Open Defined

Open learning is both affective and cognitive; it is a response to and an alignment with an environment. Open learning is a deliberate act of receptiveness, activity, and iteration.

Many of the current pedagogical approaches to learning in the open are hinged on openness as an extension of form: open learning, open educational resource, open course, open source, etc. This pedagogical emphasis on form is extended to outputs and assessments; the process by which the meaning was made in the particular context through a particular set of tools is implicitly de-emphasized. Open course, open source, open educational resources, all place emphasis on output and assessment as a means of making learning visible; open as defined here challenges that emphasis on output over process by emphasizing the learning that takes place in the “rhythms of the everyday” through learning activity (perception, composition, reflection, dissemination), as well as the process of operationalizing the open space to become a learning space, defined as aesthetic literacy.

Open is space without a predefined form, space outside a course, resource, or learning structure. Open  can refer to urban, rural, suburban, or natural spaces; it can refer to physical, digital, or hybrid spaces of both (as is often the case with mobile learning in a physical context). It can refer to a walk down the street, a daily commute, a quiet meditation in the corner of a cafe or a lake shore etc.

A learner in this space must contend with the lack of a predefined learning objective, the lack of a predefined cache of learning materials, or even a full awareness of the learning potential in the space itself. Learners in this open context often respond to these “everyday rhythms” to create “everyday practices”, or methods of making meaning in these open contexts. These everyday practices help us make use of open space; they tend to be informal and can be individual or socialized methods for making meaning in uncertain environments.  These environments tend to be mobile insomuch as they are not geographically predefined; there is no predefined space for learning. The technologies in which learning in the open is managed, engaged with, composed through, etc. tend to be both mobile technology and non-digital technologies (papers, pencils, notebooks, etc.).

A pedagogy in response to this open space is one that extends this idea of making learning visible to its earliest stages of alignment and attunement, collected here under the practice of  aesthetic literacy. Making the process by which the learner transforms open space into learning space visible to the learner allows them to consciously reflect on these “everyday practices” of alignment and attunement, refine their capacity for aesthetic literacy, and replicate the process in all open environments. It is lifelong learning with or without predefined objectives, with or without a predefined process in place or a clear understanding of the ultimate knowledge outputs. It is learning that can be stimulated in the learner through conscious reflection on and iterations of process, a process aggregating everyday practices with specific learning practices and activities.

That is what we are exploring in all our work.

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