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23 January 2008 / erikduval

Snowflake effect for learning

Many of you will know that the Snowflake Effect has been a recurring theme to many of the presentations that my Great Friend Wayne Hodgins and I have been doing over the last months…

For a while, I’ve had a short paper in Dutch that explains the general concept and applies it to learning. Finally, there is a reworked version in English – with many thanks to Martin Wolpers and Martin Memmel for their feedback and input!

The essence is hopefully captured in the following section:

In the same way that all snowflakes in a snowstorm are unique, each user has her specific characteristics, restrictions and interests. That is why we speak of a “snowflake effect”, to indicate that, more and more, the aforementioned facilities will be relied upon to realize far-reaching forms of personalization and “mass customization”. This effect will be realized through a hybrid approach with push and pull techniques, in which information is actively requested or searched by the user, but also more and more subtly integrated in his work and learning environment. In this way, a learning environment can be created that is geared to the individual needs of the teacher or student.

Your comments and feedback – here or in the wiki – are MUCH appreciated! We will be expanding this paper and have plans for A Book or Some Other Substantial Form for this and would love to make this more of a collaborative effort…

One Comment

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  1. Maureen Lister / Feb 7 2008 5:46 pm

    I love the snowflake paradigm. How does this apply to language learning? As I always suspected….everyone in her own sweet way. Some listen and repeat others read and translate, a third falls in love, the next grammars and translates…..and learning to understand? Why is it so hard to “assess” “listening comprehension”? I learned to understand German from scratch watching the telly, I learned French in the classroom, but never to understand it, I learned Italian by doing a music course etc etc…… not only is each individual different but learns different languages differently. Perhaps the metadata from audio annotation could help us to understand how people are listening?

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