Qualifying the quantified self - A study of conscious learning

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Smartphones are used by 63% of the college students in this study to create consciousness about how much they exercise, how many calories they eat, how well they sleep and how their mood is. But only 4% use smartphones to raise awareness about how they learn and how much they learn. None the less, 65% of the college students in this study think that such usage might be fruitful. This paper examines how we can use smartphones and the notion of the ‘quantified self’ to both quantify and qualify a learning process. The authors argue that increased consciousness about one’s own learning process will impart more robust study skills and higher level of learning competence and that learners thereby will utilize networks and personal technology in a more fruitful manner. The study questions if quantification in itself will create consciousness and it also questions the idea that; the more we measure and document, the more knowledge we obtain about the object we measure. The authors claim that, though the measurement reifies itself in statistics and graphs, it might not create consciousness and change in behavior. In this perspective the quantification is a kind of ’pseudo-reification’ that needs qualification to contribute to the individual’s knowledge production process. The paper’s main focus is on the qualification of the quantified data. In other words there is a need for new, more creative ways of combining smartphones, study skills and learning. This paper presents an experiment that utilizes the multipurpose, mobile, connected convenience of a smartphone and the ’Edmodo’ and ‘Twitter’ app in a quest for conscious competence learning in a rhizomatic learning environment in further education. The study is based on a quantitative survey, observation of teaching and qualitative interviews. We found that even though the students already use ‘quantified self’ apps in their personal lives, they were not necessarily inspired to take the principles of the quantified self to their own learning process. We also found that those who do take these principles and make them part of their personal learning environment (PLE) feel that they gain more consciousness from this process. So the question is can smartphones be utilized as vehicle for conscious competence learning (Burch 1970)?’
We found that the students generally regard learning as a personal develop in an intimate relationship with a mentor, trusted peer or teacher, hence it is a rather big change to implement an open-source based learning stream. We found that there is a great difference between posting exercise results and learning progression. None the less we believe that in the right pedagogical circumstances the open-source learning stream can be a fruitful way of utilizing mobile technology in a learning process.

Translated title of the contributionKvalifisering af den kvantifiserede selv- et studie i bevidst læring
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on e-Learning
EditorsTeresita Arenas Yáñez, Oscar Saavedra Rodriguez, Paul Griffiths
Number of pages8
Place of PublicationReading, UK
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date26 Jun 2014
ISBN (Print)978-1-909507-69-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-909507-84-5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2014
EventInternational Conference on E-Learning (ICEL2014): ICEL2014 - Valparaiso, Chile
Duration: 26 Jun 201427 Jun 2014


ConferenceInternational Conference on E-Learning (ICEL2014)

Bibliographical note

Published in porceedings to ICEL 2014


  • open source learning stream
  • rhizomatic learning
  • conscious learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Personal learning environment

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