1. The Education Challenge
The increasing changes in the globalized world and its fast process of scientific and technological modernization have demanded new and contextualized actions to further public policies with concrete expressions in the social areas, particularly in health and education.
These scenarios of changes find support in the Brazilian Federal Constitution of 1988 which, by stating health as a right for everyone, establishes the social rights to health and education, among others, and attributes to the State the responsibility of human resource training, necessary for the implementation of the Unique Health System (called SUS).
In education, constitutional determinations are explicit in the law that rules on national education which support the educational process in higher education through competency and skills development; cultural, technical and scientific improvement of the subject; flexibilization of the curricular programs;and the implementation of innovative pedagogic projects, in a perspective of change.
These premises appoint the need to restructure courses, through the construction of Curricular Guidelines for every Undergraduate Course.
In the medical area, the National Curricular Guidelines for Medical Courses (NCG/MC)1 evidence the need for commitment to the principles of the Brazilian Health Reform, with emphasis on the SUS and guarantees as to the comprehensiveness of care actions, and define the fundamental principles for the development of professionals who are critical and reflexive, inserted in the historical-social context, disciplined with ethical principles and able to intervene in health care problems/situations, which public health care is part of.
The NCG suggest the use of Active Methodologies of teaching-learning to reach pedagogical objectives in a way to develop critical and reflexive physicians.
For classroom coursers the medical schools adopt the PBL (Problem Based Learning) as methodology. However, once students engage as physicians, the continuing and permanent education, required for their career, e-learning is the great option mainly due place and time flexibility, but currently e-learning in health researches shows a terrible deconstructions of e-learning and its ecologies, citing a few:
E-learning contents have fixed texts like books , but, knowledge in medical areas are drastically changed every day, in search areas as therapeutic, knowledge is 90 % renewed each six months, so, fixed texts is are NOT acceptable.
Some E-Learning trying to improve “Text books” adding videos and audios, however, poor attractive, low motivated and sometimes neither instructive , boring the student;
– Poor integration and low feedback neither tutor and others students, so, we can observe that e-learning, itself an Active Methodology, is deconstructed, becoming a passive learning tool, detaching any possibility to add value and to develop critical and reflective practitioners as required by National Curricular Guidelines for Medical Courses.
- ‘Parse’ the Ecology of Rhizomatic Learning
2.1Rhizome concept Rhizome is a philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and FélixGuattari in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972-1980) project. It is what Deleuze calls an “image of thought”, based on the botanical rhizome, that apprehends multiplicities.
Deleuze and Guattari use the terms “rhizome” and “rhizomatic” to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation.
The concept of rhizome follows the 6 principles2:
1 and 2: Principles of connection and heterogeneity: “…any point of a rhizome can be connected to any other, and must be,”.
- Principle of multiplicity: only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive, “multiplicity” that it ceases to have any relation to the One.
- Principle of a signifying rupture: a rhizome may be broken, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines
5 and 6: Principle of cartography and decalcomania: a rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model; it is a “map and not a tracing”
2.2 Rhizomatic Education – The rhizome theory applied to e-learning
Internet is a big rhizome, social network and peoples are part of that, there are connections and heterogeneity, so, for rhizomatic education social networks should be used for learning, people can create communities of learning in social networks, members altogether create knowledge where multiple is effectively treated as a substantive of learning, however, rhizome may be broken, new members can be joined to the community, new social network can be used for learning, anytime, because, rhizome there is no begin neither end, just the middle, the knowledge can be redesigned like a map, knowledge can be detached, shared with other, rhizome creates a rupture with traditional model of schooling, walls, desks, chairs, professors, and so on.
Dave Cormie, in his paper, “Rhizomatic Learning: Community as Curriculum”3, defends that the existence of a curriculum pre-defined, contents developed by an external “specialist” out of the community of learning, no make more sense, once the Nomads “Members”, must decide which knowledge is useful for them and case needed the Nomads can move and migrate between communities, be more participate in one, more listener in others.
- The Underlying Learning Theory: Using the seven affordances framework45
3.1Ubiquitous Learning: Learning anytime, anywhere, anyhowRhizomatic learning is ubiquitous learning, once it is based on communities of learning in social network, learners can learning anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Rhizomatic learning explores Spatio-Temporal Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome Principles: 1 and 2.
3.2 Active Knowledge Making: Designing meanings
Rhizomatic learning is totally learner as knowledge producer, is active knowledge making, communities nomads are responsible to take decisions and decide which knowledge will be learned, Community as Curriculum. Rhizomatic learning suggest to each communities individuals (“Nomads”) have their own blog and share, because when they write to a blog they absorbing and when share they replicate knowledge with others, the meaning is designed by them, therefore, there are also collective design meaning, called in rhizomatic learning “Collective Singularity”, where the community designing meanings. Rhizomatic learning allows Nomads and the community to explore Epistemic Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome Principles: 1, 2 for nomads designing meanings and 3 for communities design meaning.
Dave Cormie Rhizomatic Learning principles: Community as Curriculum and Collective Singularity.
3.3 Multimodal Meaning: Text, Image, sound and data altogether
Multimodal Meaning is intrinsic in rhizomatic learning, the nomads and the community decide which resources medias and social networks (connection and heterogeneity) will be better for their learning and represent theirs ideas, so, it explores Discursive Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome Principles: 1 and 2.
3.4 Recursive feedback: formative assessment
Rhizomatic learning is fully recursive feedback, community as curriculum is uncertain, Nomads needs discuss in forum, chat, videoconference, and/or others social networks their future, exchanging and getting feedback about their ideas, therefore, Nomads blogs, allows to get feedback personalized feedback about the post. Tutor who is just an experienced nomad of community, but part of that, when formal assessment required, tutor can perform a formative assessment, verifying individuals and community knowledge developed, not just quantitative, but specially qualitative. Rhizomatic Learning can explore the Evaluative Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
3.5 Collaborative intelligence: knowledge you can reach for and use
Rhizomatic learning uses the collaborative intelligence, and it can be described by principle of multiplicity, that only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive, the Collective Singularity knowledge, the knowledge job produced be the community explores the Social Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome principle: 3
3.6 Metacognition: Thinking about thinking
Rhizomatic learning is pure metacognitive, the knowledge developed by the individuals and by the community is like a map.
“The rhizome is an antigenealogy. It is a short-term memory, or antimemory. The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture, offshoots. Unlike the graphic arts, drawing or photography, unlike tracings, the rhizome pertains to a map that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable, connectible, reversible, modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight.” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 21)
Rhizomatic learning fully explorer the Cognitive Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome Principles: 5 and 6.
3.7 Differentiated Learning: each according their interest and need
Rhizomatic learning is individual customization of learning, that is the reason that community individuals is called “Nomads”, Nomads explore the knowledge useful for them in one community or more communities at same time or not, in according their interest and need, personalizing the learning to themselves, learning, rupturing with own learning, re-learning, constructing the own knowledge map. Rhizomatic learning follows the Diversity Dimensions of Learning.
Rhizome Principle: 4, 5 and 6.
- The Technology or Learning Process in Practice: rhizomatic learning in Medical Education
How rhizomatic learning can improve and develop competences in Brazilians health practioners and physicians as required by National Curricular Guidelines for Medical Courses?
Rhizomatic Education uses the whole e-learning ecologies bringing e-learning back to the real virtual word, to the reality, to the social network, to natural environment of today students, the learning happens naturally, accessed from any gadget, anytime, anywhere.
Rhizomatic Education prepares students to work with uncertain, students in each steps must thinking, take decisions, discuss, listen, writing better to convince, dialog, accept differences developing individual and work group competences, rhizomatic education in not content focus, contents is in abundance in the net, rhizomatic learning focus is, how student can find these contents, how to filter that, how to convince others about that, and so on.
4.1 The Study Case
Currently is running a rhizomatic course about alcohol and drugs, in the following social networks:
P2PU (Peer 2 Peer University) – Official course site, here weekly course syllabus is updated based on community decision who defines which topics must be learned in that a week.
Facebook: Alcohol and drugs, discussion group, the Forum. Here is the most dynamic community area. In Facebook, Nomads express their opinion and ideas about the weekly topic, post links about their individual blog posts.
Blogger: Nomads create their own blog space for individual design thinking.
Google+: Some tools is used when needed, as an example Hangout for Nomads conferences.
Twitter: Used for Nomads to share their blog posts with others, including their followers out of community, bringing knowledge outside the school walls, breaking it.
5. Critical Reflection
Brazilian recent research in e-learning for continued and permanent education in health shows that there are missing pedagogical orientation to e-learning in Brazilian medical education, so, rhizomatic learning comes to solve these problems, it is bringing an innovate teach-learning solution for e-learning in general, however, we have to consider a weakness point, rhizomatic learners must like of social media culture and they need/desire to have affinity with computers and/or gadgets, characteristics developed indigital natives people, persons who were born after rise of internet and its revolution, however, people before that, the digital immigrants, can got several difficulties and do not enjoy the learning process created by rhizomatic environment.
Rhizomatic Learning is a Distributed Collective6 mode of learning, and is extremely important to understanding some Key Characteristics of that.
5.1 Key Characteristics for Rhizomatic Learners:
5.1.1 Learning Goals
Learners learn what is of interest to them and to members of their learning network.
By taking both learning and teaching roles, members of the learning network maintain the network’s strength as a community.
5.1.2 Responsibility for Learning
Communal learning is directed by shared values, interests, and preferences.
Individuals choose what to learn based on the established goals of a learning community; if those goals appeal, the individuals can choose to engage with and support them.
5.1.3 How Learning Happens
- · Learning is an inherent biological imperative; people never stop learning.
- · Learners acquire knowledge and also teach what they know to others.
- · Learners must make sense of competing and diverse sources of knowledge, skill and expertise.
5.1.4 Social Structure
- · Learning occurs through social interactions, as they are diverse, distributed sources of knowledge and skills.
- · Learning is a natural human behavior that happens best when we engage with others and, in so doing, improve our individual and communal abilities.
5.1.5 Defining Success
- · Success is determined by the learning community and its members, and is based on communal interests and priorities.
- · Success is also seen in how efficiently and meaningfully individuals can access, learn from, and contribute to various communities.
5.2 Key Characteristics for Tutors:
Being a successful Tutor in a rhizomatic learning environment means identifying and supporting the common values, beliefs, and goals that bind the learning community together, often it means openness to sharing ownership of an educational vision with the community.
5.2.1 Values of Tutor in Rhizomatic Learning
- Inspires individuals and organizations with common interests to operate in networked relationships.
- · Recognizes shared community values and articulates them within the community and the larger world.
- · Identifies community members’ resources, and motivates members to share them.
- · Brings resources from the external world into the community while maintaining community norms and standards.
6. Conclusions and Recommendations
Internet is a great rhizome, e-learning is part of that, but unfortunately, we know that there are many low quality e-learning, similar as schooling, they have fixed syllabus based on schooling classes with their obsolete texts, “specialists” developing contents, driving what people need to learn or not, making decisions for that, with focus in contents, applying summative assessment and so on.
This is unacceptable for current days, mainly in the current digital world, where virtuality is reality and reality is virtuality.
Universities must review of e-learning concept, and this course is presenting an framework in this directions, that observes the world changes and the changes in its eco-systems as education, technology, economy, social and political and theirs aspects, so, e-learning ecologies understand that changing and create a proposal to change together, shaping the meaning of learning to the current work map, but as a map, ready to be detachable, connectible, reversible, modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight in the world.
REFERENCES1. Educaçao M da. Diretrizes Curriculares Nacionais do Curso de Graduaçao em Medicina. 2001.
2. Deleuze, G., and F. Guatarri. 1987. A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. London: University of Minnesota Press.
3. Cormier D. Rhizomatic education : Community as curriculum. Innovate 4 (5). 2008. Available at: http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=550 (accessed June 2, 2008).
4. Kalantzis M, Cope B. New Learning Elements of a Science of Education. 2nd Editio. (Cambridge, ed.).; 2012.
5. Cope B, Kalantzis M. E-Learning Ecologies, Massive Open Online Course, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.(2014). Available at: https://www.coursera.org/course/elearning.
6. Gregory R. Anrig. HarvardX: GSE2x Leaders of Learning. Available at: Leaders of Learning on edX: https://www.edx.org/course/harvardx/harvardx-gse2x-leaders-learning-1729.