Let Me Introduce Myself: From Pasture to Post, Tacit Knowing All the Way Down

I have been thinking about learning spaces.  Digital ones like #CLMOOC and analog ones like my pasture.  There is tacit knowledge in both, but for me the pasture is much more akin to what London cabbies call “the knowledge” than any of my digital spaces.

The collage above is an attempt to introduce you to some, but nowhere near all, of the tacit knowledge that my pastures represent.  Or as Michael Polanyi writes, “We can know more than we can tell.”

I keep hearing from #CLMOOC veterans about how difficult it is to describe what this connect learning thing is.  Perhaps it is because of this idea of tacit knowledge.  I think our attempts to explain #CLMOOC is fraught with natural blindspots not the least of which is that something is lost when it is codified.

For instance, I have been and continue to try to codify some of what it means to be a facilitator on a MOOC.  For the last couple of months I have been sifting through  two years of the #CLMOOC GooglePlus Community for examples and non-examples of facilitator behavior.  I have created a checklist with examples (incomplete). I have created case studies for facilitators to explore.  I am codifying facilitator behavior.

I should probably be having the same kinds of embodied cognitions for #CLMOOC as I am having for my pastures.  In some ways I do. I rebel against the checklist even though I use checklists in the field when I observe my flock. I should feel that my attempts to explain facilitator knowledge are not complete. This digital imcompleteness feels much the same as my Thinglink introduction above feels almost bogusly empty.

But there is weight and depth of knowing on my farm that is in no way comparable with the weight and depth of my online knowings.  Why is that?  Is it just length of experience or is this something very different in our bodies that will always be there.  Perhaps digital knowledge will always be as shallow as physical knowledge is deep. But that bothers me.  It seems to me that tacit knowledge is tacit knowledge.  Both digital and physical live in the mind and they are both the products of experience.

So I introduce myself. I am the product of time and practice in several worlds.  I feel alive in both just more alive in my pasture than in my post.  Yet I use digital to share my tacit knowing and that always feels good.  I invite you to share your thoughts on this after you look and listen to the thinglink above. That, too, always feels good.

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