Transformation and Autonomy with a twist: from information to learning – Critical Reflection INF530

It’s been quite a ride this INF530, and as they say “it ain’t over until it’s over”, I have yet to complete my digital essay and enter that huge time warp black hole of combining words with media and images in such a way that it enhances rather than distracts, compels rather than confuses.


INF530 key wordsLooking back on the topic headings I decided to make a wordle, to see things with a little visual perspective. What jumped out was “information” and “learning” and I had to think back to previous courses where the nuances of data, information, knowledge, wisdom were picked over in meticulous detail (Barrett, Cappleman, Shoib, & Walsham, 2004; Hecker, 2012; Pantzar, 2000; UNESCO, 2005) or the role of the teacher or school or librarian is discussed, particularly in the light of information literacy (Eisenberg, 2008; Mihailidis, 2012; O’Connell, 2008; Sheng & Sun, 2007; Wallis, 2003). Yes these are all part of the picture, but the words that I’d like to contribute and focus on are not there, because they are implicit and essential rather than explicit. Integral to information and learning are transformation and autonomy.


Firstly transformation, it’s synonyms (conversion, metamorphosis, renewal, revolution, shift, alteration) and its’ derivatives:

  • the doing – to transform,
  • the process – transformation,
  • the subject and the state – transformed, and
  • the agent – transformer.

And the twist, because in education we are simultaneously the agent and the subject, the initiator, the process and the end state. We cannot “do” without “being”. And that is the value of plunging into a distance-learning course that takes one beyond the mundane and everyday into personally being transformed and feeling the simultaneous discomfort and thrill of not always being in control of the process or the outcome. Sometimes the truth is found in the antonym – stagnation and sameness. The resistance to change that saps energy rather than re-energises as transformation does.


Conole (2013, p. 61) stated “We have to accept that it is impossible to keep up with all the changes, so we need to develop coping strategies which enable individuals to create their own personal digital environment of supporting tools and networks to facilitate access to and use of relevant information for their needs.” That is part of the solution, the other is finding one’s place in digital and physical learning ecologies (O’Connell, 2014; Vasiliou, Ioannou, & Zaphiris, 2014; Wang, Guo, Yang, Chen, & Zhang, 2015). Yes ecologies, because we are, and our students and children will be “shape shifting portfolio people” (Gee & Hayes, 2011) whether we want to acknowledge and embrace the fact or not.


Which brings me to the second of “my” take-away words. Autonomy. It is autonomy with a difference – autonomy within communities and networks of our own and others’ making. As Downes (2012, bk. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge) puts it “knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, … learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks”.


However without the aforementioned transformation we can’t have the autonomy. It is an autonomy hard won, through dint of our own efforts, the pushing and pulling and attraction of our teachers, mentors, peers and heroes. Autonomy feeds off motivation and self-regulatory control (Kormos & Csizér, 2014). The latter including commitment, meta-cognitive, satiation, emotion and environmental control (Tseng, Dörnyei, & Schmitt, 2006). Ironically we need others to attain autonomy. Autonomy is not independence but interdependence, not being on your own, but being part of a larger community of learners all together on individual journeys. It’s the forums, blogs, comments, feedback and Facebook posts. The emojis, irrelevant and irreverent tweets; words of encouragement and critique, ideas and suggestions that propel us forward and backward and around in circles – but ever expanding circles and cycles of improvement and transformation.


Thank-you to my peers, my course co-ordinator Judy, those who went before us and those who will come after us may we transform and be transformed, gain autonomy and enable others do so too in this journey of life-long learning.

What you are speaks so loud I can not hear what you say - Original Quote by Emerson

What you are speaks so loud I can not hear what you say – Original Quote by Emerson


Barrett, M., Cappleman, S., Shoib, G., & Walsham, G. (2004). Learning in knowledge communities. European Management Journal, 22(1), 1–11. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2003.11.019

Conole, G. (2013). Open, social and participatory media. In Designing for learning in an open world (pp. 47–63). New York ; Heidelberg: Springer.

Downes, S. (2012). My eBooks [Web Log]. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://www.downes.ca/me/mybooks.htm

Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39–47. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=51198131&site=ehost-live

Gee, J. P., & Hayes, E. (2011). Language and learning in the digital age (1st ed). New York, NY: Routledge.

Hecker, A. (2012). Knowledge beyond the individual? Making sense of a notion of collective knowledge in organization theory. Organization Studies, 33(3), 423–445. http://doi.org/10.1177/0170840611433995

Kormos, J., & Csizér, K. (2014). The interaction of motivation, self-regulatory strategies, and autonomous learning behavior in different learner groups. TESOL Quarterly, 48(2), 275–299. http://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.129

Mihailidis, P. (2012). Media literacy and learning commons in the digital age: Toward a knowledge model for successful integration into the 21st century school library. The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, 2. Retrieved from http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/2012/04/media-literacy-and-learning-commons-in-the-digital-age-toward-a-knowledge-model-for-successful-integration-into-the-21st-century-school-library/

O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0 : new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (pp. 51–62). London: Facet.

O’Connell, J. (2014, July 19). Information ecology at the heart of knowledge [Web Log]. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://judyoconnell.com/2014/07/19/information-ecology-at-the-heart-of-knowledge/

Pantzar, E. (2000). Knowledge and wisdom in the information society. Foresight, 2(2), 230–236.

Sheng, X., & Sun, L. (2007). Developing knowledge innovation culture of libraries. Library Management, 28(1/2), 36–52. http://doi.org/10.1108/01435120710723536

Tseng, W.-T., Dörnyei, Z., & Schmitt, N. (2006). A new approach to assessing strategic learning: The case of self-regulation in vocabulary acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 27(1), 78–102. http://doi.org/10.1093/applin/ami046

UNESCO. (2005). Towards knowledge societies. Retrieved fromhttp://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001418/141843e.pdf

Vasiliou, C., Ioannou, A., & Zaphiris, P. (2014). Understanding collaborative learning activities in an information ecology: A distributed cognition account. Computers in Human Behavior, 41(0), 544–553. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.057

Wallis, J. (2003). Information-saturated yet ignorant: information mediation as social empowerment in the knowledge economy. Library Review, 52(8), 369–372. http://doi.org/10.1108/00242530310493770

Wang, X., Guo, Y., Yang, M., Chen, Y., & Zhang, W. (2015). Information ecology research: past, present, and future. Information Technology and Management, 1–13. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10799-015-0219-3


I’m currently living in Singapore, which the latest in a long line of places I’ve been living in the last few years including Hong Kong, Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, and South Africa. I’m married with two children, aged 14 and 13. Having lived around the world I’ve acquired quite a few languages and my big passion is bi/multi-lingualism and - culturalism, which I try to incorporate into my work, learning and essays wherever possible! I finished my MIS degree in December 2014 and I'm currently enrolled in M Ed (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). My murky past is in commerce and industry as a Chartered Accountant, doing a lot of random studying and learning and I’m currently working in an International School following the PYP method in the primary division serving students K-6. Previously I worked in a secondary library of another international school, on a part-time basis, as a reference librarian. Since I LOVE social media, this is where you can find me: My (other) blog is: http://informativeflights.blogspot.com/ Paperli: https://paper.li/deschatjes/1387886085 Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/profile/nadinebailey754 Library Guides: http://research.uwcsea.edu.sg/language http://cis.libguides.com/TKlibrary/home


  1. Lovely work, Nadine. I’m inspired and must start my 600 word reflection now.

    • Thank you that’s so kind and it gives me the “feel good factor” to keep going on my digital essay which is lagging behind!

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