“Our survival depends upon a radical transformation of the dominant patterns of thinking in the West” (Bowers, Jucker, Ishizawa Oba, & Rengifo, 2011, pp. Pos. 261)
The considerations leading to a »terminology of a new learning culture« (depicted in figure 1), show the relationship and interdependency of the terms Learning, Knowledge and Competence. They depend on underlying definitions and patterns of thinking. These have to become conscious to enable all participants in global learning to networked learning processes, and a permanent regeneration of knowledge.
Transferred to the context of GOAL as learning landscape for enhancement competence, developed through learning level III, and taking into account the change of roles (each participants teaches and learns; students as well as, professors, designers any everybody else being part of the system), learning III implies to change the punctuation and sequences of learning processes. This is what would happen, as soon as meta-communication would be used as tool, enabling such learning processes. Traditional (online-) courses follow a scheme of conception (technological and didactical design), implementation (learning and teaching content, exams), and formative and assumptive evaluation. The consequent implementation of meta-communication would change punctuation and sequences, as it already would have to take place in forefront of each segments. Before designing a course, designers and teacher would meta-communicate on expectations, contexts and preconditions (own and others; respectively of all involved participants). Before starting a course and dealing with content, learners would have (a coached and assisted) meta-communication about learning-contexts, experiences, expectations, which in turn will be basis for further evaluations. This way the participants are enabled to re-think patterns and reframe context-markers. A formative and assumptive evaluation will have to concentrate on interactions, patterns of communication, relations instead of focusing individual »success« or traditional outcomes. Like this, all processes of interaction would be changed in regard to punctuation and sequences, and so become a landscape for learning on the level III and for enhancement-competence.
Enhancement-Competence as discussed and defined above is a key competence to learning and development – individual as well as social-cultural – that enables, or at least makes it easier, to gain other more specific competences. Because it makes different dimensions of learning-processes conscious, and – in heterogeneous learning-environments as GOAL – enables participants to recognize their own and others (often unconscious) patterns. Which in turn makes it possible to find »common interests« by resetting context markers to a common and shared initial-point for the course.
The »question of competence« is a question that can only be answered considering very carefully contexts and objective targets of learning scenarios it shall be applied to. This requires a holistic and transcending view on the question of competence and a solution therefore cannot be found in specific competences and skills. “Contexts are configurations of relations and interactions, basing on communication”, and to change a context means to re-create it, to change points of views, and sometimes to leave a specific context, in which a specific behavior originated, by stepping back, in order to be able to see the meta-context and to reinterpret a situation. “And this enables to re-organize a whole system of communication and interaction” (translated from (Reinmann & Sesink, 2011, pp. 118f)
Taking the impact of terminology in account, below table 1 sets the above described and discusses terms and definitions in relationship, combining Bateson’s learning levels (column one) with examples for respective kinds/definitions of knowledge (column two), individual and socio-cultural competences (column three and four), and describes which kind of communication would be adequate (column five), which technological dimension this could be related to (column six), and which objectives underlie (conscious or unconscious; open or hidden) the respective learning-settings or institutions or theories using those.
Chapter six and seven then take a further step from theory to praxis. They discuss the recent situation and perception of online courses within the field of academic learning (chapter six), and analyze the above aspects and interrelationships of a new learning culture in regard to methods and tools for objectives, evaluations and research in the context of academic online courses (chapter 7)
Table 1: Learning Levels within Contexts (Source: Authors’ own compilation)