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Connected Intelligence: Network Learning Environments

A Connected Intelligence Learning Environment (CILE) is learning that is developed and distributed across human and virtual networks. Its principal medium is dialogue. Dialogue is always a way of "thinking together". A CILE provides design and structure to the flow of communications and thinking with the purpose of increasing and accelerating learning. There are many opportunities and potential applications for CILE's any organization...

Design will quickly progress from an essentially reactive to a gradually more proactive stage. New technologies should become the object of design, rather than being at the source of design. Design will find more rewarding fields in patterns of interfacing than in the production of objects.
- De Kerckhove, Derrick. The Skin of Culture: Investigating the New Electronic Reality.

The environments that we design for learning, education and training are directly responsible for influencing the nature, character, and results of any learning endeavour. A CILE is intensively focused on the design of effective learning environments that leverage the power of networks. This creates a new level of attention to the relationship between expertise and communication. The traditional mass communication orientation to knowledge and skill is completely recontextualized in a CILE resulting in a new focus and organization for creative and critical thinking, innovation, and product development.

Building Blocks: Learning = Patterns of Interfacing

  1. A CILE is structured and focused. When people get together to solve a problem, make a decision or design a plan, they connect their intelligences. CILE's are both concept and process. They aim at discovering and implementing a disciplined way of thinking, interacting and communicating together. The discipline of a CILE consists in positioning people in relationship to each other so that each person’s unique expertise is distributed through collaboration.
  2. A CILE is an emergent property of the collaborative process. In any situation involving people working together, it is useful to discern the patterns evidenced in their collaboration. CILE's evolve naturally and lead quickly to exciting solutions shared by all participants. In some instances, however, internal tensions and unclear agendas block the flow of the process and reduce its effectiveness. A CILE is not subjective, but inter-subjective. It is based on the interplay of the participants’ agendas and purposes in order to help remove any blockages and to refine the process.
  3. All CILE's are built upon the idea of connectedness. Effective communications is an indispensable component of the CILE design. The idea for this comes from the increased sense of connectedness between people and new media. Online communities of practice develop from a common purpose, guided by the biases of a mental rather than physical proximity.
  4. A CILE respects and balances human and web interaction to produce the best possible results. The identity of each participant is not ignored by the process but supported and given attention. Using a CILE in a classroom, for example, will help to identify and bring out the diversity of skills of each individual student toward a common purpose, not just a private goal. It is also an ideal way to introduce new members or new teams or new themes to an established or “entrenched” group or company.
  5. A CILE is an adaptive and evolving design for achieving faster and better results. Sometimes, in attempting to implement change, the experiences of the internal staff can become a roadblock. It's difficult for people to see into the future without the blinders of their own mental conditioning, fears for their own job security, and habits that they bring with them. Given an effective implementation, it is possible to multiply mind by mind instead of merely adding mind to mind.

Design = Doing

Very soon, not to say inevitably, the cultural should indeed become the dominant form of all technologies. The meaning of design, in terms of cultural rather than strictly industrial or scientific technology, is a form of cognition. We get to know things with the help of design. Thinking will sooner or later become equivalent to doing.
- De Kerckhove, Derrick. Connected Intelligence: The Arrival of the Web Society

Connected Intelligence Training and Development (CITD) is uniquely suited to introducing a new way of connecting all dimensions of the education process with the purpose of effecting meaningful change in the way people learn. Whether an educational organization is looking for a completely new direction to a critical issue, or a practical systematic approach to networked education, a CILE provides the best means to explore the issue and arrive at a solution. CITD is a strategic process for shifting organizations away from a predominantly broadcast mode of delivery toward a connected, integrated, and interdisciplinary model for learning. It requires executive sponsorship to make certain that the issues are clearly defined, that the appropriate internal participants are involved in the process, and that the implementation strategy developed is given the requisite attention and resources to succeed. At the heart of CITD is the concept of knowledge networking in which people are seen as the creators of knowledge, and institutions are producers of their own unique intellectual and cultural capital.

There are some conditions to achieve the best collaborative approach in CILE's:

  1. Value: The value proposition of CILE's is in accelerating learning, collaborative thinking, interactivity and communications.
  2. Focused Collaboration: In a CILE, expertise is distributed. Participants know their role, their task and their relationship to others in the process.
  3. Distributed Expertise: CILE's work best with a mix of experts and non-experts across a variety of fields.
  4. Motivation: Participants in a CILE must feel pride, motivation and a sense of shared ownership in the process and results.
  5. Flexibility: CILE's require a flexible and adaptable project management framework aimed at building communities of practice.
  6. Concrete Evidence: The outcome of the CILE process must be a tangible, living and concrete representation that combines real world application with web–based representation.
  7. Rapid Prototyping: The product (i.e. content) of the CILE will be clarified conceptually and in terms of its feasibility for product prototyping and/or for future iterations.
  8. Implementation: Ultimately, the end result of the CILE is some meaningful implementation within the organization.
  9. Investigative: Participants in a CILE must be encouraged to constantly discover, apply and disseminate new learning, rather than request answers.
  10. Online Integration: In the virtual world, a CILE brings the right resources to the right task at the right time resulting in an on-line environment that supports research, collaboration and implementation.

Connected Intelligence Training and Development Value Propositions

For Government and Business:

  • The development of new leadership and knowledge creation capacities
  • A systemic, sustainable and scalable long-term solution for innovation and economic development
  • A concrete and practical approach to the development of Smart Communities that is not limited to the Internet
  • A focused and tangible approach to leveraging new technologies with real-world practice
  • A strategic method to address opportunities and conflicts across a broad range of stakeholders

For the Education and Training Sectors

  • A systemic, sustainable and scalable long-term solution to professional development
  • The provision of new learning opportunities for students, parents and communities
  • A concrete and practical approach to change and innovation in curriculum and instructional design
  • The transformation of schools from knowledge delivery to knowledge creation
  • A strategic method to institute schools and educational institutions as centers of cultural development

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