Nova Southeastern University Summer Institute Instructional Technology and Distance Education July 15 - 19, 2001
For a second year in a row, the Learning Development Institute was present at the Summer Institute of Nova Southeastern University's Instructional Technology and Distance Education (ITDE) programs, held at the Wyndham Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
FOUR ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS ON "LEARNING: THE DISPOSITION FOR DIALOGUE IN A WORLD OF CHANGE"
One-day workshops were conducted on four consecutive days for all final-year students of the ITDE programs on the theme of "Learning: The disposition for dialogue in a world of change." The focus in these workshops was on the connection between what the students, who are in their final year of studies, have learned and the emerging vision of learning as a lifelong disposition to dialogue for constructive interaction with change. The general focus in the students' training having been on the facilitation of learning in instructional settings, the LDI workshops helped students relate their knowledge to other modalities of promoting and facilitating learning. They also provided them with the opportunity to critically assess the place of what they had learned in the broader framework of lifespan human development.
PANEL DISCUSSION ON "CHANGING LEARNING - LEARNING TO CHANGE"
Additionally, a panel discussion on the theme "Changing Learning - Learning to Change" took place in which the following panelists, listed alphabetically, participated:
- Ron Burnett (President, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada)
- Fabio Chacon (Corporate Training Manager, INTESA, Caracas, Venezuela, and Adjunct Professor, Nova Southeastern University, ITDE programs)
- Ray Ferrero (President, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
- Otto Peters (Emeritus Professor, Fernuniversität, Hagen, Germany).
The panel was chaired and the discussion facilitated by:
- Jan Visser (President, Learning Development Institute).
The following BACKGROUNDER for the panel discussion was written by Jan Visser.
Over the past decades - particularly the last decade - important debate has been raised about the need to rethink the roles of learning and knowledge and thus also how centers involved in the promotion/facilitation of learning and the production of knowledge (such as universities) should adapt to the circumstances of our time. Some of the factors that are related to this debate are:
- The broadening context in which people and their organizations function, expressed, among other ways, in the idea of globalization.
- The exponential growth of change (also referred to as the increasing rate of change), leading to a reduced usability half-life of often painfully acquired skills and thus the need to focus on adaptive ability in the self-directed development of skills instead of a once-in-a-lifetime preparation for the rest of one's life.
- The increased importance of access and ability to work with knowledge as a production factor.
The explosive growth of the world population, combined with increased awareness of the limits of the earth's available resources; increased power and depth of human intervention in the environment; growing interconnectedness of people, communities, organizations and societies as well as of their actions and thus also the interrelatedness of problems we create for each other, resulting in the need for the development of collective responsibility in co-managing ourselves and our resources.
- The existence of crucial (i.e. life-threatening) problems of a global nature (such as related to the care for the environment, sustainable development, peaceful ways of living together) whose management depends on each individual's constructive engagement with them, calling for the reconsideration of the role of society in generating wisdom, caring for its spiritual resources, and creating a framework for ethical and aesthetic considerations.
- The increased technological capability to communicate, interact with sources of knowledge, and engage in participatory processes of problem solving without the need to be in the same place.
Against the background of changed circumstances as alluded to above, panelists will each contribute with some five briefly formulated statements/questions, phrased in such a way that they are likely to generate debate, not only among the panelists, but also among and with the attending public.
At the start of the session, each panelist will have approximately seven minutes to elaborate on the issues touched upon in their brief statements and to argue why, in their view, those issues are key to the debate of how learning should change and how we should change to learn. This will take up approximately the first half hour of the session.
The remaining full hour of the session will then be used for debate. This debate will not be the traditional Q&A between audience and panel. Rather, the audience will be stimulated to emulate the role of the panel during the first half hour and come up with their own views. Such views can either be totally independent of the contributions already made by the panelists; they can also be reflections on the statements by others, be they panelists or members of the audience. (In fact, the terms "panelists" and "audience" are not very appropriate here. They are merely used to distinguish between the people who have been asked to sit behind a table and others, the larger group, who sit in the hall.) In the process, every attempt will be made by the moderator to redirect and refocus issues so as to create interaction among the various contributors to the debate. Considering the number of attendees there are limits to the extent to which this is possible. However, the panelists and the moderator must try to push those limits.
Pointers to Background Reading
Panelists and attendees are encouraged to explore their own connections to the relevant literature (including electronic documentation). Just as a starter, here are some pointers that me be helpful.
In 1998 UNESCO held a World Conference on Higher Education. Relevant documentation about this conference and the recommendations made, including the
"World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-first Century: Vision and Action," can be found at http://www.unesco.org/education/educprog/wche/index.html.
In February 1997, the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research and Study (CIRET) in Paris, France, published documentation (most in French) related to a collaborative project with UNESCO on the "Transdisciplinary Evolution of the University." This documentation is available at http://perso.club-internet.fr/nicol/ciret/bulletin/b9et10.htm.
It is also worth reading:
Awbrey, S. M. & Scott, D. K. (October 1994). Knowledge into wisdom: Incorporating values and beliefs to construct a wise university. To Improve the Academy 13 (Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education), pp. 161-176. Using a slightly adapted title, this article is available on the World Wide Web at http://www2.oakland.edu/research/ciu/Improve_1994.htm.
Relevant links to multiple articles by a variety of authors can also be found at the Web site of the Learning Development Institute (http://www.learndev.org), particularly those that were generated in the context of the Meaning of Learning (MOL) project.
Ronald A. T. Judy touches upon interesting related issues from the perspective of Black intellectuals in American society in a 2000 article in Boundary 2 on "Untimely intellectuals and the University," a Web-based version of which is available at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/boundary/v027/27.1judy.html.
Worth reading is also a 1999 paper by Gavriel Salomon with the title "Higher education facing the challenges of the information age." It is available on the World Wide Web at http://construct.haifa.ac.il/~gsalomon/highedu.htm.
Some worthwhile books are:
Gibbons, M., Scott, P., Nowotny, H., Limoges, C., Schwartzmann, S., & Trow, M. (Eds.). (1994). The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London, UK: Sage Publications.
Maxwell, N. (1984). From knowledge to wisdom: A revolution in the aims and methods of science. London, UK: Basil Blackwell.
Reich, R. B. (1991). The work of nations. New York, NY: Vintage Books.