Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Educating Today's Learner
  First Essential Question

Is learning a solitary activity, undertaken by an individual, or is learning a social activity, something done by a group within a context?

I have always been an advocate of independent or self-study learning until this OMET degree program. For me, I have, in the past, been able to concentrate and reflect better when I can be alone. This Distributed Learning is fairly new to me and I am having difficulty sharing with others and asking for help. But I am becoming convinced that in the long run, I learning can be better accomplished within a group context—a social activity. Besides, there can be many downsides to solitary learning. It all but eliminates scholarly dialog and the stringent requirements of group validation.

Margaret Riel emailed Cadre 11 an article today entitled “Learnscape Architecture” by Jay Cross, Internet Time Group. Cross uses a metaphor to describe what he calls “learnscape,” a platform where knowledge workers can gather to learn, communicate and distribute information. “Not so long ago, knowledge itself was thought to reside in people's heads. The new view is that knowledge is collective intelligence, a shared consensual reality that lives among us rather than inside us. We aren't mere consumers of knowledge; we're contributors as well. Knowledge work is social.”

The collaborative learning process is “to help students test the quality and value of what they know by trying to make sense of it to other people like themselves – their peers” and that it “personalizes knowledge by socializing it, providing students with a social context of learning peers with whom they are engaged on conceptual issues” (Burffee, 1981). Also, one of the three articles that Bill assigned address this subject very well. I will talk more about those in class tomorrow night.

Bruffee, K. (1981). Collaborative learning. College English, 43(7), 745-747.