Cluster the Unconventionals: Connectivism to Work with Cognitive Functions to Enhance the Learning Process

You may be making a mistake as you try to organize the shale gas, shale oil, and resource play information.  You may be trying to stay out of the whirlwind of information, and focusing on a single play, or one aspect of shale gas or shale oil.  Granted, there is a lot of data out there.  However, if you try to narrow yourself too much, you could find that you’re making bad decisions that increase the cost of operations, and cause you to lose valuable opportunities.

How can you increase the chances of good decisions?

The key is to immerse yourself in a diverse array of information — engineering, geology, geophysics, geochemistry.  Then,  avoid compartmentalizing and looking only at one or two plays.  Open your field of vision and read widely on all kinds of resource plays.

As you do so, you’ll be taking advantage of what learning theorists refer to as “connectivism.”  The concept is as it sounds — you are charged with making connections between different types of information.  Here are a few pointers:

1.  Actively connect diverse information sources

2.  Seek the changing outliers:  remember the “outliers” or odd cases are often keys to new ways to analyze / evaluate a knotty problem

3.  Debunk analogs when necessary:  always question the assumptions and the “conventional wisdom.”  This applies in particular to analogues — how many times have you made a mistake assuming that one formation will behave like another — just because it has a few characteristics in common?  And, how many times have you ruled out a plan of action because you made a faulty comparison?

To facilitate connectivism and high-level cognitive processing, AAPG Education has decided to create “clusters” of unconventional-themed e-symposia.  We invite you to take all of them, rather than just one or two, and to actively make comparisons and to start to question / debunk widely held assumptions and conventional wisdom.

Geochemical Evaluation of Eagle Ford Group Source Rocks and Oils from the First Shot Field, Texas: Implications and Applications for Appraisal of Eagle Ford Resource Plays
http://www.aapg.org/education/online/details.cfm?ID=198

The Bakken Petroleum System of the Williston Basin
http://www.aapg.org/education/online/details.cfm?ID=199

Shale Gas in Quebec’s Sedimentary Basins
http://www.aapg.org/education/online/details.cfm?ID=203

Integrating Disciplines, Data and Worflows in Resource Plays: Surface Seismic to Stimulation
http://www.aapg.org/education/online/details.cfm?ID=180

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And for thinking of alternative energy, and potential added efficiencies by using low-temp geothermal resources:

Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources — A DOE Webinar
http://www.aapg.org/education/online/details.cfm?ID=196

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Interested in Connectivism?  Check out the following article:
Siemens, G. (2004).  Connectivism:  A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.  http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Last 5 posts by Susan Nash

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