Learning: Navigation and Sense Making

Within a Scaffolded Social Learning approach we seek to balance structure with exploration by using a series of ‘spaces’ and ‘gateways’, thus helping to maintain tempo. Within this, i have been using language around ‘Navigation’ and ‘Sense Making’, and the sketch shared today is intended to help people visualise what we find between these two things.

‘Navigation’ is our more formal space: if we are bringing resources, perspectives, or content into a session, then this is where it would lie. This is where the narrative structure lies e.g. if there is a particular topic or theme to travel through. Meanwhile, ‘Sense Making’ is what we do in more open sessions, supported but unstructured discussion, the co-creation of meaning. Between these sessions, what we are given and what we create, what we hear and what we say, we find a truth. In my own work i now typically do equal numbers of each session – one ‘sense making’ for every ‘navigation’, in recognition of the very different behaviours and stories of each space.

The thing to consider is which ‘truth’ do we find? We can explore the tension between ‘my truth’, which i construct in my head, and ‘your truth’, which may be reflected in mine, but crucially is not the same as mine.

This is part of an implicit recognition that Social Learning Approaches do not generate one ‘truth’ but rather a story that forms the shadow of many – our truths.

One may argue that there cannot be ‘truths’, but rather one concrete truth. Well, perhaps that’s true in things that can be measured as absolutes: a kilogram or a mile, but when it comes to belief, which is really what we are generating when we think, there may be many. Recognisably similar or wildly divergent, hidden or shared.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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