A couple of Comments and Corrections before getting to the main portion of today’s posting:
First, thanks to Tom Kuhlman from Articulate Global for commenting on my last posting, Rapid E-Learning, Blogs, LMSes, and more. Tom noted that e-mail subscription to The Rapid E-learning Blog is not necessary to get the free download of An Insiders Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro. The RSS subscription also offers this option. Either way, I encourage you to check out both Tom’s book and his blog.
Second, Valerie Smothers has commented on Medbiquitous, Soon to be Ubiquitous that the call for abstracts for the 2008 meeting, May 13-15 here in Baltimore, is now open at http://www.medbiq.org/callforabstracts. If you are involved with an organization that provides online education or credentialing in the healthcare space, attendance at the Medbiquitous meeting is a must.
Now, it appears that fellow blogger Dave Sabol and I are on a similar cognitive wavelength this week. I’d like to mix his brief review of Collective X, a free online community platform, in with my tool-oriented prior post. I also note that Dave has posted a call for participation in Blog Action Day on his site—precisely what I had planned for this iteration of Mission to Learn.
I could, of course, have plunged ahead with this posting without mentioning Dave, but that would have diminished my message. One of the direct benefits of blogging is the great Web of connections and comparisons it enables both bloggers themselves and ardent blog readers to weave. My background is in comparative literature, and I will admit that I may tend to value comparison for comparison’s sake more than the average person, but clearly much more than that is happening in the blogosphere. Pursued conscientiously and self-consciously blogging and blog reading almost by default lead participants into the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of the cognitive domain: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
This realization is hardly rocket science (which seems to be less than what it used to be anyway), but the context in and process by which I came to it is worth noting. At the moment I happen to be reading simultaneously Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks and Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest. The first takes perhaps the most in-depth look to date at the way that information production and distribution has fundamentally changed and offers (in the words of the book jacket) a “comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy.” The second addresses (again, in the words of the book jacket) “the appearance of systemic problems that are genuinely global in scope, and the growth of a worldwide movement that is determined to heal the wounds of the earth with the force of passion, dedication, and collective intelligence and wisdom.”
Both of these books are fundamentally about system dynamics, whether these dynamics evidence themselves under classic headings like economics, ecology, and social justice, or something that is all of these and yet entirely new. It seems clear that what is happening in the context and the processes of the blogosphere evidences this same underlying dynamic. To a certain extent this phenomenon is simply a product of the disintermediation that my friend and colleague David Houle has written about so extensively. It is also suggestive to me of the process of order spontaneously arising in highly complex, seemingly chaotic systems that Stuart Kauffman describes in At Home in the Universe and that I have written about in The Capacity Continuum. In any case, the potential for learning—and action—represented by these new system dynamics is awesome.
Which brings me back to Blog Action Day. Here, of course, Hawken and Benkler coalesce, and the Web becomes the platform by which individuals “around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment.” What a fantastic event for learning. What an incredible catalyst for action. Dave and I will be part of that dynamic. Will you?
Books referenced in this posting:
I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.