Jenny - very interesting and challenging questions. I have inserted my thoughts below, but I must warn that I am taking a different approach from that of the teacher/trainer. I am looking at these questions from the point of view of someone assessing whether or not emergent learning has occurred whether that be the teacher, the learner or someone/something that benefits from any learning that has emerged:
- Is it possible to assess emergent learning? How do you 'capture' learning that is not expected? How do you measure or value it? Are these the right questions or are they flawed?
This is an interesting question because it depends on what is being measured and valued - what it is that has been 'learned', how the learning took place, or the gap between what the individual knew before and what he/she knows now. The last two are very easy to evaluate, but it would be far more difficult to evaluate what has been 'learned', mostly because of the "I knew that!" factor. How often have we realised that we already knew something but have never articulated it before? I know I quite often read in order to more fully understand what I already know, so is this emergent learning or transformative learning? And how do we know?
- Would it be possible to ask for emergent learning as a result of a course? Would EL be expected when a student is doing synchronously two courses in different fields?
Hopefully this is the main reason why we would use androgogical processes to facilitate learning rather than pedogogical. Moreover, if a student is doing two different courses one would hope that he/she learned things in one which would have application in the other - for example commerce and law, physics and medicine, business and education, and so on.
- What is the purpose of the assessment? To provide meaningful feedback to the learner?
It depends on what the assessment is of. If we accept that we can assess emergent learning (and we don't seem to be wholly agreed on this) then, yes, assessment can be meaningful to the learner - but more particularly to those designing the processes whereby the learning is emergent.
Wy indeed. Surely if we are able to measure emergent learning we are to redefine what we mean by emergent?
- Is diagnostic reasoning the same as emergent learning? Can we afford to have our doctors' knowledge be emergent as they practice on us?
I would hope my doctor's knowledge is enhanced while he is practicing (is that the right word??) on me. After all, if we accept that as biological beings our health is emergent then hopefully his knowledge is capable of keeping up. I certainly don't want stock standards answers to all my ailments :-)
- One thought I have is that ‘learning’ overall is about some kind of change .... So maybe somehow the question is ... Can the Change be 'described' / measured / reported ....?
Does learning have to be about change? I mean, can't it be about learning that, for example, something does not need to change? Or is that change in itself - that is, changing from a state of unknown to a state of known?
- I prefer the notion of assessing learning against self, but how could this work from a teacher/trainer's point of view?
Measure self at start, measure progress, measure end result at a particular point in time. Professional sports people do it all the time.
- I would venture that all learning involves a transformation of identity. As it is mostly gradual this is not sufficiently recognised. Take a moment to think about it in your own terms.Then think about the absurdity of assessing that change against externally imposed criteria. Who are you working for when you do that? Whose agenda?
You have just described one of the most significant failures of nearly every VET system in the world. They do not measure and value transformation but adherance to an externally imposed set of standards. The VET systems in doing so are working to a government agenda (ie, the Minister being able to stand up and tell the country how well he/she is spending our money).
- What happens when the "emergent learning artefact" is a behaviour, or an attitude, or something so ingrained that the artefact is the learner?
Should anything happen, or do we just accept?
- Does emergent learning have to produce something unique or odd?
I don't know about odd, but isn't all emergent learning unique? It is like the old saying that you can never step into the same river twice - ever step is unique because the river is constantly moving. Besides, if it isn't unique can it be called learning?
- The difficult question is What is New or what is Unique.
What is the difference?
- How do we get to the person as product of themselves over person as "product" of education. Before we claim that something we did caused learning we need evidence they were listening to us. Would this be an Artifact?
I honestly don't believe there is such a thing as a 'product of education'. I believe (as do others) that we have learned all we need to know by the age of 4-5. After that we spend the rest of our lives using this knowledge to manipulate the environment in which we exist in order to achieve the future that we desire. Your next question is an example of this. Emergent learning, therefore, is centred on becoming who you want to be - or are prepared to be given the circumstances in which you exist.
- "just tell me what I need to do . . .". This is not only the attitude of students but professors - rubrics so that they can quantify the learning in some way and they tell themselves they are moving from subjectivity to objectivity - and what happened to expert opinion? How to get to the "rethinking of education?"
By making sure that the professors, as well as the learners, are open to their own emergent learning. Too many are stuck to certain paradigms or knowledge and won't budge despite evidence which fails to support their contentions. If you have a teacher who is also an emergent learner you have one very excited, happy and self-actualising person.