Configuring Networked Learning through Kelly's Constructive Alternativism
In the ‘order of things’, our participation is always co-dependent with the participation of others, be they persons, tools, symbols, processes or things. This refers to the alternative ways we channelise the value of our experiences in what Kelly calls constructive alternativism. However, they do not vary in limitless ways. Otherwise a common ground or shared meaning would not be possible at all. This paper explores the commonalities and differences of constructs of students in two university-level courses. The central aim of the study is to elucidate the construct patternings of students based on their own construction or categorisation of face-to-face and online interactions and not to relate these patterns to some pre-established or pre-defined categories and classifications. Data was collected through an open-ended questionnaire with eleven probe questions. The analysis of responses was confined to the main idea of seeking the ‘common sense’ or ‘common ground’ of the relationship between face-to-face and online interactions to provide insight on how networked learning may be enhanced on-campus. It describes the emerging and repeating patterns of constructs among the participants based on two things: 1) how the tutor, task, course and technology are constituted in the students' constructs of teaching and learning as experienced in the practice of teaching and learning; and 2) how the tutors' ‘view’ of their teaching role constitutes firstly, their view of the relation between face-to-face and online interaction and secondly, their use of computer-mediated communication tools (e.g. email, discussion boards) in their teaching practices. The findings show that the configurations of our personal constructs and the ways in which we make meaning are always in relation to others’ constructs and existing social structures and relationships outside a given virtual learning environment contribute to how we proceed to act.
Keywords: Constructive Alternativism, Networked Learning, Personal Constructs
Dr. Judith Enriquez
Assistant Professor, Learning Technologies, University of North Texas