Home > Walden 6115 > Connectivism


Sheala Durant
EDUC 6115-1

Connectivism: Mapping Your Learning Connections

The theory of connectivism combines chaos theory, learning networks, and self organization. (Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008)

According to connectivist theorists such as George Siemens, Ph.D., learning resides in:

  • Acceptance of diverse opinions
  • Connection of specialized information sources
  • Use of electronic tools
  • Knowledge that learners have to capacity to know more that they are currently exposed to
  • Maintenance of connections for continued learning
  • Accuracy and currency of content and learning activities

Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism were fine models for understanding how humans acquired knowledge and behaviors. However recent technological advances have forced learners to process and apply knowledge in new ways. This knowledge must be processed quickly and must be fluid. For example, the right answer today may change tomorrow based on the climate affecting decisions. (DEK, 2008)

George Siemens, PhD., in a resource video indicated technologies such as social media would fuel the acceptance of distance learning (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.)

I support his notion because today’s learner has practical experience with new tools, growing comfort with online discourse, and the ability to communicate with diverse global groups. (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.) We are able to learn via our connections. They represent a nexus of our prior knowledge and experience as well as our perception and reality. (DEK, 2008)

For example,

I rely on my social networks for acquiring new personal and professional skills. I also use these dialogue with new with subject matter experts.

These networks include e-newsletters such as IconLogic (http://www.iconlogic.com/), DC Web Women (http://www.dcwebwomen.com) and eLearning Guild (http://www.elearningguild.com). My network also supports topic-specific groups on Yahoo, GroupSites, Yammer, LinkedIn, and Facebook. For example, I belong to a Yahoo group on digital journalism, a GroupSite for local women entrepreneurs, a Yammer site for my workplace, several LinkedIn groups including industry and alumni affiliations, and a Facebook group or minority adoptees. I also rely on blogs for personal support examples include D.C. Thrifty Mom and A Parent in Silver Spring.

Each of these groups allows me to ask a specific question and receive answers and support from peers who may know more about the topic than I. This expands my zone of proximal development.

Finally, Siemens in a resource video, also mentioned the importance of visualization. It allows learners to see levels of connection and map concepts. I’ve inserted a “mind map” below that outlines my learning network.


Works cited:

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epitt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning

Siemens, G. (2010). The Future of Distance Education. Laureate Education, Inc., Baltimore, MD

Siemens, G. (nd). Connectivism. Laureate Education, Inc., Baltimore, MD

Categories: Walden 6115
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