Sunday, April 24, 2005

Primer on Small World Networks

via Full Circle Online Interaction Blog by Nancy White.

This beautifully illustrated primer explains how "6 degrees of connectivity" works by a convincing animation.

I have always pondering the question of the optimal size of a collaborative learning group. On one hand, the global connectivity and the communication technology have provided us with unique opportunities to reach out and collaborate with a very large number of collaborators. On the other hand, human attention and cognitive processing is small. We can optimally handle up to 7 to 8 "mental units" at a time. This may explain why we typically have a small group working together very well.

In designing collaborative learning activities, should we aim for large scale collaboration or focus on small manageable collaborative learning activities? I am not any wiser, won't be any time soon. But the quest will continue.


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