I suppose motives, jargons, emotion and communication play an important part in any on-line communication.
Motives– I think one needs to understand why people are going on-line first. What are their goals? Or do they have a goal at all? For me, I am interested in knowing and learning more about connectivism. For others, some may just be “lurking” and they would remain silent most of the time and prefer reading rather than participation, and may “pop” in on a few occasions. For some others (less than 2%)who are more involved in the forum, that’s where the discussion and debate begins. I realised that there are some participants who have participated in the Elluminate session. I suppose they are passionate in learning more on connectivism. I noted that there are many other participants who have set up their blogs and would prefer to participate in a relatively passive manner instead. There are also others who join the facebook. As a result of these divergent motives amongst participants, it is very difficult to understand the group dynamics of the non-participating ones, bloggers etc.
Use of jargons– Another issue relating to this connectivism is the use of jargons throughout the sessions (forums, instructions etc.), and the assumption of participants having some pre-requisite knowledge on the different learning theories. I must admit that despite my completion of different education and training courses that I have attended in the past 20 years, I have never been exposed to concepts and knowledge at such an abstract level. I have at times found it difficult to comprehend.those nodes, entities etc. The explanation of complex concepts using metaphor sometimes may be difficult for the participants and I to understand, and so it has led to further confusion and clarification. I must admit that I am also responsible for my learning: to follow the instructions by reading through the suggested articles and watching the videos and listening to the podcast to reinforce my learning. And I have done so.
Emotions – After reading the numerous assigned articles and watching the recorded video and podcast session, I have gained a better understanding on what connectivism means. However, I am still reconciling what I have learnt in the past on behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism with this new concept on connectivism, as there are numerous conflicting views on the basics such as knowledge and learning. Emotions such as excitement, confusion, followed by AHA (surprise), and happy to know and understand it have been my natural reactions throughout those instruction sessions.
Also, there is an assumption that people will develop social network and that knowledge would be distributed amongst participants under the connectivism paradigm. However, what happens if people are getting too emotional (upset, defensive)? This is especially so when some participant(s) were perceived as a troll or aggressor. And such conversation is not conducive to learning and further constructive conversation.
Communication – As most of us are communicating using “language” (mainly in words) throughout the forum, we could hardly be able to “read” the others’ body language except the tone.
Further, as people are coming from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds, there are certain “rules” of communication which needs clarification in the first place.
In summary, a clear sharing and understanding of the goals and the use of clear and concise communication amongst the participants may be critical success factors to connectivism. Emotions also play an important part in effective communication and relationship building in networking.
It would be interesting to see how emotions and communication develop in the later part of the course. Your comments are welcome.