eigenbehaviors 02

For  Eagle and Petland eigenbehaviors are a set of characteristic vectors that represent behavioral structures and they can be used to predict human behavior with high accuracy. The authors claim that despite individual, idiosyncratic, random behavior people typically have identifiable routines. By applying a reserach methodology that collected data from 100 subjects over a period of 9 months, they were able to recover information that proved that:

(…) communities within a population’s social network tend to be clustered within the same behavior space. It seems reasonable that this type of behavioral homophily is present in a variety of social networks. It should be possible  for practitioners, using virtually any type of longitudinal behavior data, to similarly quantify the behavior space of a particular group or individual of interest using the eigenbehaviors technique described above. If strong behavioral homophily is present in the data, it should equally be possible to infer an individual’s affiliations by quantifying the individual’s distance from a community’s behavior space.

The two authors show how knowledge is socially constructured Stephen Downes comments; “groups of friends can have their own collective ‘behavior space’ which corresponds to the common behaviors of the community.”



Eagle, N., Pentland, A.S., 2009, ‘Eigenbehaviors: identifying structure in routine’, in “Social Networks: new perspectives” (Guest Editors: J. Krause, D. Lusseau and R. James), Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2009) 63:1057–1066, DOI 10.1007/s00265-009-0739-0

Image and paper available here

Stephen Downes commentary available here

Design Studio Culture and the Hero Designer Student


In this paper the two authors argue how the design studio culture has created and still supports a  particular student model, that of the hero designer.  They claim that this is due to a series of factors which they name and analyze one by one, all contributing to the formation and maintance of a behaviour that exhausts students but at the same time enchants them enough to not allow them to protest. These factors are:

Student acculturation: Students develop a hero designer self image through socialization and affiliation with peers and faculty in studio (…) The mecchanism of the studio includes internalized dispositions that compel students to act and react in certain ways (…) Acculturation slowly leads students to adopt the traditionally inherent values held by others like them as constituent elements of the studio culture.

Student self-identity development and interpretation of their own behaviour: The issue raised is “how do I fit in?”(…) Forging an identity results both in psychological gains and burden. It is the contextualization of the response with the rest of the peers that forges the identity choices.

Cognitive Dissonance: it is the stress that emerges when one’s behaviour does not align with one’s beliefs or knowledge (…) Under that stress individuals rationalize their behaviour to reduce dissonance (…) Failing to do so might endanger their dreams through falsification of the prerequisite behaviours.

Severity – attraction – affliation hypothesis: when students are convinced that irrationaly painful experiences will ultimately result in proportionately more rewarding and appealing outcomes (…) this explains their allegiance (…) it also explains why they seek the company of others in the same position (…) the affiliation hypothesis explains how the close interaction with classmates enhances students’ social and professional support which they need to become the hero designer (…) the bond between the students contributes to the acculturation to te studio culture.

Effort-justification hypothesis: if an ndividual suffers to attain a goal, the goal iteself becomes more attractive (…) this is how they rationalize difficult situations such as crits.

Deference to authority: compliance with social pressure and authority figures occurs naturally because students are assigned a given role (…) Authoritarian and autocratic teaching promotes students’ willingness to rationalize dissonant behaviours and maintain their hero identity.

Studio gratification: Persistence in studio is reinforced by two aspects of this gratification. The first is woted in rationalising behaviours that reinforce their self-image through grade reward. The second is in self-determination theory which posits innate human needs for
autonomy, competence, and relatedness: the innate human needs of feeling able to make a choice, capable, and related to others, which are highly promoted by the studio framework (…) a problematic aspect is provided by an authoritarian grading system system that perhaps places effort and product all the same level as process and substance of learning outcomes.

The authors claim that their arguments are validated by the institutions’ grading charts (images above) which illustrate how similar grading looks for the design studio of the four Texas architectural schools. The high percentage of As contributes to according to them to the conservation of this type of student.

The analysis, in my opinion, lacks anchorage. Even if these data is valid why would institutions want to maintain this design studio culture, what is the motivation behind this practice? Unless we understand this we are unable to evalute all this argumentation. All and all it is much more a psychological analysis aiming to verify a subjective view on thsi matter rather than a reality check.


References & Image

Bachman, C., & Bachman, L. (2010). Self-identity, rationalisation and cognitive dissonance in undergraduate architectural design learning. arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, 13.2(4), 315-322. ISBN: 9780521537643

Co-Op or Co-Lab?

Interesting distinction between coperation and collaboration by Thomas Kvan of the University of Hong Kong while discussing collaborative design. The author attempts to make the distinction between the two terms by comparing their etymologies. Therefore:

  • Co-operari means to work together while
  • Col Labore means to labour together

At this point Kvan notices a subtle distinction; collaboration is a joint problem solving act, it means working with others to find solutions satisfying all concerned to a problem they mutually agree on, to be open and exploratory, trusting and accepting.  Coperation on the other hand is to work together in conjuction for a mutual benefit and it does not necessarily mean that there should be a deep level of trust between parties to carry out the work, Kvan claims.

Design is an act that involves many others and this according to  Kvan can be done in two ways:

  • with close-coupled designers: people working closely with each other or
  • with loosely coupled designers: people contributing each to a different domain of the project

Gero and McNeill, says Kvan, have shown that “design is in fact a process that consists of a series of distinct events that occupy discrete and measurable periods of time. Most significantly, they have shown that the temporal span of these design events is remarkably short”. Therefore, the design activity  consists of discrete decisions not intimately linked.

In the light of this Kvan distinguisghed between three types of collaboration:

  • Mutual: the participants work with the other
  • Exclusive: participants work on separate parts, negotiating occasionaly
  • Dictator: the participants decide who is in charge and that person leads the process

Key word to understanding this is the term compromise a term already suggesting that there can be only a partial agreement between those involved. Kvan goes further to suggest that collaboration is so time consuming that it is usually cooperation and compromise that prevail as they should in order to realize a successful project.


Kvan, Th., 1997, “But is it collaboration?, in Challenges of the Future [15th eCAADe Conference Proceedings / ISBN 0-9523687-3-0] Vienna (Austria) 17-20 September 1997

full article available here

Collaborative design


Henro Achten and Jakob Beetz from the University of Eindhoven collected 324 papers on collaborative design and they carefully examined them in regard to their content. Here is what they have discovered and published in a paper entitled “What happened in collaborative design?” in 2009.

Papers written between:

  • 1983_1993: describe it as a potentially possible direction
  • 1994_1997: look for technological solutions to support it
  • 1997_2008: express a steady reflection of what collaborative design really is.

Papers were also classified in regard to their contribution to:

  • support_largest category, 3d virtual environments, synchronous and asynchronous applications, comprehensive systems, community participation, tools
  • methodology_all aspects how to research collaborative design through case studies & research methodology
  • theory_focus on the nature of collaborative design: design management as in how CD is managed and controlled and kind of design as in publications that describe CD as a specific type of design.
  • model_design modelling, information modelling, knowldge modelling & representations
  • technology_ multi-agent systems, technology
  • education_pedagogical models (how CD should be taught), virtual design studios

Through the examination of the above mentioned papers CD is considered a good thing but often too difficult to achieve. Institutions, the authors claim, are still teaching the students as individuals.

References and Image

Achten, H.H., Beetz, J., 2009, “What happened to collaborative design?” in Computation: The new realm of architectural design – Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe / Ed. G. Cagdas, C. Gulen. – Istanbul : Istanbul Technical University & Yildiz Technical University, 2009. – ISBN 978-0-9541183-8-9. – p. 357-365

Theories for learning with emerging technologies

According to Larreamendy-Joerns and Leinhardt there are three views or visions that propel educational technology use and development. These are:

  • the presentational view_focuses on theory and practice to make disourse visualizations clearly accessible to learner (on the cognitive effect)
  • the performance-tutoring view_it derives its roots from the feedback and the theory of behavioural psychology
  • the epistemic-engagement view_this has been the most recent educational vision driving the relative technology. It focuses on the evolutionary propensity for curiosity, discovery, sharing and understanding for the skillful use of tools and it is most closely associated with social constructivist learninhg theories. Constructivism is a theory of learning and not one of teaching.


Terry Anderson further introduces:

  • Complexity Theory_it arises from the study of “living syetms” and evolutionary study where organisms adapt and modify complex environments_everything is understood according to context_the point where at which emergent behaviours inexplicably arise_complex systems produce spontaneous, systemic bouts_it supports the learner’s acquisition of skills to articulate learning goals_it is structured not around understanding learning but creating systems in which learning emerges rapidly_learning contexts as entities in themselves_teaching and learning theories derive from pre-Internet visions
  • Net-Aware Theories of Learning_capacity for powerful communications forms a platform upon which epistemic-engagement visions of learning are instantlated_great variety of modes of learning_information abundance and many formats_active autonomous agents_does little to teaching and learning methods
  • Heutagogy_self directed learning_it renounces the teacher dependency_it supports learners in a journey to capacity to learn in unfamiliar contexts_instructor as facilitator
  • Connectivism_the metaphor of the network whose nodes consist of learning resources_learning occurs as individuals discover and build connections through these nodes_learning expands based on the power of the network_lack of substantive role for the instructor and extensive requirements placed on the learner_criticism says that it is unable to explain significant learning phenomena.
  • Groups, Nets, and Sets_three contexts in which connectivist learning is employed: the familiar group, the netwotk and the set_familiar groups are where students aggregate, they are closed environments_networked learning activities expand connectivity beyond LMS and leadership is emergent rather than imposed_sets are created by a shared interest, they have enormous value for education



Anderson, T., 2016, ‘Theories for Learning with Emerging Technologies’, in ‘Emergence and Innovation inn Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications’, ed. George Veletsianos, Edmonton: AU Press, doi:10.15215/aupress/9781771991490.01, available here

Larreamendy-Joerns, J., & Leinhardt, G. (2006). ‘Going the distance with online education’. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 567–605.

Image: http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch2.html

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Connectivism and Neurds

I am thinking that the verb “traverse” and the word “network” used by S. Downes when defining connectivism is not at all random.As he says:

Connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.

Studying L. Gabora’s Neurds she claims that:

the associative network (of though and memory) can be not just penetrated deeply, but traversed quickly, and there is greater potential for representations to “bleed” into one another in ways they never have before.


Downes, St., (2012). Connectivism and Connected Knowledge: Essays on meaning and learning networks, National Research Council Canada, Version 1.0 – May 19, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-105-77846-9, page 11.
Gabora, L. (2010). Revenge of the ‘neurds’: Characterizing creative thought in terms of
the structure and dynamics of human memory. Creativity Research Journal, 22(1), 1-13.

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Study on the importance of the Instructor’s support to the meta-cognitive process

This 2008 study illustrates how the teachers’ feedback enhanced the metacognitive reflection process of the students, as in the knowledge and awareness of one’s own cognitive, emotional and motivational processes.

Authors claim that reflection “expresses an awareness of the learning process” and “it facilitates the organization of relevant previous experiences, prior knowledge and the articulation of the links between action and thought”.

Two tools have been used, the MCSR (Metacognitive tool for students’ reflection) that analyzed three dimensions: personal, task and strategy and the TIOS (tool for analyzing instructor’s online scaffolding) that analyzed four types of scaffolding: technical, content-centered, procedural and metacognitive.

What is interesting was that the types that were used for conceptualizing the data emerged from the participants’ answers. (grounded theory approach)

Full article available on ResearchGate

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