Saturday, June 18, 2005


Re: Paradigms in e-learning

From: "Brad Jensen" <[log in to unmask]>

> Subject: Re: [DEOS-L] Paradigms in e-learning
> From: "Farhad Saba" <[log in to unmask]>
> Hi Stephen: Thanks for your response. I appreciate the intellectual challenge.
This lead me to the observation that blogs are the Socratic method

> So far, in human history, scientific evidence has been the best and with all
> the postmodernist argumentation in recent years, it remains to be the best for
> most of the social sciences, including education. Our methods do not need to
> emulate those of physical sciences. As I have demonstrated in Saba (2003) they
> can be based on the American school of pragmatism as inspired by the radical
> empiricism of William James. Otherwise, the truth of all knowledge claims are
> equal; and as such, one would be no more useful than the other for praxis. You
> can choose almost anything as some do in many schools of education :-)

Science is a method, what you are speaking of is a philosophy.

> We have reached a point in our field for this generation to offer some
> evidence for their knowledge claims as Wilbur Schramm, for example, did a
> generation ago for educational television.
> Now as far as new words or phrases, are concerned, if "online" learning, for
> example, is distinguished by the existence of a network, why not call it
> "networked" education or N-learning? Words have meanings. Online conjures up a
> physical line. Network does not.
Only to horse-and-buggy people. I go online all the time without wires, and
everyone around me agrees that is what I am doing, and the experiences I
have and the capabilities I have are the same, all without wires.

I went to a movie with my adult son this evening, and afterwards he said
lets go get a beer (a first for me, he's just out of college) and we went to
a biker bar (another first) near the office, and while talking to me he went
online - on his phone - text messaging (emailing).

Online means connected to a network, wires are irrelevant.

> Further, if "transactional distance" in this environment is different from
> what Moore (1983) has described, is there any
> evidence that show this claim is true? Have there been any studies to
> substantiate this claim and clearly identify the difference not in prose
> analysis, but in substantial testimony? Would you please point me to specific
> articles?
As Dr. Eskow has said, a collection of metaphors, not a scientific theory in
any way.

> I agree that as far as e-Learning, or online learning is concerned, so far we
> have a cluster of fuzzy concepts. Now we have to make the fuzzy clear by
> showing evidence that the list of constructs you have produced are valid as
> discrete measurable, observable entities and that their validity have
> been determined by a reliable method.
It seems to me that the greatest justification for educational

research is to find the best methods, and avoid the worst methods, of
educating students. How should we spend our time and money - and the time
and money of the students.

In the face of rapidly changing technologies and economies of interaction,
it seems that it would be better to make the focus more pragmatic and less

However, the other purpose of educational research is to establish and
maintain the reputations and careers and influence of educators. That
demands theories and more theories.

The notion that a network is not a network because it doesn't have wires,
even though everyone who uses it experiences it the same as a wired network
(and whose users may never even know if they are wired or unwired!) smacks
of Scholasticism.

Is the phone in your kitchen not a phone because it is not wired? Do you
need research to prove this to yourself?

Moore zeroed in on what the educator most feared from the new technology -
the educator's supposed loss of personal interaction and influence on the
student. Actually the digital network has the opposite effect. It supports
more personal and individualized, and more frequent interaction between the
teacher and the student. As long as we are mish-mashing words, we can say
that the real transactional distance is the cost of the transaction of
interaction. Digital processing and networking continues to reduce both the
economic and attentive costs of those transactions, making possible and
likely a richer educational environment for everyone, student and teacher

(People are welcome to research this if they like.)

> With warmest regards Fred
Back at ya.

> Farhad Saba, Ph. D. Professor of Educational Technology San Diego State
> University CEO,
Brad Jensen OKIAJ

(Someone rather affectionately referred to me as the 'Obnoxious, Know-It-All
Jerk' based on my online postings - almost a decade ago now - and I still
rather like it. After you have been called that, most flames and shames
don't count for much.)

Also, in the interests of brevity and with no reputation to enhance or
destroy, I've presented some arguments here rather directly and forcefully,
with no intentions of disrespect to anyone.

I appreciate that you honored academicians engage in conversation with me
from time to time, if only to prevent impressionable minds from straying
down the path I blaze.

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