Guerrilla Research into Rhizomatic Learning

guerrilla-marketing-gorilla-in-disguise (Source of image:

Martin Weller’s recent post about The Art of Guerrilla Research – so completely describes my personal experience of research, i.e. research undertaken by small independent groups who are up against larger forces (up against those larger funded research groups, who are usually associated with an institution, and also up against the recent focus on ‘big data’). With one or two exceptions, the research I have been involved in has never been funded and has been qualitative or mixed methods research.

Martin is going to be talking about this in a Masterclass workshop that he will be running for the ELESIG community in 10 days time. Wish I could be there, but because I am not funded, I cannot justify travelling for more than 6 hours for a 3 hour workshop 🙂  This is one of the hazards of Guerrilla Research. I hope the session will be recorded.

In a post by Russ Unger and Todd Zaki Warfel that Martin references, three characteristics of Guerilla Research are identified – rigor, time, and cost. Russ Unger and Todd Zaki Warfel suggest that Guerilla Research methods may involve less rigor and they take less time and cost less, but they still yield high-quality results. They say that there is probably just enough rigour. I think this is fair comment and in my own case, involved as I am in research into learner experience in open learning environments (principally MOOCs), unless I move fast, then my research is going to be out of date before I have even published it. So rigour has to be balanced with time. But I ‘own’ my time. I am an independent consultant who does research mostly for personal interest. So time for me means getting the research out there fast enough to still be of some consequence. Cost is usually not a factor for me, because I am not paid for it – unless I cost my time – which I don’t!

And this is the case in the Guerrilla Research that I am currently involved in – and that is research into the most recent open course that I have participated in – Dave Cormier’s Rhizomatic Learning – The Community is Curriculum  (Rhizo14) open course.

If you have been a participant in this course, however minimally, my colleagues Frances Bell, Mariana Funes and I would love to hear from you. Please have a look at the survey and have a go at responding. If you don’t like the first three questions, then I think Question 4 is accessible to everyone.

Here is the link to the survey –

And here is a link to my page about the research – 

And I would like to point you to another Guerrilla Research group which has sprung up out of the Rhizo14 course; the auto-ethnography group – who are collecting participants’ stories of their learning journeys in a Googledoc – see

Finally – looking up synonyms for Guerrilla, I find the following terms

  • freedom fighter,
  • underground fighter,
  • irregular soldier,
  • resistance fighter,
  • member of the resistance,
  • partisan

These resonate for me in relation to Rhizo14, but we’d love to hear about your experiences. Please let us know by completing both our survey and the survey of the auto-ethnography group.

And final thanks to Martin Weller for sparking off this post.