We learn from each other through dialogue and inquiry. We are excited that we can participate in a rich, diverse world of different perspectives and opinions. Conversation, as George Siemens says, is the “ultimate personalization experience. We ask questions and offer views based on our own conceptions. We personalize our knowledge when we socialize” (Siemens 2006:42).
Newcomers may find dialogue and inquiry to be lacking, but this may be in part that they have yet to learn the unwritten rules of our learning culture. These unwritten (tacit) yet sometimes rigid rules of engagement frame how we may respond to each other’s knowledge needs, especially in group contexts. Confusion or even anger may result when breaking this culture of consensus.
In formal settings, our organizational culture of consensus prevails. Disagreements are seldom expressed overtly. Decisions may be made in informal settings, and meetings then serve to make public what has already been agreed upon.
The task orientation dictated by our learning culture and by the pressure of workload and line management expectations also leads to suspicion when one asks too many questions.
Siemens, G., 2006. Knowing knowledge.
Photo: Conversations.1 Stills from a music video for The Hole Punch Generation (Gwen Vanhee/flickr.com)