Slow learning in rapid flow, the yin and yang of cck09

I really enjoy reading Riita Suominen’s connectivism Making Sense of Chaos blog – beautifully described snippets of thoughts – it reminds of the old BBC2 White Spectrum project , slow moments of listening in amongst everything.

“When we normally set out a goal to learn something, there is always an expectation to learn it within a certain period, and to gain a certain level of proficiency. In the case of Tai Chi, you probably set out your goal as learning all the steps, and be able to do it in (say) 3 months time.

What I would like to propose is to set a regular goal, rather than a fixed-and-be-done-with goal. Say you like to learn chi running (a method of running in a low impact way), your slow goal would be “run with this method for 30 minutes everyday” instead of “be able to run a marathon in 3 hours” or “lose 10kg in 5 weeks”. During these training sessions, put your full focus into doing and listening. You work hard, and you listen to how your body react to the work, and then you adjust accordingly. Setting such a slow goal will help you:

1. focus on doing it the right way

2. enjoy the activity and (sometimes) getting lost in the moment

3. do not injure yourself during your work, whether mentally or physically

I think all these points are very worthwhile when learning something, as oppose to becoming only a performer at the end of 3 months. Being a performer has its bad share of habits, but if you truly want to learn something, the only audience to your performance is yourself. The rest of us are only there to enjoy your moment.

So use slow goals. It’ll get you there faster than you think.”
(Lee S (2009) S Lee Shang Lee blog )

I have been slow to get thoughts together and enter course-related discussions. As someone who has been known to repeatedly speak without appearing to think, I would like to now say something when I can explain it properly. But I’m not sure that fits with the learning process, especially for cck09, maybe it is useful to experiment with ideas before they are barely formed?

So my concept map is below.


I would like to try and explain many thoughts about how water, waves, motion seem to me, to fit perfectly with everything I understand about connecting, technology and conflict but I do not have the understanding of the scientific & engineering concepts in order to do so – trying to follow the Moodle discussions helps though.

Its slow learning but rapid connection forming at the same time.

Design probably got in the way of thinking in depth, or maybe its insanity kicking in. I would like to look beyond forming networks in straight lines and dots (but need to be a better graphic designer). Structure can exist without rigid visibility?


  1. Oh wow. This – “…if you truly want to learn something, the only audience to your performance is yourself. The rest of us are only there to enjoy your moment.” is going to take some serious thinking. I’m a novice organist, working as the reserve organist at my church, and right now my focus is far too much on the performance aspect of the organ. Instead of trying to learn to play the organ, and playing around with the organ in ways that will improve my musicianship, I’m hyper-focused on my performance. In some ways it’s an artifact of having to perform beyond what I feel is my current level of ability. Except that I always feel like I need to push my level of performance, which means that even when I’m capable of playing a reasonable performance level, I’ll choose pieces that I’m not comfortable with and then hyper-focus on the performance again.

    Which, come to think of it, I do with karate as well. I always feel like I should compete with the most recent kata in my repertoire.

    As I said – lots of thinking to do on this one.

    • Hi Cindy, that’s such a fantastic example, thank you so much for this. I love “its an artifact of having to perform beyond what I feel is my current level of ability“. That really hits home for me too, I guess the technologies I am using in cck09 are the artifacts. I have also noticed too with my tkd poomsae – once I have passed a grading, I am saying to myself I have more experience now so I should learn this next one with – more strength, more passion, more control – but when I focus on that, I do not learn ? I punched myself in the eye yesterday practising TaekGeuk Sam Jang which is a previous poomsae that I have learnt, I’m sure that means something too.

  2. Glad to learn about your concept map with yin yang – interesting. So you are both connected and waiting to be connected…Relating to the tao – the yin-yang that you have delineated – it symbolises the positive/negative or duality of nature of connections within networks,all intermingled in a complex manner, and just like the day/night, bright/dark, strong/weak…ties. It shows the artistic side of connectivism, like the neurons with the axon, and synapses… I have written a few posts on yin yang since CCK08,
    I am slow to all these too….

  3. Hi, this is totally wonderful, thank you so much ! I have only just begun to look at Eastern philosophy, I am trying to make sense of the tao and yin-yang. I seem to find harmony and conflict everywhere. When writing the post I felt like an excited child who was scribbling with crayons over a beautiful picture. I will spend more time reading back through your blog, I really liked your descriptions of how connectivism is related to religious beliefs:

    I love your posts exploring human-ness and artistic side of connectivism, I watched the sand drawing video on YouTube – both the artist and art were so unbelievably beautiful. Do you learn any martial arts ?

    I am confused about connectivism – yes re waiting to be connected and already connected, also learning to connect in the middle ? If I understand rightly, connectivism theory would say that you don’t need to learn to connect because you are already connecting in order to learn ? However when joining a social network or community or being part of a mobile network – you are waiting for signals to either send or receive a connection ? Or maybe you are already connected without realising, but you have not signalled this ? Help ! I will go back and dig further into the discussions. Also yin-yang does not have beginning and ends of connections as far as I can understand which makes more sense to me.

    I’ve also just made the connection with punching myself in the eye. Don’t want to go into specific details but I did this on cck09 on Friday, just like the taekwondo pattern, I thought I had learnt the movement, but I reacted with the wrong one ! Less performing, more learning – it makes me more efficient and possibly my network more efficient too, they are not having to process unnecessary information.

    I would love to talk with you some more about yin yang if we ever find a suitable moment. I have just read The Wisdom of Insecurity and about to start the Tao of Philosophy by Alan Watts. I am also following ideas in my delicious ‘martial’ bookmarks: & various martial arts blogs – which I will try and list too at some point. Another area of slow learning – it takes so much time to process.

  4. I never connected Connectivism with Tai Chi. It took me closer to 3 years than 3 months to learn Tai Chi so that may reflect my learning speed in respect to the others studying Connectivism. My Tai Chi instructor modified the moves to correspond to people’s health history. People with heart issues weren’t allowed to raise their arms above chest level. People with Alzheimer’s did the movements seated. One of the students had Schizophrenia, some had cancer, others had arthritis, some were diabetic or hypothyroid, others were healthy. Anyone could join and everyone received measurable benefits. The focus required meant that all had to leave their problems at the door and be totally in the moment.

  5. Hi, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I will respond later tonight, I am having some trouble opening tabs this morning – they keep locking and I can’t open them properly, so will read on my phone later today.

    Very warm wishes for a wonderful start to the week to you !

  6. Wow Ruth, your Tai Chi experiences sound amazing ! Do you know the Beijing short-form? I do not study Tai Chi formally, but was introduced to it for a week (my Taekwondo instructor has also been teaching Tai Chi, Qigong for a long time) then I use this video to occasionally practice – try and learn about weight transference and control (its not easy – living the life that so many of us do in terms of being stuck in seats for long periods of time):

    Following a series of comments in the Moodle discussion forum, I’ve started to add some thoughts about pushing hands:

    I would welcome your advice because I know very little about pushing hands. Is it “pushing hands” possibly an artifact or could hands be considered actors in a network – conceptually?

    Its amazing how much improved health people have experienced with Tai Chi, my instructor was talking about studies that have been done in the NHS in the UK but I don’t have specific details.

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