Rhizomatic education

From the Elluminate discussion on Wednesday I thought this sounded interesting, as, if I have understood this correctly, it does seem that a negotiated curriculum could be a stumbling block for the adoption of a theory of connectivism in Higher Ed.

However, the Connectivism course site seems to be down today and I can’t access the article from there, so I’ll have to troll around on the internet and find it there.

Found it!

Cormier D (2008) Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum http://davecormier.com/edblog/2008/06/03/rhizomatic-education-community-as-curriculum/

This is an interesting article, but I’m not sure that it says anything particularly new. Basically it argues that ‘the need for external validation of knowledge either by an expert or by a constructed curriculum’, can be dispensed with.  The curriculum can be constructed by the learners.

Are we then to dispense with assessment as well? It’s not new that students want control over their learning; they want to follow their individual interests and carve their own path. But my experience is that they also want to know how well they have done, and quite often, if not very often, they want to know how they measure up against their peers. So do we also dispense with this in this model of rhizomatic education?

3 thoughts on “Rhizomatic education

  1. dave cormier September 19, 2008 / 12:51 pm

    Agreed… not terrifyingly new.

    no, i don’t think we need to completely dispense with evaluation, but I also think that their desire to ‘measure up against their peers’ is partially informed by the fact that our educational system has trained them to want to look that way. This makes the transition to the ‘real’ non-school world very difficult. There are few systems for comparitive evaluation in most people’s lives… and being able to assess how your doing by yourself is far more valuable than having someone else tell you that you might be better than the person sitting next to you.

    Really a great question… might follow up further on this on the blog tonight



  2. jennymackness September 19, 2008 / 1:02 pm

    Thanks Dave – I look forward to reading more on your blog.

    One further thought from me. What about inherent competitiveness – or is this a learned behaviour rather than inherent?

    Some people seem naturally competitive and these are the people who need to measure themselves against others. In many cases, it seems to help them learn.


  3. dave cormier September 19, 2008 / 2:23 pm


    and I happen to be one of those people… but I can find a way to compete without it being designed into the curriculum. The idea of ‘competition’ in this sense presumes that there is ‘one answer’ and we can measure ourselves against it. This is true in some cases… these are not the cases the article is meant to offer help with. If you are memorizing your timetables… by all means, make it a competition. If you are trying to develop a marketing plan for a non-profit organization, however, it’s pretty tough to decide whose plan is ‘better’.

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