Dialogue Expt Here LO10249

John O'Neill (jao@cook.dsto.gov.au)
Mon, 30 Sep 96 08:58:03 +1000

Arbitrarily linked to LO10188 by your host --


I'd like to start by thanking all the people who've responded to my
messages and threads over the last 18 months. I've learnt a lot, and come
to realise that there are many different perspectives in the world other
than my own.

Having said that, I think I've been "dialoging" with each of the people
who've responded, often by following up their references, even though I
don't always respond to their message.

I see two types of dialog. I'll call them the "psychological" and the
"anthropological" models for the moment. The psychological model seems to
require an ongoing conversation between participants - I notice that there
are a series of threads at the moment trying to work out how to do this in
a mailing list context.

The anthropological model is based on artifacts. The messages sent to LO
are artifacts, as are the various references that are pointed out within
these messages. Derek Hitchins has written a wonderful book called
"Cognition in the Wild" that examines how people communicate using these
artifacts. He has found that people get MORE out of the artifacts that
people put INTO the artifacts. He uses the example of a map, constructing
a new feature on a map requires relationships to be constructed between 2
or 3 other features on the map. However, the user of the map will not just
use these 2 or 3 relationships, but will draw relationships between ANY
feature on the map - the user is reconstructing the implicit knowledge on
the map.

Other examples are art, poetry, literature - what the author thought
he/she was doing, and what the audience gets out of these artifacts are
often two different things (to the surprise of both).

LO, as I currently see it, is based more on the anthropological model than
the psychological model. This is partly a function of the technology on
which it is implemented (WWW and a mailing list).

*I think* that implementing LO as a psychological model dialog requires a
technology shift. I notice that other web sites have a "chat" area that
enables real-time conversations between participants. Maybe this would
address the needs of the "psychological" model better.

Going down the "chat" path creates other issues. What is the relationship
between the "chat" area and the mailing list area - are all conversations
archived? How will other list participants see these messages - as
fragments, as whole conversations?

*I see* the psychological model of dialog as being about dialog between
individuals. *I see* the anthropological model of dialog as being about
dialog across a community over time.

I hope that someone can find a way of making the psychological model of
dialog useful to the whole LO community (or can identify to me which
assumption I've missed, or framed incorrectly).

John O'Neill
DSTO C3 Research Centre, Australia
email: John.ONeill@dsto.defence.gov.au


"John O'Neill" <jao@cook.dsto.gov.au>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>