Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Connectivism Intro

This section contains a brief introduction to connectivism. In upcoming sections, you'll have an opportunity to delve more deeply into themes within it. 

In the previous section, we started looking at Derrida's concept of "decentring" to a point at which there is no irrefutable center. As we jump from deconstruction to connectivism (and continue to jump to and fro), keep in mind that Derrida's work was influential far beyond the confines of language and philosophy.

Onto connectivism. If deconstruction involves ways of reading that decenter, or diffuse authoritative centers, connectivism is equally concerned with distributions of knowledge. Connectivism's two principal proponents are George Siemens and Stephen Downes.  

Summaries in the Open

From Wikispaces (available under CC BY-SA license):
George Siemens
(Image by Stephen Downes)
According to George Siemens, connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing. Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.
From Wikiversity (available under CC license):
Stephen Downes
(Image from downes.ca)
Called a learning theory for a digital age, deconstruction seeks to explain complex learning in a rapidly changing social digital world. In the theory, learning occurs through connections within networks. The model uses the concept of a network with nodes and connections to define learning. Learners recognize and interpret patterns and are influenced by the diversity of networks, strength of ties and their context. Transfer occurs by connecting to and adding nodes and growing personal networks. (Connectivism Wikiversity)
From Steve Wheeler (available under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license)
Perhaps the most significant contribution of connectivist theory is the premise that declarative knowledge is now supplemented or even supplanted by knowing where knowledge can be found. In a nutshell, connectivism argues that digital media have caused knowledge to be more distributed than ever, and it is now more important for students to know where to find knowledge they require, than it is for them to internalise it. This places the onus firmly upon each student to develop their own personalised learning tools, environments, learning networks and communities within which they can ‘store their knowledge’ (Siemens, 2004). (Similarly), in McLuhan’s view, as we embrace technology, ‘our central nervous system is technologically extended to involve us in the whole of mankind and to incorporate the whole of mankind in us’ (McLuhan, 1964, p. 4).

Suggested Materials

Additional recommended open education resources:

IRRODL - Connectivism special issue
International Review of Research on Distance Learning (IRRODL)


Vol 12, No 3 (2011). Special Issue - Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning

Connectivism course resources
Siemens and Downes;
Connectivism MOOC

Archive of Siemens’ and Downes’ 2011 Connectivism MOOC.

Wiki entry: Connectivism
Clarissa Davis, Earl Edmunds, Vivian Kelly-Bateman @ Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching &  Technology (University of Georgia)

Journal article:
Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age”
George Siemens.
International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.

Blog post:
Reflection on Learning under Connectivism

Mak, S.F.J. (‘suifaijohnmak’)
at Learner Weblog

Mak’s reflection on participating in a connectivist MOOC.


Participate in this week's discussion or post your reflections in your journal or blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Real Time Analytics