Complex Conversations

Recently, this concept has become popular with promoters of mobile learning. However, the original enthusiasm for complex conversations is derived from APA in 1995. Check the link below to find out more. American Psychological Association (1995). Learner-centered psychological principles: A framework for school redesign and reform. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association. (12 p.)
__ A key concept from that article is that “The learning of complex subject matter is most effective when it is an intentional process of constructing meaning from information and experience.” Students are encouraged to explore complex concepts and principles together, applying the concepts and drawing on their background and experiences.

Sharples, M. (2005) Learning as a Conversation: Transforming Education in the Mobile Age.
Sharples, M (2005. p. 1) "A framework for learning in the mobile age should recognise the essential role of communication in the process of coming to understand the world and in negotiating agreements among differing perspectives. It should also indicate the importance of context in establishing meaning, and the transformative effect of digital networks in supporting virtual communities that transcend barriers of age and culture."

Teacher to teacher conversations:

Relevant links from our Teaching & Learning Community at Unitec Ning:
Are you interested in starting a teaching portfolio?
Creating your own professional development plan. Knowledge organisations are learning and teaching organisations

Student to student conversations:

Relevant links from our Teaching & Learning Community at Unitec Ning:
Students Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback

How do we facilitate student to student conversations and connections? How does that impact what we do in the classroom? What we do online? Steve Marshall, from the U of Vuctoria, has a basic overview.
See the video

Student and teacher conversations:

Teaching is ....pre-eminently an act of care...For as we support our students in their struggle, challenge them towards their best, and cast light on the path ahead, we do so in the name of our respect for their potential and our care for their growth.
(Daloz, 1986)

Larry Daloz completed his doctoral work in educational planning at Harvard University, served as the first dean of Vermont Community College, and is widely respected in adult education and development. He is the double-award winning author of Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners, and co-author of Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World. He is now an Associate Director of the Whidbey Institute for Earth, Spirit and the Human Future.

We hope that your conversations are not like this...

Face to face conversations

There is a body of writing around designing learning spaces for effective learning. Learning takes place in a number of places, including in a digital environment. Chris Johnson and Cyprian Lomas explain this in their Educause article.

Online Conversations with class peers and others:

Relevant links from the Teaching & Learning Community at Unitec Ning:
As we move toward the eLearning Strategy, This blog posting examines the role of social networking in education.
Social networking utlilized by academic to improve student satisfaction
Online interactions have positive effects for real-life communities

Conversation with partners, including employers and others:

Conversations/engagement with text:

Conversations with self - critical self-reflection

Relevant links from the Teaching & Learning Community at Unitec Ning:
Reflective practice as part of teachers' professional development
Three reasons to develop a reflective practice for learners
Indepth reflective practice for learners

Helen Barrett and Jennifer Moon (see below) believe the most effective reflective conversation take place with "self" and these are usually undertaken in the form of a learning journal. Helen Barrett is interested in how learning journals and reflection can be incorported into eportfolios, while Jennifer Moon is interested in how reflection can improve professional practice. Both women were influenced in their work by Mezirow.

Mezirow (1990) is one of the most influential writers considering the place of reflection in learning.

He maintains that such reflection on assumptions and presuppositions (particularly about oneself) leads to "transformative learning"

"Perspective transformation is the process of becoming critically aware of how and why our presuppositions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world; of reformulating these assumptions to permit a more inclusive, discriminating, permeable and integrative perspective; and of making decisions or otherwise acting on these new understandings. More inclusive, discriminating permeable and integrative perspectives are superior perspectives that adults choose if they can because they are motivated to better understand the meaning of their experience."
(Mezirow, 1990:14 – my emphasis)

In other words, the real significance of adult learning appears when learners begin to re-evaluate their lives and to re-make them. This, for Mezirow, takes precedence over whatever it was they set out to "learn" in the first place.

Helen Barrett's web site is a treasure trove of resources.

Jennifer Moon is an authority on student self reflection. Her work can be accessed here A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice.

Here is a quick summary