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In a previous article, I had discussed the juxtaposition of Bruce Tuckman’s five stages of group formation and evolution on the characteristics of 2.0 learning formations. I think it is relevant, in Week 1, for me to try and assess how we are as a formation in terms of:

  • the stages (forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning),
  • the characteristics (life cycle – duration and phases, interaction frequency, interaction depth or complexity, extent of formal structures and formation size), and,
  • the articulation of a probable formal design methodology/model for learning 2.0 that involves Goals, Time,  Measurement, Improvement, Content/Knowledge (which I consider common foundations/elements in any learning situation) in a 2.0 context.

As a formation, we are at the forming stage. Opinions are being expressed (sometime emotional flaming), information overload being negotiated, technology being learnt, some individuals displaying initiative to socialize and some to start intellectual discussions – basically getting to know each other (or profile themselves in relation to the others in the formation) in mostly an open, critical and constructive manner.

We have well defined characteristics for this formation. There is a defined schedule and periodicity of formation interaction. If we look at the interaction frequency and (at least quantitatively) the depth, we have an interesting graph (I omitted one inflamed outlier).

Sep 11 introduction forum stats

Sep 11 introduction forum stats

Looks familiar (power law here)? About 50% posts had zero replies. About 48% had between 1-10 replies and the remaining greater than 10 replies.

If you look at the extent of formal structures in the course, there is a formal structure to the learning experience as demonstrated by the schedule of the course. However, Stephen and George are facilitating flow of ideas as experts, rather than imposing a structure to the discussion. Stephen’s daily serves as a informant and guide. The readings set up provide a flexible boundary for the content and discussion. As for the size, we have seen a curious phenomenon. The course itself has a large number of interested learners connecting together, but also creating sub-learning formations (e.g. a Hungarian group [linguistic group]). The sub formations also include, interestingly, people who share a common perspective, level of competence and common types of questions.

There was only a small subset that entered the elluminate sessions, and I would be really keen to take the chat and session transcripts and bring out statistics on interaction and expert guidance seeking, perhaps, also on the extent of chaos (the chat board was chaotic and distracting from the learning experience for me!).

Is there a formal design methodology here? I find that all aspects of what I consider a fundamental part of any learning experience – goals, time, measurement, improvements and content/knowledge – are all components of the way the course has been designed – except that their interpretation in a 2.0 world may be different and that Stephen does not entirely agree.

Hope you found this interesting! As always, I would love to hear any comments!


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