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Re: [xmca] What's new in the learning sciences?

cool. downloaded and ready for.... spare time to read it! The overview
seemed real clear.
(P.S. *Moll Flanders* is amazing. Almost totally modern in 1683. Always good
to follow McDermott's advice in such matters).

On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 10:59 AM, O'Connor, Kevin <
kevin.oconnor@rochester.edu> wrote:

>  Mike,
> I’d say that Bill and I draw our sense of ‘human science’ directly from
> those 19th c. discussions and more recent developments along the same lines.
>  We do make these connections in the intro chapter, and return to them in
> the conclusion to locate a human science perspective within contemporary
> learning research.  I’d also note that Martin Packer directly raises the
> links to Vygotsky’s crisis in his chapter.
> Kevin
> On 7/6/10 1:35 PM, "mike cole" <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks Kevin, that is very helpful.
> Just from what was in the TC summary, the following question arises for me.
> To what extent is the notion of human science in this overview akin to, or
> derive its theoretical orientation from, discussions about the "humane" "vs"
> the natural sciences in the late 19th century. I ask because this links to
> Vygotsky's "crisis" monograph and ongoing discussions in many places
> including xmca. Will read ch1 when the workday has come to an end.
> mike
> On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 10:31 AM, O'Connor, Kevin <
> kevin.oconnor@rochester.edu> wrote:
> Hi Mike,
> Thanks for asking, Mike!  Below is the original proposal for a special
> issue that eventually became the NSSE Yearbook – this will provide an
> overview.  Also, with the permission of Teachers College Record, which now
> publishes the NSSE Yearbooks, I’ve attached the introductory chapter.  Of
> course, different authors in the yearbook develop the idea of a human
> science in different ways and would emphasize different points.
> Kevin
> *Research on Learning as a Human Science
> *
> Organizers and Co-Editors:
> William R. Penuel
> Kevin O’Connor
> *Theme Overview:
> *This special issue of *Teachers College Record* will articulate an
> approach to learning research as human science.  This human science approach
> views science as an inherently value-laden social practice, implying
> different epistemologies, methodologies, and research foci.  It is concerned
> not just with what works but also with questions about the goals and
> purposes of education; the involvement of different actors and groups in
> advancing those goals; and the enactment of designs for learning and their
> consequences.  The papers aim to exemplify this approach, showing how it can
> inform broader debates over the nature and purposes of learning, and suggest
> different understandings of and approaches to how education can transform
> social futures for individuals and their communities.
> *Objectives
> *Recently, both academic research into learning and broader policy
> discussions over the nature and direction of learning and education have
> been framed by two largely distinct scientific paradigms.  On one hand is an
> approach, modeled on clinical trials in medicine, that promotes controlled
> experimentation on learning outcomes as the route to knowledge about
> learning, and on the other hand is an approach, modeled on engineering, that
> promotes detailed *in situ *studies of learning processes in
> theoretically-derived learning environments. A third broad paradigm of
> scientific activity, social science as human science, has yet to gain a
> unified voice in these discussions, despite the work of many individuals.
> This special issue aims to articulate and offer exemplars of this human
> science approach to studying learning, which we believe can stand alongside
> and extend currently prevailing approaches to inform broader debates over
> the nature and purposes of learning and education.  Framing learning
> research as a human science implies different epistemologies, methodologies,
> and foci of research than those pursued by many researchers today. In
> addition, the approach implies different understandings of and approaches to
> how education can transform social futures for individuals and their
> communities.
> *Significance of the Proposed Special Issue Theme
> *Much attention in recent years has been paid to the status of research on
> learning as a science, especially with respect to what kind of science it
> ought it to be. Although the debate is hardly new, it is particularly
> pitched at the moment, with significant resources at stake for both research
> and practice. For example, advocates for more experimental research in
> education (e.g., Cook, 2002) argue that education should be a science that
> advances through testing of impacts on student achievement of discrete
> programs. Their view is that educational research should proceed like
> medical research, and that such tests are best carried out through random
> assignment studies is now reflected in federal law that defines research as
> the products of experiments and allocates evaluation funds principally to
> those investigators who agree to conduct randomized controlled trials
> (Slavin, 2002). An alternate view proposed by researchers in the learning
> sciences is that research on learning ought to be a design science (Barab &
> Squire, 2004; Brown, 1992; Collins, 1990; Collins, Joseph, & Bielaczyc,
> 2004; Kelly, 2003). This work has received significant federal support
> itself over the past two decades (Suter & Frechtling, 2000), primarily from
> the National Science Foundation, and its signature methodology, the “design
> experiment” (Brown, 1992), has received prominent attention within major
> journals in education (e.g., special issues of *Educational Researcher*and
> *The Journal of the Learning Sciences*). The likening of education to
> engineering in the learning sciences draws attention to the goal of engaging
> in the task of developing usable and useful curricula that impact teaching
> and learning.
> Each of these images of what kind of science research on learning should be
> obscures some important humanistic aspects of the discipline. The logic of
> experimentation explicitly treats characteristics of persons and their
> contexts as sources of experimental error controllable by random assignment.
> But teachers, administrators, and policy makers are often very interested in
> context, in “what works when, how, and for whom” in ways that demands
> researchers pay much closer attention to persons and context in selecting
> programs for adoption (Means & Penuel, 2005). Moreover, the hypothesized
> relationship of research to practice—namely that identification of effective
> programs will become information that rational actors use to select programs
> and improve practice (e.g., Dynarski, 2008)—fails to acknowledge inequities
> in access to information about programs and resources to support them that
> exist in systems and overlooks one of the features that makes medical
> knowledge so useful, namely its signature pedagogies and methods of
> induction (Shulman, 2005). The image of education as an engineering science
> gives greater primacy to the local context (e.g., Squire, MaKinster,
> Barnett, Luehmann, & Barab, 2003), but often either taken for granted or
> left underspecified are both the larger educational purposes of curricular
> innovations and the probable consequences of those innovations, if
> implemented widely, for the long-term social futures of participating
> students. Casting educational improvement as a problem of design and
> engineering provides few conceptual handles for engaging larger debates
> about what is worth knowing (Whitehead, 1929), particularly given how the
> world is changing; about how to teach “other people’s children” (Delpit,
> 1986); or even for considering who might benefit and who might be harmed if
> designed innovations were brought to scale.
> An alternative approach is to cast educational research as a human science,
> distinct from the logic of social experimentation and from design science.
> Some key ideas of the approach are:
>    - Educational research is a social practice situated in broader
>    institutional and historical contexts; participants as agents within those
>    contexts are reproducing, adapting, and transforming the social practice of
>    educational research through their research activities.
>    - In contrast to experimental research, a goal of human sciences
>    research should be to understand why actors do what they do from multiple
>    perspectives, including their own. This “emic” turn in educational research
>    seeks to re-voice the experiences of actors within theoretical frames.
>    - In contrast to engineering-oriented research, a goal of human
>    sciences research should analyze design itself as human activity and
>    consider what values designs reflect and deflect, who benefits and who loses
>    from implementation, and the extent to which particular design activities
>    reproduce or transform new social futures. Like education, design is
>    value-laden. Design research approaches have often foregrounded engineering
>    issues and backgrounded the articulation of values and their origins, with
>    important exceptions (e.g., Edelson & Joseph, 2004) that suggest a human
>    sciences approach may be seen as an extension of or fulfillment of the
>    design research tradition as opposed to a break from it.
>    - Following from these points, research on learning requires that the
>    researcher stipulate, explicitly or implicitly, the endpoint or *telos*toward which learning and development are directed.  Thus, human science is
>    an inherently value-laden endeavor (Kaplan, 1983).
>    - Relationships between researchers and research participants are
>    implicated in operations of power, locally and beyond the immediate
>    situation. This provides an additional warrant for arguing that a human
>    science approach merits more extensive discussion and articulation as a
>    ‘third way’ in educational research – beyond both the medical-model and the
>    engineering model.
> Such perspectives are not entirely new.  Indeed, the idea that the human
> sciences represent a distinct kind of science, distinguished from the
> natural sciences, has a long tradition in Western social science and
> philosophy of science, originating in Vico’s *New Science,* which argues
> for a science of human society based not on an understanding of universal
> laws but rather on those sensibilities that govern different communities in
> different human ages. More recent formulations draw attention to the
> fundamental role of language and interpretation in social scientific
> accounts (Taylor, 1985), to the vital uses of reasons and arguments in human
> affairs that consider the particulars of situations rather than a Cartesian
> timeless and context-free rationality (Toulmin, 1990), and of the need to
> explicate operations of power within such accounts (Flyvbjerg, 2001)
> What is new in this series of papers is the articulation of a linked set of
> perspectives for guiding programs of research based on the idea that
> educational research should be concerned not just about what works but with
> questions about the goals and purposes of education; the involvement of
> different actors and groups in advancing those goals; and the enactment of
> designs for learning and their consequences. We anticipate that many design
> researchers agree with such a perspective; others argue explicitly that
> design research and experimental aims are both similar to the goals for the
> natural sciences (Collins et al., 2004; diSessa & Cobb, 2004). But in both
> the design-based and experimental tradition, practitioners, communities of
> parents, and students rarely get to define the goals for endeavors
> (Engeström, 2008). Needed within the learning sciences are perspectives and
> methods that lead to research that can guide practical action and that opens
> questions about purpose to public dialogue; to designs that enable learners
> and communities to advance new social futures; and to organizational
> settings that allow for broad participation in debates about the ends of
> education.
> On 7/6/10 12:53 PM, "mike cole" <lchcmike@gmail.com <
> http://lchcmike@gmail.com> > wrote:
> Looks wonderfully interesing, Kevin. McDermott got me to read *Moll
> Flanders* recently in connection with his contribution which is the only
> one I recall seeing.
> Is there somewhere in the volume or elsewhere where you and your colleagues
> lay out for the reader what is meant by a human science?
> Could that be made available to xmca readers?
> mike
> On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 9:44 AM, O'Connor, Kevin <
> kevin.oconnor@rochester.edu <http://kevin.oconnor@rochester.edu> > wrote:
> (this time with attachment)
> Hi Mike,
> Bill Penuel and I have co-edited an NSSE Yearbook, just published, on the
> topic of 'Learning Research as a Human Science.'  I was not at ICLS, but
> the
> perspective was well-represented there by a number of contributors to the
> yearbook who qualify as both 'learning scientists' and 'XMCA-o-types'.
> I've attached the table of contents for those who might be interested.
> I'm looking forward to others' reports of the conference!
> Kevin
> --
> Kevin O'Connor
> Assistant Professor
> School of Education, 249 UCB
> University of Colorado
> Boulder CO 80309
> kevin.oconnor@colorado.edu <http://kevin.oconnor@colorado.edu>
> On 7/5/10 11:33 AM, "mike cole" <lchcmike@gmail.com <
> http://lchcmike@gmail.com> > wrote:
> > Dear XMCA-o-types,
> >
> > Several of you have visited the charming city of Chicago and attending a
> > convocation of "learning
> > scientists."
> >
> > :-)
> >
> > MIKE*
> > _______________________________________________
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> > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <http://xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
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