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Learning Ecosystems Handout

Learning Ecosystems Handout

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Published by Mark Berthelemy
Handout prepared for a workshop on Learning Ecosystems at the Learning Technologies Conference 2010.
Handout prepared for a workshop on Learning Ecosystems at the Learning Technologies Conference 2010.

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Published by: Mark Berthelemy on Jan 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Individuals as consumers and producers within a learning organisation
Take a look at the biological definition of ecosystem:“a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment”http://bit.ly/4Tz8wS“A complex set of relationships of living organismsfunctioning as a unit and interacting with their physicalenvironment.”http://bit.ly/5brUoh“All of the factors that allow a healthy environment tofunction; the complex relationships among an area'sresources, habitats and residents. An ecosystem may includepeople, wildlife, fish, trees, water and several other living andnon-living elements.http://bit.ly/5axJIT
Taking these definitions as a starting point, what we have thenare three components that make up an ecosystem:1.
discrete organisms
, each of which is trying to meet itscore functions: eat, reproduce and breath2.
the physical environment 
within which the organismscarry out those core functions3.
the complex relationships
between the organisms, eachother and the environment
In a biological ecosystem, every organism plays an essentialpart. It's impossible for one organism to go it alone. Similarlyin a learning ecosystem, every individual has a role. Just as inbiology, every organism is a consumer as well as a producer,so in a learning ecosystem every individual's contribution isimportant for real learning and thus real change to happen.In a "controlled" ecosystem, like a garden, the gardener hascertain objectives which s/he tries to meet by making carefulchanges to the system. They may add in a particular organismthat has a certain place in the food chain - maybe producingbeneficial chemicals or removing unwanted organisms. Orthey may change the environment, perhaps increasingnutrients, changing the temperature, or protecting particularorganisms from harm.A human organisation has all these characteristics. Managersact as the gardener. Absolute control is impossible, but bymaking tweaks to particular relationships, individuals or thework environment the organisation can be pushed alongparticular paths.In a learning ecosystem,
objective is to induce change tobehaviours that meets the overall organisational objectives.Again, forcing people to change is nigh-on impossible. TheLearning & Development team can only provide theconditions in which change is more likely.Ecosystem: A complex set of relationships of living organisms functioning as a unitand interacting with their physical environment.www.ndma.gov.pk/Publications/Terminology_Disaster%20Risk%20Reduction.doc
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