Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Facilitation of Learning--Intra-personal Communication

At this time I feel it is important to start focusing on the communication processes that can facilitate learning. The facilitator could be another learner or a designated group leader(teacher). First, the intra-personal processes are those that occur within the mind of the learner as s/he formulates and explores the meaning of new concepts. Here are some directly applicable strategies to facilitate intra-personal communication. Besides individual willingness and an overall supportive context, the facilitator can support the learning process directly with a number of specific strategies.

Messages which facilitate intra-personal communication

Encouraging representation and articulation of tentative constructs.

Facilitation messages encourage formulation and representation of tentative constructs, based upon the current state of understanding. The facilitator would also encourage learners to look for patterns as well as support the individual as s/he attempts to formulate new patterns to encompass ‘’new’’ information which no longer fits previous understanding. The facilitator supports and encourages the learner to continue the intra-personal process. The individual learner may only feel comfortable representing these tentative understandings for himself. The facilitator can encourage the process without requesting that the learner engage in premature interpersonal communication.

Probing for additional examples or observations.

A facilitator can support learners by helping them discover or experience additional information or instances of events within knowledge areas in which they are working. For example, if my only exposure to software tools utilized a directory and file structure, I might induce that this structure was the only way computers organized information. However, through exposure to other systems I might formulate a different tentative hypothesis and then continue to refine that hypothesis as part of my on-going learning process.
Encouraging use of representational tools.

Often times the individual can learn through the aid of a representational tool which allows them to map out their thoughts. Depending upon preference, the learner may use written words, pictures or spoken words, to formulate and communicate ideas for his/her own consumption before the ideas are ready for public consumption. Ideally in a collaborative network learning environment, the tools for self representation should feed directly into the shared network. Individuals would then have an opportunity to test out ideas with others.

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