This grew out of his work with cybernetics where he conceived human-machine interaction as a form of conversation, a dynamic process, in which the participants learn about each other. He worked to build unifying bridges between the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. His wish was to develop a social cybernetics that would help combat terrorism, oppression, and social conflict. His vision was of a healthy society, in which there is unity without uniformity, love, peace, and justice for all. Cybernetics can be defined as the theoretical study of control processes in electronic, mechanical, and biological systems. It comes from the Greek word meaning steersman.
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Pask found these points to be the understandings which arise in the conversations between two participating individuals, and which he defined rigorously. Conversation theory came out of the work of Gordon Pask on instructional design and models of individual learning styles. In regard to learning styles, he identified conditions required for concept sharing and described the learning styles holist, serialist, and their optimal mixture versatile.
He proposed a rigorous model of analogy relations. Topics[ edit ] Conversation theory as developed by Pask originated from this cybernetics framework and attempts to explain learning in both living organisms and machines. The fundamental idea of the theory was that learning occurs through conversations about a subject matter which serves to make knowledge explicit.
A residue of the interaction may be captured as an "entailment mesh", an organized and publicly available collection of resultant knowledge, itself a major product of the theory as devotees argue they afford many advantages over semantic networks and other, less formalized and non-experimentally based "representations of knowledge". The Derivation of a concept from at least two concurrently existing topics or concepts Alternative derivations may be shown with conjunctive AND and disjunctive pathways OR.
Analogy[ edit ] Lastly, a formal analogy is shown where the derivations of the concept triples are indicated. The diamond shape denotes analogy and can exist between any three topics because of the shared meanings and differences.
The relation of one topic to another by an analogy can also be seen as a restriction on a mapping and a distinction to produce the second topic or concept.
Cognitive Reflector[ edit ] From conversation theory, Pask developed what he called a "Cognitive Reflector". This is a virtual machine for selecting and executing concepts or topics from an entailment mesh shared by at least a pair of participants. It features an external modelling facility on which agreement between, say, a teacher and pupil may be shown by reproducing public descriptions of behaviour.
A succinct account of these operators is presented in Pask  Amongst many insights he points out that three indexes are required for concurrent execution, two for parallel and one to designate a serial process. He subsumes this complexity by designating participants A, B, etc. In Commentary toward the end of Pask,  he states: The form not the content of the theories conversation theory and interactions of actors theory return to and is congruent with the forms of physical theories; such as wave particle duality the set theoretic unfoldment part of conversation theory is a radiation and its reception is the interpretation by the recipient of the descriptions so exchanged, and vice versa.
The particle aspect is the recompilation by the listener of what a speaker is saying. Theories of many universes, one at least for each participant A and one to participant B- are bridged by analogy. As before this is the truth value of any interaction; the metaphor for which is culture itself.
Learning strategies[ edit ] In order to facilitate learning, Pask argued that subject matter should be represented in the form of structures which show what is to be learned.
These structures exist in a variety of different levels depending upon the extent of the relationships displayed. The critical method of learning according to Conversation Theory is "teachback" in which one person teaches another what they have learned.
Edit Pask was born in Derby , England in From the sixties Pask directed commercial research at System Research Ltd in Richmond , Surrey and his partnership, Pask Associates, near Clapham Common during the eighties and nineties. Pask was chairman of the Cybernetics Society from to He advised the professional cybernetician to proceed in the manner of the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes. In Pask had been married to Elizabeth Poole with whom he had two daughters.
Conversation Theory (Gordon Pask)
All About Theories for Communication. Developed by Gordon Pask in , it is influenced by a range of cybernetics, linguistics, computer science concepts, cognitive psychology and neurophysiology. Cybernetics Is the study of controlled dynamic systems. Pask used a cybernetic approach to networks of concepts and interactions with a computer in order to create a framework where opposing points of views are resented and discussed before arriving at a conclusion dialectic. This framework explains the process by which knowledge is constructed. Cybernetic systems first influence their environments and then feel the effects of their changes.
Pask originated from a cybernetics framework and attempts to explain learning in both living organisms and machines. The fundamental idea of the theory was that learning occurs through conversations about a subject matter which serve to make knowledge explicit. In order to facilitate learning, Pask argued that subject matter should be represented in the form of entailment structures which show what is to be learned. Entailment structures exist in a variety of different levels depending upon the extent of relationships displayed e. Pask identified two different types of learning strategies: serialists who progress through an entailment structure in a sequential fashion and holists who look for higher order relations. Application Conversation theory applies to the learning of any subject matter. Pask provides an extensive discussion of the theory applied to the learning of statistics probability.
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