This blog post relates to my study of CCK11.
The concept of the personal learning environment is founded on the idea of learning control and autonomy. It is a personal environment for the learner – learner centric.
Yet practically, formal education is a controlled environment. We live in a world with tighter and tighter controls on learning. The Australian Government for example has been pushing in recent years for a national curriculum for K-12, replacing the disparate state-based curriculum currently in place in our 6 states and 2 territories. Tertiary education too in many disciplines requires accreditation with professional bodies, again requiring adherence to standardised requirements for students. Students must develop specific skills and attitudes as a part of a program’s curriculum for the curriculum to be certified and for students to be acknowledged in the field in which they have studied.
I’m not suggesting this is all bad, but it is at odds (at least on some levels) with the ideals of personal learning environments – the learner having control of their own learning. In fact, I have wrestled with a similar dilemma previously in my assessment of ePortfolios for higher education where there are competing goals.
This dichotomy of autonomy vs. control relates to week 5 discussions around networks and groups. In particular, the idea of connectives, and collectives. You could argue that collectives (accreditation/prof bodies & governments) have specific goals for students. They want to ensure consistent outcomes for graduates. This can be at odds with connectives – students who have their own goals for their learning. Where is the happy medium on the spectrum? If Europe can adopt a common currency, then perhaps education can too?