My MOOC experiences

conversations and learning in the digital world

#rhizo14 on cheating as learning


Just started Dave Cormier’s Rhizomataic Learning:  The Content is the Community on the P2PU platform.

Week 1 Challenge – Use cheating as a weapon. How can you use the idea of cheating as a tool to take apart the structures that you work in? What does it say about learning? About power? About how you see teaching? Bonus – Do lots of rhizomatic teaching? Tell us about it.

My rhizomes were all connected in my head and then with this cheating – I felt a push that made them all spill over the floor like noodles all over crawling in different directions.


Image source: wikipedia

I am still uncomfortable with the word “cheating” in the context of learning. Who exactly are we trying to cheat – the educational institutions, their laws and structures, hierarchies or just ourselves? After listening to Dave’s explanation, I do get it but I don’t like it.

I read a lot many blogs, comments, tweets and still can’t get my head around the idea of cheating as learning. Maybe cheating is not the right word – do we mean collaboration, negotiation, exchange of ideas, bending rules, finding a leeway, permitted divergence, margin, space, latitude to look at things and find answers in a different and creative way and at the same time conform to the rules?

All unconnected thoughts going haywire.

For some reason the idea of cheating then led me to recall the fable of The Blind man and the Lame. The story goes like this: A blind man was walking down a bad road when he met a lame man. He asked the lame man to help him. The lame man said that he was too weak and couldn’t possibly help the blind man. The lame man was weak but could see and the blind man was strong. Both of them overcome their disability by helping each other out. The blind man carried the lame man on his shoulders and the lame showed the way even though he couldn’t walk. They both made a perfect whole.

Image source: Wikimedia

Image source: Wikimedia

By rendering their services to each other, they cheated on their disability and achieved what could have been impossible individually. They cheat on nature (physical disability) for good and think in creative and imaginative way to achieve their goal. There are many variations to this story but it symbolises the theme of mutual support.

This story in turn made me think of the #fraingers from #edcmooc and how we helped each other on our individual learning path. I wouldn’t say we had a disability but we taught each other tools and apps, supported and helped each other in coming up with our artefacts and played the part of being the sounding board to other’s half baked ideas. We met and connected, much like mercury drops and created this intricate labyrinth of ideas which grew like rhizomes. I hope with this mooc I get to meet more people with whom I can share and exchange my creative (dis)ability and grow my wholesome being.

Image source: Google

“individually each fish would be eaten up – but together they are a force”


4 thoughts on “#rhizo14 on cheating as learning

  1. For those people not familiar with open learning in a digital learning environment, collaboration is difficult. Letting go of what us mine is difficult. I think the process is designed to make us question the norm and experiment with new ways of learning. It’s an uphill slog, but for those of us who ‘get’ it, learning has never been so much fun!

  2. Madhura, I like the idea of finding a leeway or a permitted divergence…great choice of words. Working and learning in a mutually supportive environment is indeed a happy place and makes us more motivated to learn. Great connection to the parable of the blind man and the lame man. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  3. Reblogged this on Silent Thoughts and commented:

    Cheat Post for Day 16, from my other blog 🙂

  4. Pingback: Cheating as learning | Pearltrees

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