Suspecting the content to be at fault

In the world of content delivery, the content cannot be at fault for breakdowns in learning. if learning is not happening, it proves the learner has a problem. There is little effort made to diagnose any problem with learners and their disrupted learning because the system is predicated on delivering content. Content delivery systems usually operate at peak capacity without taking the learners' problems into consideration:
  • Facility and schedule constraints dictate when and where the content will be delivered in person, in print, online or on screen.
  • The complexity of the topic dictates how much content must be covered to convey an adequate overview.
  • The quantity of content that must be covered dictates the pace of the delivery.
  • The pace necessitates a cursory treatment of each topic which usually precludes Q&A, sharing of personal examples and open-ended debates.
When learning is not happening, it's assumed the learner was not ready for the material or the challenge of assimilating it. If any correction is made, a better pre-qualifying process is installed to keep out those who are not prepared for, available at the time and compatible with the content. Course listings or broadcast schedules spin the offering in ways to discourage those who will become dissatisfied with the content. Varied consumer preferences get accommodated.

In the context of PLE 1.0, the content is a choice. If it does not work for the learner, different content can be found to explore. There is no "right content" as judged by authoritative standards. All content is subject to personal relevance, as David Weinberger amplified superbly in Everything is Miscellaneous. The content gets selected provisionally by the learner while it 's determined if there is an enduring interest in the subject, motivation to explore it further and connection to other work-in-progress.

PLE 1.0 maintains the premise that learning depends on content. There is a shift from delivered to self-selected content, but no escape from covering the material, grasping ideas and connecting new information to existing constructs. This premise is evident in the numerous diagrams of PLE's that many bloggers created in 2007. Each is a picture of tools and sources gathered to access content for personal learning. The approach to learning has much in common with shopping for items online.

PLE 2.0 puts much more emphasis on problems with ongoing learning and remedies outside the frame of exploring content. Anxiety levels get reduced by resolving malfunctions. Diagnostic protocols can find fault with the content as well as the learner. The content is equally suspect when there is evidence of:
  • the content not getting considered in depth and reflected up for personal relevance, uses and comparisons
  • the content not sinking in or getting internalized for later recall and deployment in a applicable situation
  • the content not making sense and tying into current understandings, models and theories in use
  • the content not spawning further exploration, fascination, questions and hypotheses
In the next post, I'll explore how the content getting delivered or self-selected can induce any and all of these malfunctions.


  1. Thanks for the excellent content...

    Great post and very helpful for me ..

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  2. Thanks for your frames of reference that gave you ways to use what I wrote. Thanks also for the feedback!