Day 3 of #RUL10DoT and things are ticking along well. Loads more tweets and comments on the blog which is all good news:)
However, today I want to start thinking about the people who are not actively engaged in the activities or tasks but are watching what is going on. In the online world they are often referred to as ‘Lurkers’, a somewhat disparaging term for what I see as a legitimate activity. It’s certainly the way many people learn online and it’s essentially what I did to learn how to use Twitter. Once I’d signed up with mu Twitter account I spent most of the time just looking and watching what others were tweeting about. Soon I learnt what the Twitter conventions were all about and only then did I start Tweeting myself. I’m sure the same thing is happening on the #RUL10DoT course at the moment.
In fact, the ‘lurkers’ are essential if a successful community of practice is emerge out of this learning activity. Etienne Wenger describes three levels of participation of a successful community of Practice. The first of these are the experienced core group who leed and guide the group and the second are the active group who attend and participate regularly. Consider the following quote from Lev Vygotsky on the zone of proximal development (ZPD) which he defines as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978, p86). I think this is what is happening with the Twitter interactions at the moment. The #RUL10DoT course is creating cooperative learning exercises where less experienced/competent participants develop with help from more skillful peers – within the zone of proximal development. The third group in Wenger’s words are the ‘peripheral group’ who are the passive participants (the ‘Lurkers’) who learn from the others and then may (or may not) move into one of the other groups….
…and that’s why the Lurkers are so very important!!!!
…couldn’t resist this….best ever name for a band:)