I planned to write a post comparing Siemens’ approach (learning development cycle) with the Salmon model discussed earlier this week. But I must admit I didn’t get that much from the Siemens’ paper. I’m worried that I’m not understanding it right, but it didn’t seem to be saying very much about learner support. Hopefully someone else will be able to enlighten me!
I did wonder however whether my interpretation of this is as not being particularly new is partly coloured by having mainly taught philosophy. Towards the end of the paper Siemens says:
“After several experiences with alternative learning formats, the liberation of not having to have all the answers, but rather guiding learners towards answers, is an intoxicating (and motivating) revelation.”
The kind of teaching alluded to in the quote above is exactly what teaching philosophy is all about. You can’t claim to teach philosophy by providing all of the answers, because philosophy is not knowledge, it is a skill, a way of thinking and reasoning and analysing that can be applied to any other field. After all, that’s what the Socratic method is all about. So this kind of teaching, even in HE, is not that new. This isn’t to say that Siemens isn’t right in calling for this kind of teaching to be more widespread, and supported and recognised, but just to point out that in some subject areas it may be more common that he recognises, and have been for a long long time.