Connectivism

I am unsure how Connectivism differs currently. I would say that it explains how knowledge travels externally instead of internally. I can see why it is a theory that is debated though as it does seem a little like an observation versus an explanation of the processes of learning. However, when you think of a theory for explaining external learning processes I can see that.

Honestly, I feel like this is theory is in many ways a natural result of eLearning. I I feel that by making a eLearning course that a has a design that focuses on shared communication, that it would be a natural result. I suppose where it may not happen the same way  is in an eLearning course where content is presented and there is no way in which to share knowledge or learning with one another.

In terms, of what I am planning, I am planning on having a design that allows for communication, networking, and interactivity. So, I suppose connectivism will be an active part of it. What I envision is to create a module that will also form or build a community where individuals can share current knowledge and future knowledge around the topic. I hope in this way it will be easier for individuals to build confidence in re-mediating documents around accessibility.

I think some of the challenges is in creating those “nodes” and networks. If those are not developed Connectivism is not going to occur. The facilitator has to provide content but also has to construct the course in a way that encourages this process. Another, draw back I see is resources.  By resources I mean time and knowledge of technology. I know many of our participants have limited experience with technology and accessing multiple sites for communication such as through blogging may prove difficult. Also, having participants put aside accurate time to form these “pipelines” could also be a challenge. So, I think it is learning the audience and trying to find a balance that works.

I have seen connections to Connectivism is this course. The emphasis on blogging and responding. The emphasis on Twitter and Feedly. Providing an environment that expands our knowledge and shares our knowledge within a broader environment other than the classroom. I am still not a fan of social media such as Twitter. I just find it to be a bit distracting. I am not a huge social media person. I don’t like to be connected all the time. I am ok with the blog and have found it fun. It did push me out of my comfort zone slightly because I do not like my thoughts or information to be public. Technology can be a scary place and I have often been taught to be very censored in what I present on the web. Perhaps, that can be a barrier to Connectivism in some ways. If people are afraid to present all of their thoughts in an open forum regardless of whether it is the web or in person. Although, the web can have a longer shelf live and a larger audience, so to speak.

4 Replies to “Connectivism”

  1. Hi Mary,
    I like your angle of explaining the connectivism theory as knowledge gained externally versus internally. I wonder though if one first has to become knowledgeable about the topic internally and then venture out to the external connections to either confirm, add to, or dismiss their initial knowledge/thoughts of the topic. Would you agree with this thought?
    I like your plan to include connectivism in your module with communication, networking, and interaction. I look forward reading about ways you plan to implement this. As of now, I plan to have a group project in my module that will require communication, networking, and interaction. In our DNP program, there have been group assignments due each semester where we had to communicate, network and interact. Therefore, I know it can be done! In the groups I’ve been in, we used Google Docs, google hangout, and blackboard collaborate to accomplish our goals.
    I like your analogy of issues especially with learning new technology. I too have had a learning curve with the use of Twitter. I can relate to what you’ve mentioned in your post and I’m continuing to work at it, to get the hang of it!
    Thanks for your post!
    Beth

  2. Hey there!

    A lot of what you said resonates deeply with me. I am also pretty concerned with making the nodes that make the theory possible. I often wonder if it is my job as th instructor to create the nodes, or if the structure that I manipulate should foster nodes to occur organically. There is probably not much practical difference between the two but I want to make sure I am aware of the any such nuance is practice.

    I also agree that I am not much of a fan of Twitter myself. Are there platforms that you could see working better? I am actually curious to know, but I can imagine that you are like me in that you simply believe it to be the best of the evil for certain tasks. I love being connected and I strive for connection, but I am easily overwhelmed at times and need to be off the grid.

    I wonder how connectivity addresses connectivity overload.

    1. Hmmm….that is a good question. I don’t think it is much about the instructor creating the nodes so much as fostering or creating an environment that is comfortable for people to discuss and network. Also, I think the instructor plays a role in ensuring that the students have a grasp of the material and then allowing them to continue on that journey. Which may include sharing or creating content. I think what you mentioned creation or fostering is something to look at for sure when looking at Connectivism.

      Honestly, I just don’t enjoy social media. For me is has become something I have to partake in to keep up with those around me. However, I am like you in that I like being “off the grid” from time to time. Many times I just let my phone die to be disconnected for a short while. I also enjoy being around others but I do get very overwhelmed for sure. So, you have me pegged with the social media for sure! It is also the security thing that worries me as well and makes me hesitant. I don’t like sharing thoughts in such a huge public open forum and not knowing who is on the other side viewing it. Makes me a little anxious. With professional stuff I am not as nervous because it’s not personal, it’s professional. I’m a little strange with social media I suppose, love/hate relationship.

  3. Hi Mary,
    Great points all around. I think one thing that can be considered is when incorporating social media into a course, trying to privatize it could be a way to help alleviate some of the stresses either you or some of your students may feel, especially about putting out their thoughts of ideas. I know with facebook for example, many group pages can be made private and only select individuals are invited and messaging and posting is within that group. Twitter is still pretty public but for somethings establishing a unique hashtag may also help students feel a sense of community.
    As far as the connectivism goes, I think as the course progresses and certain topics come up, that is when the “network” enhances. As I see it, with the instructor and students bringing their own experiences and knowledge, depending on a given topic, participation will grow along with the knowledge sharing.

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