Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Planning--created or self-organizing systems.

Planning for CNL—created or self-organizing systems.

In the "walled garden" of structured learning and working, one may be assigned to a pre-existing or pre-determine group. However, in the new social operating system (S.0.S.) we can use our resources to decide who we want to work together and either invite or allow for self-organizing systems to emerge.
One of the most important aspects of planning is the issue of trust and credibility in the S.O.S.

Trust and credibility—in the social operating system
One important aspect of the planning process is who to include in the collaboration. If the collaboration is planned with invited participants, then the organizer can invite the participants based on there interest , knowledge or wiliness. If an existing group, takes on a new goal, then the members would be in place and the focus shifts to planning the process of collaboration. If the group is open to others who might want to participate, then an open public announcement might solicit members.

Trust and credibility—in the newly formed group.
One of the most challenging issues for groups, who are newly formed, is to tackle how the members view one another. Can I trust the other individual? Is what they have to say credible? How do we form these judgments if we do not have previous knowledge or association with the members. In the past, we might have asked friends if they knew anything about the person(s) and what they thought of them. We mind also have consulted co-workers, or co-learners who see if they had collaborated with a person before the current grouping. We might also search for background information such as blog posts, co-published project reports or profiles in a social network.
Trust and credibility--among our connections. When using our social operating system we move one step beyond our own simple search of our social network, we might begin to take advantage of “social operating systems” which will show us the connections and linkages operating among any given group of co-learners, with an active past of learning and working.

Planning—Determining goal structure

Planning—Determining goal structure

I wanted to address a rather critical difference between CNL groups and the traditional educational and work worlds. In a CNL group the members share a cooperative goal structure. The cooperative structures contrast with two other structures--competitive and individualistic. Here are the differences to consider.
• A cooperative goal structure is the desired norm for CNL. The Johnson bothers have been writing about and researching these differences as a major focus of their academic and publishing careers. In a cooperative group members see a positive cor¬relation among group members' goal attainments- that is, they perceive that they can achieve their goal if and only if the other members with whom they are linked obtain their goal. I think it is important to add the concept of interdependence here as well. For example, when a group lifts a heavy object or members of a software development team integrate and debug a new application, all members experience the success.
• Competitive goal are not as effective for CNL. In a competitive situation, there is a negative correlation; members perceive that they can obtain their goals only if other members fail to obtain their goal. We create winners and we create losers but don’t really create a cohesive group working toward a common, shared goal.
• The individualistic goal structure is inappropriate for CNL. In contrast to these two group goal structures is the individu¬alistic goal structure common in many learning environments. The individual is rewarded for his/her own achievement and the achievement is generally unrelated to that of others. I do believe it is possible for individuals to self-direct their own experiences but it is not the goal for CNL.
CNL groups are based on a shared cooperative goal structure. As work occurs more and more in teams requiring the combined expertise of different members, the cooperative goal structure of CNL is more likely to support the overall goals of work group process than highly competitive or individualistic approaches.

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1998) Learning Together and Alone: Cooperative, Competitive, and Individualistic Learning (5th Edition) (Paperback), New York: Allyn & Bacon.