Posted by: MandyS | February 21, 2014

Connectivism: a learning theory for the digital age?

…or, ‘oh no! not another ism!!

And I thought that jurisprudence was difficult! All these theories have left my head spinning but I think I have just about grasped a basic understanding.

So to summarise Siemens (2004)…

The way one learns and the shelf-life of that learning has altered significantly in recent years. Learning has become less formal, less personal and more of an on-going activity, with increased opportunity for learning both within and outside of our own domains. Increased use of the internet and social networking make technology the likely catalyst for this change in learning behaviour. As a result, the main theories of learning (behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism) have become somewhat outdated. Learning is no longer an activity one undertakes alone, so connectivism has developed to account for our new networking behaviour. Learning is now all about ‘self-organisation’, ‘knowing where to find’ and ‘sift out’ relevant knowledge in the labyrinth of nodes and nodules within ones networks and being able to tap into other people’s knowledge via a vast array of digital receptacles; ‘chaos’ is a very apt description!

For me, just thinking about the amount of knowledge one can take on board at any one time is positively exhausting, let alone keeping up with the changes and inputs into the network. I am not sure that this is necessarily within the capabilities of the mainstream student. The idea that they do it already in their social life so why not in their learning fails to take account of how motivated students are to learn in this way. On that very point, I came across this article, which is worth a read.



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