Episode 53

"Ideological Amplification"

Duration 00:12:54      Recorded on November 07, 2008

In this episode, Susan and Dan consider ideological amplification and its impact on teaching and learning online.

Show notes:

Did you know as you shop and search for information, your preferences and habits are stored and then serve up content that it tailored for you? That is an example of ideological amplification. Finding people who think like you is ideological amplification. It is also a naturally occurring phenomenon for humans. Similar to an echo chamber (which Dan gives a historical review of), the concept amplification has moved from the political arena to online learning.

Susan introduces a point written by Marc Comtois at http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/003309.html.

  • It is intellectually necessary to venture outside of one's own ideological box to encounter--and confront--ideas that are different.
  • So how do we then help students sort through and deal with divergent ideas? Susan also introduces 'Ideological Amplification is when a belief within a tribe (niche) becomes the "norm" or "accepted" and often "expected" and is then exponentially amplified among its members.' - Chris Hambly at http://chrishambly.com/content/ideological-amplification

So this is where critical thinking comes in. Dan gives an example from pre-internet days. Susan raises questions about social media andtransparency. You can find out a lot about your professor these days! Dan is for dissonance.

Cass Sustein wrote Why Societies Need Dissent. From this, Susan draws out the difference between amplification and dampening, to which Dan asks if she introduces competing ideas in her own classes. She admits the students do a better job and gives examples. The two continue to think about examples and reference In Defense of Cheating as a provocative, alternative example of presenting opposing views.

Dan references a New Yorker magazine cartoon about thinking outside the box which leads to the wrap up.

About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
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