Self-organised and self-motivated learning


The value of 'rich synaesthetic' interaction resonates with research elsewhere - on complex, adaptive learning, see here.
The link is that interaction that is 'synaesthetically scaffolded' learning is inherently more intuitive, less mediated, and frankly, less cluttered by complicated linguistic instructions. And on that basis, rich synaesthetic learning provides affordances for self-organised and self-motivated 'emergent' learning - learning which emerges from the interaction between the learning process (or structure) and the learner's own initiative (or agency).

So ... here's another hypothesis for research into synaesthesically scaffolded learning:

  • It seems that some people have an almost 'natural' facility to move from the rich, embodied synaesthetic to the abstract (and even to find as much richness in the abstract. I am probably one example of this, and I can point to a few other people that I know too). The converse might not be the case - I don't think there are that many people who move effortlessly from the abstract back to the embodied synaesthetic.

What I am interested in would be to observe, describe, do action research - on the details of what happens when people move (both ways) across this spectrum and, if 'remedies' are created or applied, what happens then?

But the underlying - default - assumption is that everyone should be able to (learn to) engage in both modes. Both are potentially rich and fascinating in their own ways, so both could provide the basis for internal motivation, which can form the basis for self-organised and self-motivated learning, and largely avoid the need for external compliance and enforcement.

One obvious place to research all this is in the kindergarten. What I love about a (good) Montessori environment is that children - given some astute guidance - make their own choices about what they need to do, and spend their own time and effort working on 'rich' interactions - which might be gross physical coordination, or writing (not reading - that comes much later), or patterns of ion a range of 'sensorial materials', e.g. colour, sound, smell, or dimension: shape, length, number - according to their own 'internally driven', emergent 'curriculum'. The distinction between work and play becomes irrelevant - what matters is that they are 'serious' (and self-motivated) about what they are exploring. So just as we need a new term for active/perception (enactive perception?) so too we probably need a new word for 'engaged play', 'serious play', or 'exploratory work'.

And ... on-line games present an interesting paradox - on the one hand they are interactively rich, and some of them are even proprioceptively rich - particularly it they are based on KINECT rather than on keyboard or even joy-stick interfaces. But on the other hand, much of the movement and engagement is virtual and literally 'fantastic'.