Saturday, 16 October 2004

Salmon's 5-stage Model and Digital Natives

Gilly Salmon's 5 stage Model (or an interactive version)does not seem to apply to some Self-Organising study groups, at least for the digital natives.

A quick scan of the 5 most active forums at Open Learning Support showed that there is little evidence of Salmon's first three stages in action or that these stages are significant hurdle to overcome before reaching the other stages. It seems to me that all the participants just jumped in, settled quickly and proceed to the learning tasks or questions which are blocking their progress.

I have observed something similar in the ad hoc self-organising photo groups (which I cited the learning object examples).

I am a digital migrant. My daughter is definitely digital native. When I observe her online interaction, I noticed that she would log to a game site, invite someone unknown for a game and then proceed with the game without any other exchange. However, at the same time, she would also be on chat (typically MSN) with her friends.

My work with online role play simulation also indicated a pattern quite different from what one would expect from the Salmon's model. While we still emphasis as the group process, we noticed that once the players generated their role profile and have read the kick-start episode, they can quickly engage effectively.

It is very strange to a digital migrant that no initial socialising is deemed necessary in the online world. I recalled a story about how "hello" was coined. (I could not tell whether this was a true story). When telephone was first introduced, people did not know how to greet each other through the telephone, so "hello" as created as a way for people to start the conversation on telephone.

Another interesting experiment which you may like to try is this: Tomorrow morning, when one of your colleague greets you and say "how are you today?" (or something similar, you start seriously to describe how you are that day. What will happen?

I suppose this initial socialisation is cultural and is mainly a transfer from our face to face world. Salmon's model is applicable to digital immigrants who still are more at ease with an environment similar to the familiar physical world. This may not be true for the digital native.

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