Connectivism – impact on institutions, individual development and open education

Hi Frances, Roy, George and Stephen and others,

Connectivism attracts attention to practicing teachers.  It also attracts attention from educational institutions.

I have found out that my organisation is going to have an on-line Adobe session on networking with emphasis on the importance of connections and network learning in this coming Wednesday. 

I think it is a great initiative to promote connectivism in educational institutions.  There are also implications…blush

The main reasons for such initiative are directives from the top that:

Educational institutions are looking for innovative ways to develop their staff (both teachers, assessors and administrators) to continue updating their professional skills.  Networking is viewed as an “effective and efficient alternative to training”, and could enhance staff morale and motivation. And connections in the learning networks seem to be viewed as a contemporary professional approach towards life long learning. (I learnt it from you, and this course)

Individual staff are encouraged and are expected to align their professional development to the section plan, college plan and institute corporate plan – vision and missions.  My impression is that network approach to learning is not optional, but mandatory from top management point of view. 

Stephen – I hope you could comment on this, as your view on openness, autonomy, diversity and interactiveness or connectedness are the essential criteria of success for networks and network learning.  But how does it relate to organisation’s interpretation on networks or network learning? – namely that it may become a “group’s” concept and more like a community of practice is preferred by management where everyone has to comply with the rules and obligations (to certain extent).  So, will this end the diversity of views as promoted in networks?  As corporations normally expect their staff to achieve goals set out in vision and mission statements.

George – I suppose there is a need for top management and major stakeholders to build a deeper understanding in the needs and relationship amongst individual learning and development, community of practice and the expectations from the corporate business or educational institutions.  I suppose this is the bridge that I suggest in my blog:

There are many implications in open courses and education: Power issue- who is in power?

Open education– which could lead to “opportunities, challenges – even threats to educational institutions and private providers or businesses, and even teachers”.  There are sensitivities involved in discussing the implications of open content, but remember that it is also a wake up call for many “giants” or corporations who are unaware of the impact of internet and Web2.0 and open courses on their business or education provision.  

Also, when it comes to openness in content, journals, teaching, learning and sources, it will have a great impact on the accreditation system and educational institution’s competitiveness in both local and global “market”.


Postscript: Stephen Donwnes’ paper on “Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources” thoughtful insights into the sustainability of OERs.

Though there is great temptation to depict the sustainability of OERs in terms of funding models, technical models or even content models …. it seems evident that any number of such models can be successful. But at the same time, it also seems clear that the sustainability of OERs……requires that we think of OERs as only part of a larger picture, one that includes volunteers and incentives, community and partnerships, co-production and sharing, distributed management and control.


4 thoughts on “Connectivism – impact on institutions, individual development and open education

  1. Pingback: CCK08: Week 10 Wild Flower Garden « Clyde Street

  2. Hi Stephen,
    Many thanks for your excellent explanation of Connectivism and Organisation on Youtube.


  3. Pingback: CCK09 Networking and organisation (part II) « Suifaijohnmak’s Weblog

  4. Hi John Mac,
    I am responding to a few of your assertions.
    First, it is a good idea to recognize that there is diversity among institution just as there is diversity among individuals. Educational institutions are not all alike. Some claim to operate according to norms of collegiality and others operate like bureaucracies. Some operate like open networks and others like cybernetic systems. All institutions, including educational institutions, have norms, policies and procedures, networks and regulators. I suspect that people who thrive and survive in any work or civic situation attend to their own professional learning. The institution generally provides some training– usually on new technologies or policies regarding privacy issues and legislation related to policies involving informed consent by humans…
    This training is mandatory and valuable. Lack of concern for the rights and privacy of learners certainly undermines trust and learning. Serious breaches of privacy, even when committed inadvertently, can have an effect on the institution. On another point, the question you posed to Stephen, I’d like to respond… Groups have norms, communities of practice build a shared knowledge base and expertise, and people within groups network. Norms are different across and even within communities. Learning how to understand and live according to one’s own values and reality while listening to and working with others whose norms of interpretation and interaction, differ from our own is very important in a network. I go back to the Demos text on Network Logic and on to more recent texts about networks when I reflect on network learning. It takes a highly principled orientation to work within networked situations, discipline, and restraint… And an alphabet soup of skill sets. A final point, human beings have agency and that might be why they both adapt to their situation and also differentiate from it… Thus, changing their own reality or response to a situation. Living contradictions …as your post implies.

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