Instructional Design and Learning LO29161

From: Terje A. Tonsberg (
Date: 09/10/02

Replying to LO28954 --

Greetings At and group,

Having been on a 1 month leave, this reply is late but here it goes....

I wrote earlier:
> >The function of learning becomes to build a knowledge
> >structure that continues to emerge and digest. This
> >means that the information absorbed from the environment
> >and the knowledge on the inside needs to be treated in
> >the right way, i.e. with the right form of motivational or
> >structural energy. The form is reflected in the 7Es.

To which At responded:
> If I may change your wording to fit my own thinking, I would change only
> two things.
> (1) I would substitute "structure" with "organisation"
> (2) I would substitute "motivational or structural" with "organisational"

I am interested to know why, especially why you would like to substitute
"motivational or structural" with "organisational." It seems to me that
the terms I used have more explanatory power.

At listing five things to ponder said:

> The first is that mentioning entropy in a discussion often leads to
> adverse responses..........Please take care when mentioning entropy and
> how it changes, what causes the change and what consequences the
> changes have.

Yes, I see what you mean. Actually, I see entropy, bifurcation, digestion
and free energy as very basic properties of time or change. The key then,
is not to use these terms, but rather to identify what they mean in
different contexts, just like the 7Es, and then use more familiar terms
for those meanings. This is what I have tried to do in this thread.

At said:
> The second is that only a handful of scientists have made a thorough
> study of irreversible thermodynamics and its application to
> non-equilibrium systems. The reason is that the complexity involved
> is staggering and thus most intimidating. A superior knowledge of
> mathematics, physics and chemistry is required to appreciate all its
> intricacies. In the present era of specialisation, publication and
> conferment few are willing to master such a comprehensive body of
> knowledge in order to advance in it. The fact that Prigogine was
> awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry is still some mystery to me.

I feel that our recent dialogue has helped me see more clearly the dangers
of specialization and preoccupation with academic details. It is not only
because of the lack of wholeness, but also it leads to either...or
thinking or LEM as you call it. People start to hold on to their schools
of thoughts and ideas without a logical foundation.

At said:
> The third is to think further than entropy in terms of its possible
> interpretations. .... an increase in the
> entropy of a system means an increase in the organisation of that
> system, chaos and order as well as process and structure. The
> dance of entropy tells us which of them prevails.

What do you mean by an "increase in the organization" of that system? I.e.
what does increase mean here?

At said:
> The fourth is always to seek the cause of entropy production. The
> cause is at least one entropic force-flux pair corresponding to the
> conversion of one form of energy into other forms. The entropic
> force is the difference in the intensive (non-scalable) factor. It helps
> me in such a case to think of a quality in human systems (otherness).
> The entropic flux is a flow in the extensive (scalable) factor. It helps
> me in such a case to think of something countable in human systems
> (spareness). Both the force and its flux are needed to produce
> entropy. Once these entropic force-flux pairs are found, the
> networks of interactions in any system and between systems began
> to reveal themselves. Vague phrases like "political forces" or
> "economical forces" begin to take shape.

This one is only partially understood by me. What do you mean by
"intensive (non-scalable) factor" and "extensive (scalable) factor"?

At said:
> The fifth is to know why LEP (Law of Entropy Production) has to
> be introduced to the human sciences. Since LEP was discovered
> some 150 years ago, it took more than 100 years for a few thinkers
> such as Prigogine and Jantsch that LEP is the driving force
> (necessary condition) for all evolution in nature. Long ago the
> cosmologist Sir Arthur Eddington suspected that scientists have
> scratched only the surface of understanding LEP. There is a vast
> abyss between the human (cultural) and natural sciences which we
> have to bridge and ultimately heal. My own empirical discovery
> during 1982-83 was that LEP is one of the bridges over this abyss.

I think you are right. It seems that it is a suttle phenomena that occurs
in both fields.

At, regarding calculating the waste of educational systems, said:

> Two ways:
> (1) Counting the number of a topic (to be learned) occurs in
> successive cources, either prescribed or to be affirmed again.
> If had been mastered fluently during the first course it occured,
> such a repetition would not have been necessary.
> Mediocrity in education is the greatest waster of its resources.

I fully agree with this. Why learn, for example, geography and history
facts only to forget over the summer and then relearn it? The same goes in
corporate training; people learn a bunch of facts only to forget 90%
within a month or so. Worse, if the skill in question is cumulative such
as in math and writing, the student will fall more and more behind every

> (2) Counting all the hours spent in preparing for tests (both
> teachers and learners), then the tests and then getting them
> marked answers back while there is little, if any, interactive
> feedback.
> Lack of interactive feedback in education is the another great
> waster of its resources.

Too often they are mere ranking tools, rather than learning tools. Fred
Keller in his Personalized Instruction had a nice solution through the use
of proctors, but it proved too demanding on resources to become popular
(along with political reasons.)



"Terje A. Tonsberg" <>

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