Gauging the reaction from my fellow participants the last few weeks have been a veritable sprint to the finish! And while this was a collective experience and learning event there was, to my mind, an underlying sense of competitiveness about it.
The Twitter debates and questions in week 9 were the equivalent of an 800m dash with users jockeying for position, looking for insightful advantage and generally trying to beat out some of the other participants. I alluded to some of these elements in my previous post.
But this should not come as a surprise though. Humans are by their very nature competitive and will continuously seek out advantages even if part of a harmonious and cooperative societal structure. That tiny bit of advantage gained or that minor piece of recognition has a very self-satisfying feel to it and for many is rather addictive.
However, it appears that competitiveness has been under attack in academia and been labelled an unhelpful by product of the quest for performance for some time. It is constantly being managed or curtailed in some way and wrapped up in sickly sweet quips like ‘You’re’ only competing against yourself’. Why are we fighting this? The ultimate contradiction must surely be gamification, a massive by word in digital education these days.
Knox alludes to this partly is his Community Cultures piece – the emphasis has turned from learning as an individual internalization to one based primarily on a social construct
So while this data has been very revealing about us and our community what else is it saying about us as individuals and what is motivating us – the deeper layers.
Ultimately learning analytics has been devised to improve performance within each individual but are we maybe ignoring one of its biggest advantages? Furthermore, if we can develop sophisticated analytical and insightful measures to enhance performance in learning cant we also create ways to apply them with the fundamental basic human instinct of competition too while simultaneously breeding out its most distasteful parts ?