In reflecting on our September 28th Elluminate evening class with guest speaker, Dr. Rick Schwier, I think about a comment I made during the session when Dr. Schwier asked us what a learning environment and sense of community is to us.  The discussion began with responses such as “twitter”, “classroom”, “colleagues”, “google reader”,  etc.   I responded by stating that a learning environment and community, to me, is “a place where I can communicate with others in a safe and trusting way.”. 

During our online discussion, other class members contributed to and expanded on the discussion.  I made note of a couple of comments from my classmates such as, “Don’t communities also include disruptive elements?”  , and “Learning can be uncomfortable and that’s not bad.”.  In reflecting further on these comments in conjunction with my own, I have been thinking about the element of trust in relation to learning environments – virtual or not.  

As Dr. Schwier mentioned in our class discussion, low levels of trust generally equate to low levels of learner engagement.  Some of the other suggested reads for this week also speak to this notion of trust in relation to communities and learning environments.  For instance, Howard Rheingold in his TED Talk called “On Collaboration”, mentions the notion of the Prisoner’s Dilemma in which two players who couldn’t trust each other both lose and neither get what they want. 

I certainly agree that learning can be uncomfortable and that we should be able to experiment, share ideas, and take risks.  However, I personally do not think this can happen without an established sense of trust within the community, whatever form that community takes.


~ by lewisv on October 3, 2010.

2 Responses to “Trust?”

  1. I have to agree with you on your comments on trust. I remember the first time a principal told me it was OK to make a mistake or to have a failed experiment. I’ve never forgotten that. Now that I’m retired, I look back and note how few times I or anyone I’ve known has been told that by a superior. I guess if principals allow teachers to take risks it means that they themselves aren’t afraid of your taking a risk under their administration.

  2. Hello! My name is Allie and I am in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I agree with your views on trust in a learning community. If there is no trust in the enviroment, then everyone is more guarded and no one is truely open to learning. You have to trust that there will be no bad feelings or criticism about any discussions. I hope that you are in a learning enviroment that you trust so that you can be comfortable and open to learning. Good Luck!

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