Connectivism – How does it fit into the Extrovert and Introvert types

Jenny in her Connectivism and Introverts asks:

Is being connected via the internet more difficult for introverts? Does being connected via the internet mean being uncomfortably over-exposed? Can only extraverts take full advantage of the affordances of technology for being internationally connected?

I would first examine the questions based on Jung’s psychological types.

Mode of relation to the world E  EXTROVERT TYPE Oriented toward external world of other people and things I  INTROVERT TYPE Oriented toward inner world of ideas and feelings
Mode of decision making J  JUDGING TYPE Emphasis on order through reaching decision and resolving issues P  PERCEIVING TYPE Emphasis on gathering information and obtaining as much data as possible
Mode of perceiving S  SENSING TYPE Emphasis on sense perception, on facts, details, and concrete events N  INTUITION TYPE Emphasis on possibilities, imagination, meaning, and seeing things as a whole
Mode of judging T  THINKING TYPE Emphasis on analysis, using logic and rationality F  FEELING TYPE Emphasis on human values, establishing personal friendships, decisions made mainly on beliefs and likes

The use of a connectivist learning approach emphasises the importance of learning as network formations, and that learning refers to the capacity in navigating and traversing over the network, and the emergence of knowledge is based on patterning identification, knowledge construction and re-construction, sensemaking and wayfinding.  “Knowledge is to be organised in a certain way.  Knowing is like ‘recognizing’, i.e. pattern matching “(Stephen Downes, 3 April 09, Connectivist Learning and Personal Learning Environment)

I would interpret that people who exhibit the following types may be able to take more advantage of such networked learning:

Extrovert, Perceiving, Intuition, and Feeling Types

On the other hand, people who exhibit the following types may be more reflective in their learning process, and they could benefit more from the networked learning substantially:

Introvert, Judging, Sensing, and Thinking Types

I would avoid the stereotyping that extraversion as social and interpersonal ease, and introversion as shyness and social awkwardness, which is unfounded, and could be fundamentally flawed.

An educator/scholar could be an introvert in his/her private life, but an extrovert when attending a party or social function, or when working in collaboration with others over virtual networks or communities.

An educator/scholar could be an extrovert in all aspects of life, but might prefer to live in an introvert manner when he or she is alone.

There are educators who exhibit all traits of introverts, due partly to their University education and their own personality.  However, in order to broaden their knowledge and update their skills, most educators would be motivated to immerse into networks for networked learning and thus exhibit the traits of extroverts.

So, it would be difficult to classify people (educators) based on their traits or extrovert/introvert styles only, as one would exhibit those traits or styles depending on the context or circumstances, and profession.

Hence, one could be both introverted and extroverted depending on the circumstances or context.

The adoption of a connectivist approach in learning would be leveraging the benefits of those technology affordance with our intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, our preferred style of learning and the learning affordance (open education courseware, open sources software, and the concept of everyone becomes an “educator” and a “learner” ) and the learning ecology.

See my other post on Learning Metaphor  for the connectivist approach to learning:

Under Connectivism, the four persons will connect their thoughts, their understanding at neural, conceptual and external, social level with information sources, formally or informally.  They will also link with others who have experience with elephants – communities, networks and experts. Under a connectivist approach, the pipe (the connections) is more important than the content (as content may keep changing, and needs to be updated to ensure “correctness” or “validity”).  The four persons (may act as peer teachers and learners) encourage each other to be involved in networks, internet surfing and navigating, and make use of their sensemaking (metacognition skills – thinking how to think) , patterning (knowledge recognition), and way finding (identifying their goals and mission through those networks and community involvement) and realising the emergent knowledge (ontology – learning to be)  through an integration of  informal learning with their formal education.  This assumes that the four persons are motivated to learn the skills required to communicate, collaborate and cooperate over the net environment.

Here are my responses to Jenny’s questions:

Is being connected via the internet more difficult for introverts? May be, initially, but it depends on the degree of introversion of the learners too.  There have been numerous case studies revealing this situation.   Let me quote a special case:

In this -learning for the Aspergers Community, communication skills is the main area of difficulty for people with ASD in forming relationships and gaining employment.  Overcoming the isolation of autism is seen as the primary need for ASD sufferers.  As people with ASD (mostly introverts) are generally not comfortable in groups of people, presenting the learning and skills practice online is aimed at ensuring them their privacy and reduced stress levels.  Many people with ASD socialise and learn about the world and how to be involved in it through the Internet.

I think that there is no simple answer to this question, as some introverts find it easier to learn via the internet (especially with the Second Life group learners, once people have mastered the basics).

Does being connected via the internet mean being uncomfortably over-exposed? Yes, it could be the case, especially for introverts, if they are using their real identity, instead of avatars.  No, if people like to socialise and would like to be identified.  Sometimes a “mini-celebrity” could be achieved with over-exposure.

Can only extraverts take full advantage of the affordances of technology for being internationally connected?  I think it depends on the situation.  Both extroverts and introverts could take full advantage of the affordances of technology, as I have cited in the examples above.

Newton was a typical introverted scholar.  Would it be possible to remain as an introvert and still be able to keep abreast of knowledge and become a scholar – like Newton?   How?

Will “introverts” be converted into “extroverts” as a result of networked learning?

Will “introverts” likely behave like “extroverts” in networked learning?

Still pondering….

2 thoughts on “Connectivism – How does it fit into the Extrovert and Introvert types

  1. Pingback: #Change11 #CCK12 What could we learn from MOOC? A reflection | Learner Weblog

  2. Pingback: Are you an introvert, extrovert or both? | Learner Weblog

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