Rhizomatic Learning – A New Metaphor for How We Learn

Learners Take Charge of Their Own Paths With Mobile Learning

Pedagogy and Learning Comments (2)

Dave Cormier, a fellow Canadian who teaches at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), has been writing for a number of years about a concept he calls “rhizomatic learning.”

Dave Cormier illustration - embracing uncertainty

The diagram above is a map of his recent talk at the Connect 2013 conference in Niagara Falls, Canada.

A rhizome, sometimes called a creeping rootstalk, is a plant stem that sends out roots and shoots as it spreads. Dave uses this image to describe the complexity of learning, and the fact that it is not linear.

“The whole idea of rhizomatic learning is to acknowledge that learners come from different contexts, that they need different things, and that presuming you know what those things are is like believing in magic,” he writes. “It is a commitment to multiple paths.”

Mobile learning is just like that. There is no one path. There are dozens of ways to use mobile devices to support learners and to have them take charge of their own learning. So, if you are looking for a simple definition of mobile learning, there simply isn’t one.

If you are interested in the concept of rhizomatic learning, Dave has organized a group on Mendeley that has more than 100 members and has already posted more than 100 items to share. Dave’s blog, subtitled “education, post structuralism and the rise of the machines,” is also well worth following.

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Gary Woodill is a senior analyst with Float, as well as CEO of i5 Research. He has been involved with computers in education since 1974, when he was introduced to the PLATO system for computer-assisted instruction in his master’s studies in educational psychology. In 1984, Gary received a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto, and in 1993 he co-founded an educational multimedia company that developed educational CD-ROMs for children. In 1998, he designed an adaptable learning management system and has developed more than sixty online courses for various corporate clients. Gary is co-author of Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds and author of The Mobile Learning Edge, both published by McGraw-Hill in 2010. He is also the author of numerous articles, research reports, and white papers on emerging learning technologies.

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On September 7, 2013

2 Responses to Rhizomatic Learning – A New Metaphor for How We Learn

  1. […] Rhizomatic Learning – A New Metaphor for How We Learn […]

  2. […] learning > shared references.  I spotted the Cynefin quadrant graphic – Gary Woodill – and went back into Dave Cormier (2012).  The Cynefin Framework was something I had started to […]

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