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Jay Cross helps people work and live smarter. Jay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.

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Authentic three-way conversation


posted on
June 27th, 2011
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Just Jay

It’s so trendy I’m getting tired of it, but “it all depends on the context.”

Jay, I’m a bit confused. When you say “it’s so trendy” are you referring to the meme or what? I sort of lost the continuity of the conversation here. Perhaps that is why I have very mixed feelings about threaded conversations. LOL

Trendy = Everyone seem to be repeating the mantra that context is everything. It’s said so often it has lost all meaning. This is analogous to people twenty years ago saying “It’s a communications problem.” At the heart of it, everything is. Similarly, without context, there is no meaning. The observation is becoming social noise.

That’s just my opinion. I may be wrong.

Hm, I’d probably push back a bit. When someone raises context, that seems like an invitation to really dig into what is going on. I think it is difficult for people to focus, to take the time to have those conversations. That’s why “boxed training” is so appealing. It gives the sense they have a “get out of jail free” card for actually dealing with context. Trendy is perhaps our avoidance of actually productively using and working with context.

Maybe we need to push harder on these “code words.”

For me, in reference to effective teaching, we can’t stop talking about context or the need to provide it as part of our instructional plan. Michael Allen said, “There is no such thing as a bored learner. If a student is bored, little learning is going on.”  Helping students see the context of what we are teaching, and how it fits into their lives, is usually the short path the teaching relevance and non-boring instruction.

But maybe you weren’t talking about that.

No, I recognize the importance, indeed the necessity, of context. But to hear over and over again that it all depends on the context generally adds nothing to the discussion.

Yeah, I get that.

“it depends” is something I have been told is part of “academia” as I pursue my PHD. I hear that all the time. And it seems to be important not to be sure about much and use terms that basically say, “You don’t know for sure, but this research suggests….” “It depends” is part of that I guess.

 

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