Saturday, March 29, 2014

Learning in "Passion Communities"

This video by James Paul Gee is an absolute gem. One idea I want to discuss here is his vision of people learning in what he calls "passion communities". Passion communities form around video games, popular books and hobbies. Fans of Harry Potter go on sites where they write their own fiction stories in that genre. World of Warcraft gamers develop the skill of solving problems in groups.


So, what are the features of a "passion community" (ideas taken from the video):
  1. They solve problems collaboratively: The group is smarter than the individual.
  2. Learning happens on demand: In a game, progressive levels introduce you to the skills and language you need to succeed. You don't acquire knowledge in a vacuum and expect to apply it later.
  3. They are not age-graded. People of different ages can contribute and learn.
  4. The same teacher can mentor one time and be mentored at another time.
  5. The community sets high standards and provides honest feedback to help its members reach them.