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 several 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 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 learning. So, if you are looking for a simple definition of mobile learning, there isn’t one.

If you are interested in the concept of rhizomatic learning, Dave has organized a group on Mendeley that has over 100 members and has already posted over 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. Gary conducts research and market analyses, as well as assessments and forecasting for emerging technologies. Gary is the co-editor of "Mastering Mobile Learning," author of “The Mobile Learning Edge,” and the co-author of “Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds.” He also presents at conferences and is the author of numerous articles and research reports on emerging learning technologies. Gary holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Toronto.

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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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