Some may question all this noösphere stuff and argue against the existence of any such woo-woo thing as a “group mind”. You may have more of a “black box” approach, thinking that human learning is personal, kind of mysterious, and that’s it.
“Given that we have for millennia become used to taking learning and thinking as activities of individual minds, it is hard to conceive of them as primarily group activities,” says Gerry Stahl, of of the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University.
For a long time I’ve seen everything, everyone, as interconnected and interdependent. That is indubitably a by-product of:
- studying Tielhard de Chardin at Tabor College and Marshall McLuhan at the J-School at the University of Kansas
- going over the top with the psychedelic mushrooms and cactus in my twenties
- a lifetime of meditation
- being a Canadian Mennonite and a Quaker
- being a member of the Benjamin Barber fan club
- too many hours on Facebook
- other socio-cultural factors yet to be analyzed
So for me, social learning is not a question of ontology, but rather of methodology. I am interested in learning the how interdependent cognition works. In other words, exactly what processes are involved in developing shared meaning amongst multiple individuals? What are the various agents, and what are their possible interactions? What are the artifacts of their interactions?
As a designer of experiences for learning, I want to know what’s in my toolbox. In upcoming posts, I plan to explore those topics, of agents and their interactions in social learning.
Stahl, G. (2005). Group cognition in computer-assisted collaborative Learning. In Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, April 2005, Vol. 21 Issue 2, p79-90.