the removal of these seams. Ultimately, it's the individual (learner) herself who is the invariant.

  • Rediscovering the nature of learning   2 years 38 weeks ago

    If we take the perspective of ecology to see learning, I think learning is existence and survival and development. Animals exist, survive and develop in the natural environment; human beings exist, survive and develop in natural, social, and now virtual environements. We try to distinguish formal and informal learning settings probably because we human beings have been too comfortable to give too much credit to school learning rather than informal learning, knowledge learned from school settings rathter than some skills, common sense or fork theories learned from informal settings. However, in a sense, learning from formal and informal settings makes no much difference. Some skills we learned help us to survive in the natural environment; some knowledge or skills we learned from schools help us to survive the knowledge society. In a word, no matter in what settings, learning helps us to survive and exist and develop. After reading the above definitions of learning or seamless learning, I feel most of the definitions convey a lot of values believed by school educators, engineers, and education technologist. But in a larger picture of the ecology we exist, schools, industry, technology etc, might be just some small parts of the world. The definitions of learning or seamless learning loaded with so many such values will not be able to take a really ecological perspective, I am afraid. Put it another, to attempt to define seamless learning, we are doomed to be unable to jump out of the box of school learning. To me, the real seamless learning from the perspective of ecology should be called as learning, and learning is existence and survival and development of a whole being in various settings we will encounter.

  • Games for learning: the discovered country   2 years 46 weeks ago

    Hi Nat,
    Thanks for posting this. It took some time to discover because the homepage doesn't feature it. If you want, we can do so, or tweet it to #edsg in order to share with a broader audience. In any event, I think threading an overview to your paper with this metaphor works nicely. Its lively and held my attention as it paints a picture of challenges and opportunities. Another way to play with the metaphor is the idea that some sailing expeditions turn into sinking ships and sometimes the only thing that an able team of sailors can do is ensure that the boat is pointing in the right direction as it sinks. I remember somebody, maybe Steve Jobs, using this metaphorical shorthand to describe a few situations. Good luck with the paper!

  • Physics by Inquiry   3 years 34 weeks ago

    Fascinating and provocative questions about the future of inquiry, Hon Jia. Obviously there will be many possibilities and some are being advanced here in Singapore.

    For example, Lookang is a secondary school teacher passionately interested in this same question. He has focused his exploration primarily around inquiry with simulations. Folks can follow him on twitter (@lookang) and dig deeper at his blog

    Another example is the research that Kate Anderson, Judy Lee, and I conducted on physics inquiry using a game developed by talented game designers here at LSL. Our study considers how game spaces can organize inquiry. We looked at the similarities and differences in student discussions at three different points: exploring problems, synthesizing results, and sharing findings. We also looked at how discussions of earlier levels influenced discussions of later levels. The paper illustrates how this kind of game-based inquiry can organize productive learning opportunities; it also highlights ongoing challenges and some interesting avenues for subsequent research. Interested folks can find the paper in our LSL archives at this link:

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