#rhizo15 A Primary Task?

Last night, in the #rhizo15 Facebook page, a participant spoke about looking for ways to benchmark her participating in #rhizo15. It feels to me like part of what is being asked is, if I don’t know where I’m going, how do I know if I get there, or if the trip was worth it? It is a serious question, but it doesn’t feel like it applies to me.

One reaction I have is from the poets. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”. T.S. Eliot put it this way:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Yet I understand this may not resonate for everyone, so I’ll also look at this from another angle, the experiential learning of group relationship conferences. Of course a great starting point for this is the quote from Aristotle, "for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”.

I’m especially interested in the journey rather than the destination, and learning about the process of learning by learning. I’m not sure what the #rhizo15 experience will be like, but I’m currently looking at it from a perspective of a group relations conference.

Group relations conferences usually have a “primary task”. Here are a couple examples:

The primary task of this learning organization is to study the development and exercise of authority, leadership, power and justice, in the context of change, through the inter-personal and inter-group relations that develop within the workshop as an organization. Unlike traditional learning systems, there are no lectures, panels or power point presentations. Instead, the workshop is based on reflection-in-action; learning focuses on our experiences and interactions with each other in real time.

And another:

The primary task of the conference is to explore, experience and learn from the development and management of roles and systems: to experience leadership, authority, integration processes, self-management in role, diversity and psychodynamic processes in organisations. This goal can be reached by allowing yourself and others to experience the conference, to communicate these experiences and to ex-amine their meaning in order to learn.

Lasts I checked, the Facebook post had about sixty responses. There’s a lot of grist for the mill there. What is it about uncertainty in learning that produces such a response? Is anxiety part of this? Anxiety about what? That you won’t fit in? That you’ll say something stupid? That you’ll end up eating crow? That you’ll end up wasting some of your time? What are our anxieties about #rhizo15? What are our anxieties about other people being anxious? What are our responses to these anxieties? What can we learn from these responses?

So, what might a primary task of #rhizo15 be? Pulling a little bit from the two statements above, and what I’m picking up here and there in various blog posts, tweets, and Facebook posts, I come up with something like:

The primary task of this learning organization is to explore, experience and learn from the development of learning networks, content, and the use of technology in promoting online learning.

What do you think?