Skip to content

Emergent meaning or prescription?

Dave Snowden’s recent post on emergent meaning or prescription reflects what many of us have been saying about education: “new approaches that have become possible since technology matured from process control and information flow to the networked, fragmented and semi-structured worlds of social computing. Here as communication flow increases, patterns of meaning start to emerge.” When information is bounded in courses, books, newspapers and other frameworks that are established by experts, the primary mode of interaction is intended to be absorption. The predominant view is that information can be known, packaged, and communicated. Through social media, information is increasingly fragmented. Frameworks created to communicate no longer have the pull they once did. Hence, even the concept of a course can be questioned. What if meaning emerges as a by-product of interaction…rather than something that exists externally (in the head of an expert) and is then communicated to prospective learners? What if coherence of subject matter is produced individually, rather than externally? This – or something close to it – is the fundamental change higher education needs to understand.

One Comment

  1. Virginia Yonkers wrote:

    If meaning emerges as a by product of interaction and exists outside of the head of the expert, then what role does the expert have and is an “expert” (i.e. Ph.d in a subject matter) needed at the university level? Shouldn’t we start changing the requirements of the university professor as one that is a master educator rather than an expert in his or her field? And if that’s the case, what will be the role of the Ph.d. in our society?

    Monday, May 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink