#CritLit2010 A short reflection on Connectivism

What an interesting discussion here with Heli and Ken!  Heli, Your English is fine, and I understand where you are coming from.  I came from a non-English speaking background, and so I share many of the feelings you have, when exposed to a global learning environment, here in blogosphere, in particular.
You both have interesting points here about Connectivism, especially about this paper on Connectivism by Rita and Adrian, and though we have reported our findings through our papers, there are many ideas about Connectivism for me to reflect upon, before I could further share my views.
It’s a bit difficult to “speculate” on what each of us are thinking, unless it is through anonymous interviews, survey or research (even narrative research), where our voices could be “heard” and recorded. However, we may be changing our views in the future, or we might have shifted our way of thinking as we share more perspectives with others in different spaces or media.  So, would we also need to take into account of the influence due to some rhetoric persuasion and debates, and the introduction of new and emerging technologies that might cause such shifting of “thinking”.
Furthermore, there are many factors which could be considered as “constraints” when learning with online learning, whether within an institutional education or social networking.  So openness and autonomy under an educational setting could be totally different from that in social networked learning, or in a non-institutional learning space or media.  Although there are still protocols, rules or norms expected in different informal or non-formal Communities (i.e. Community of Practices, Church Communities, Charity communities etc.), we are often not judged upon individually with performance criteria as such in an institutional setting, where qualifications are awarded based on those criteria. Would most people like to establish a positive personal identity on the Web or social media (the persona)?  Who would like to be viewed or perceived as a troll or irritant to others in the media (at least for educated and learnt people)? So would assessment criteria and personal identification in a course be critical in determining  whether openness and autonomy is important or not?  Would people who have their personal identify known behave appropriately when they are under the scrutiny of the public?  I don’t mean that we should have the big brothers watching over us, whether it is in a formal course or just an informal media. However, would most of us like to have “freedom of speech” sort of autonomy, “freedom to choose between transparent or opaque” and free to follow the rules or not when networking in the open space or media (irrespective of whether this is allowed in case of institutional education or not)?  How about those who would like to learn more independently in the social space or in a formal course (like the distance learners who have been around for decades)?  Would openness be important for them?  Would autonomy be critical for their self-dependency?

Relating to the research, we have also noted the biasing of “research” as we can never use an experiment on education with human based on a control and experimented group at the same time.  Even research from the neuroscience could be “colored”, once the researcher investigates on the “one to be studied”, as there could be “changes in behavior” in response to being examined in an experiment.  I think we all learnt from the Hawthorn experiment on the impact of observation on people, and the causal relationship between what is observed and what is in reality could still be “different”.  This is especially difficult in any open learning complex environment.
1. Referring to this Educational significance of Social Media What are the merits and demerits of using informal learning/social media in education?
2. What are the issues, challenges and opportunities relating to the use of Complexity Theory (which is pretty close to Connectivism) in Education?
3. Are lots of educators implementing Connectivism in their teaching within their institutions?  What have they found? This paper on Networked Learning by Wendy provided valuable insights into the application of Connectivism in higher grades of K-12 students
4. Is MOOC or OOC another alternative way of educating our students?  To what extent is it better than the traditional methods of education (especially in Higher and Further Education)?
5. So, is connectivism a learning theory?  Is it a new learning theory? And what are the implications if it becomes a new learning theory?
I will surely explore these in the coming posts and papers.
This blog on Research on Connectivism could provide some information on research for our community
John

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