Learning systems: Chaotic, ordered or complex?

How are most formal learning experiences designed?

Most I’ve encountered in the tertiary environment are ordered, with learning objectives specified and assessment tasks and outcomes linked to the stated objectives. In the majority of courses this is an institutional requirement, however there may be elements of chaotic systems within the ordered structure, which allow for self directed discovery by students. More complex systems with rigid boundaries may exist where qualifications need to comply with external accreditation bodies.

The design of this course?

This NGL course appears to be a hybrid design of ordered and chaotic systems. It needs to conform to institutional requirements and include ordered systems to align with the course specification. It also provides enough structure and guidance to immerse students into NGL and chaotic systems in order to provide them with a first hand experience, and create opportunity for discoveries which can be reflected upon for their future practice.

My preferences?

As a ‘student’ and ‘learner’ my preference is to have scaffolding to access network learning and the NGL experience. At this early stage I expect that in my ‘teacher’ role supporting other teaching staff, I would also be suggesting this approach for them and their students. Depending on the nature of the course/program it may be desirable to include elements of chaotic systems within ordered systems to introduce students to this style of learning. This could be expanded upon in subsequent levels as students become familiar with an unordered discovery approach – it would help address the diversity of learning styles and levels of digital literacies within the student cohort enrolled in courses.

I found this blog post by KerryJ “Is there such a thing as too little cognitive load?” valuable for my perspective, as she ponders ‘…..at what point do we prepare learners for the messy, complicated world they are going to find and how can we build that into course design in such a way that we don’t discourage them?’

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