Summer Reading – Week 6

This week I read:

Lankshear and Knobel (2011) Ch7: Social Learning, “Push” and “Pull,” and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning

Rodríguez Montequín, V., et al. “Using MBTI for the success assessment of engineering teams in project-based learning.”International Journal of Technology and Design Education, vol. 23, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2013..doi:10.1007/s10798-012-9229-1.

Social Learning, “Push” and “Pull,” and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning

Social Learning

Lankshear and Knobel explore the concept of social learning; the distinction between “push” and “pull” paradigms for mobilizing resources in pursuit of human purposes; and the idea of building “collaboration platforms” for social learning. They consider the idea that “separating learning from ‘authentic’ activity grounded in physical and social contexts and situations, formal education largely defeats its goal of promoting ‘useable, robust knowledge.'”

I was particularly interested in the reference to “useable, robust knowledge.” When I think of “useable knowledge,” I mostly think of using this knowledge on-the-job. Would you rather hire a recent graduate who has learned concepts and theories in a lecture-only environment or would you rather hire a recent graduate who has had hands-on experience (experiential learning/project-based learning) and has a portfolio (proof) of their work? I don’t want someone who can intellectually recite the concepts and theories. I want someone who has experience. When I was in high school, my school offered a program where students spent half the day in school and half the day working a job that related to their studies. The students got to practice what they learned. They had the opportunity to use their knowledge.

Lankshear and Knobel focus more on how people learn than on just what people learn. They focus on the process of learning, not only the product of learning.

Paradigm Shift: From “Push” to “Pull”

In the context of learning, “push” refers to the “supply” model of learning. “Pull” refers to the “demand” approach to learning. There are three levels of “pull”: access, attract, and achieve.

  • Access – access people and resources when we need them. Searching.
  • Attract – attract people and resources that are relevant and important, especially those we previously did not know existed.
  • Achieve – achieve our potential through “grit” – the ability to pull from within the necessary insight and performance needed to achieve one’s potential more effectively.

John Seely Brown with the Deloitte Center for the Edge explains going from “Push” to “Pull” learning.

Building Platforms for Social Learning

Lankshear and Knobel discuss the idea of “learnscapes” where workers can easily find the information and people needed and “where learning is fluid and new ideas flow easily.” This enables workers to make quick and effective learning responses to ever-changing needs and challenges. These platforms may include the go-to people and quality information portals both inside and outside of the organization.

Using MBTI for the Success Assessment of Engineering Teams in Project-Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method that allows students to gain knowledge and skills by working on a long-term project to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. Project Design Elements include:

  • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills
  • Challenging Problem or Question
  • Sustained Inquiry
  • Authenticity
  • Student Voice & Choice
  • Reflection
  • Critique & Revision
  • Public Product

Students must complete significant projects and cope with realistic situations and working conditions. Several factors play a role in a successful outcome of each group. In addition to the technical aspects of the project, the human aspects and group dynamics also have an influence on their final achievements. These dynamics are studied through personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. The MBTI taps into fundamental traits of personality and behavior such as communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and interpersonal relations. Some studies have also connected MBTI profiles with leadership styles. The MBTI can also help us understand things like group dynamics, analyzing shortcomings in an individual’s style and how the style affects the group as a whole. MBTI has been extensively used in Conflict Resolutions, Team Building, Communication Skills, and Understanding.

In this study, Rodríguez Montequín, et al. study how different profile combinations could explain different group dynamics and also predict a group’s success. Knowing more about the team members’ personality, their leadership styles and how different personalities get along or conflict with each other is valuable information when building successful PBL groups. They analyzed the results of eight student groups, studying the influence of the members’ MBTI profiles with the group success. The results suggest that the leadership style associated with the MBTI profile of the group coordinator role and the members’ profile combinations have an influence on the success of the entire group.

I think it is helpful to know the personality types of the members of a group. It can help to build teams that work more efficiently together. If everyone in the group was a high Thinking personality, they would have a great plan but would lack creativity. If everyone on the team were high Intuitives, there would be a flurry of astounding ideas and creativity and nothing would get done. It reminds me of the story of the building of Walt Disney World. “Walt may have dreamed castles, but it was Roy who got them built.”

Many people are familiar with the iconic statue of Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse, but I’m partial to the statue of Walt’s older brother, Roy Disney, seated on a park bench beside Minnie Mouse at the Magic Kingdom. It’s located approximately where Roy stood when he dedicated the park in October 1971 and is called “Sharing the Magic.”


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