placards in the immortal regiment parade

Learning space

An information space is not necessarily a good learning space. In fact, it’s easy to imagine an “information space” (in the English-language sense) which is nearly impossible to learn from. It would be a text presented in an unknown foreign language which is unrelated to any language the learner knows. It would likely consist of printed letters. (Spoken language, or even handwriting, reveals something about the author’s identity and emotional state, and gives other contextual clues.) It will be harder to learn from if it represents a discourse (in the Foucaldian sense) which strongly differs from discourses the learner knows; and if there are no other clues like pictures, links or information about the speakers.

At the other end of the scale, teachers may find it useful to imagine what an ideal language learning space would be like:

  1. it shows connections to what the participants already know, and is particularly aware of those areas where the new discourse constructs the world differently from what they expext.
  2. it allows communication and collaboration among participants.
  3. it suggests a path: how to become a member of the community where the discourse under study is created.
  4. learners can practice skills which are valued in that community
  5. it encourages the public asking of questions, and guessing about solutions or answers
  6. users can experiment by interacting with the study material .
  7. it provides a maximum of contextual clues about the identity of the speakers, what the speakers are trying to achieve, when and why they are speaking, and the topic of discussion (videos, diagrams, simulations)
  8. it doesn’t contain meaningless or irrelevant side-tracks, the material itself is internally consistent and logically structured
  9. it suggests ways to better study the content and plan how to study it.
  10. it focuses attention on what the student should be doing at any given moment. These activities can be arranged into a pedagogical sequence of steps.