In the process of writing and re-writing an application for funding from Nominet, it struck me that we let Big Data take over, hoover up, and occupy all the space for learning and learning research at our peril. Big Data has a role, sure, but that's no reason to roll over and accept total hegemony.

So, the Big Data guys have done the work to put in place the new data vacuums, to track, analyse and aggregate everything that is happening in the lives of the customer/ learner/ terrorist/ activist / occupy-ist (add to taste), spit that out in a 'profile', and customise, monetise and target them with the next service/ commodity/ tracking device. That's life on the planet. And yes, I do use Chrome and even Amazon.

But the same connectivity and social media that provide the affordances for these quantitative analytics - of the post-neo-con 'quantitative self' - can just as well be used by people to explore, capture, share and aggregate their own tacit knowledge of experience, learning and practice - which is what we have been working on for some years in Nested Narratives (in this wiki) and in Footprints of Emergence.

The 'new-open' affordances of social media (which Tim Berners-Lee is lobbying to turn into a Universal Declaration of Virtual Rights) are emergent, unpredictable, and a bit ungovernable (i.e. post-Fascist - Nazi or Communist, which raises its head in interesting ways in Kiev in 2014, no?).

In education, the new-open affordances and challenges, come down to what I call the Open/Course paradox: structure and constraint, sure, but as open as possible. This paradox has, of course, (somewhere underneath all the guff of formal education), been at the heart of quality education - as opposed to training for a trade - for ever. But it urgently needs to be resuscitated and reinvigorated.

One key aspect of this resuscitation is that we need to employ the full gamut of affordances of connectivity and social media for the learner, or the practitioner, to explore, articulate, aggregate, share and collaborate on their own tacit knowledge, experience and practice, rather than just providing data for the Big Data machines in the 'cloud'.

This is not because this is an end in itself, but rather because there is an inherent value in creating a space (and providing the toolkits) for people to reflect and develop as innovative, self-assured, flexible individuals, able to adapt to complex change. And exploring, capturing, sharing and aggregating your own tacit knowledge in a safe environment is one way to achieve that.

What this means is that we need to re-balance 'evidence-based-reflective-practice', and re-appropriate it from the current hegemony of quantitative analytics, and the reductionist 'quantitative self' ontology of Big Data.

... in short, we need to give a substantial part of 'personal and professional reflection', and 'evidence-based-reflective-practice' back to the practitioner.