I’m a fan of dichotomies, recognizing very well the weaknesses they hold. A dichotomy is a way of pinning points of thought. Hopefully, once these points have been pinned, we can start to explore the nuances and gradients that exist between these positions.
Consider learning: it can be organized for us or we, as individuals, can organize ourselves. Of course, it’s not that black and white, but it does help to frame the discussion. In higher education, we have largely ignored the self-organizing aspect of learner activity. We’ve got the “how to try and control learners and curriculum” down pat. I think we’re uncomfortable, however, in recognizing that learner self-organization is a viable and reasonable approach to structuring knowledge growth (personally and collectively). I tackle that in the presentation below (btw, if you’re reading this live, the presentation is being streamed here):