Is Connectivism all about social networked learning?

Connectivism is about social networked learning as cited here.

I would like to learn from George, Stephen and you on the focus on Connectivism now: Is it on social networked learning, or on Personal Learning (i.e. Personal Learning Networks and Personal Learning Environments)?  Or is it on both?

John

15 thoughts on “Is Connectivism all about social networked learning?

  1. I am becoming more and more convinced that ‘connectivism’ is merely a pedagogy for social learning through computer networks, and not a ‘learning theory’ as such. PLNs and PLEs are just portals to assist in access and control of one’s social computer networked learning (SCNL).

  2. Hi Ken,
    Is connectivism a learning theory? See this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connectivism_(learning_theory)
    What would the basis of pedagogy? Participatory pedagogy? Learner-centered/adult learning pedagogy? Heutagogy?
    I have been thinking about the re-definition of learning and theory altogether, as learning needs to be “defined” totally differently, and the concept of “theory” needs to be challenged with regards to the 5Ws and 1 Hs that have been traditionally used. I am doing this not because of proving something new, but to highlight that we are now at an age where we are “learning” all the time and that the traditional concepts of learning have been defined on a value system (educational and learning value) framed under an institutional model mainly, without consideration of the epistemological implication based on new and emerging technology’s mediation and human and agents’ new ways of engagement, communication, conversation and interaction (i.e. we are not learning just with one model but with multi-models, and there is no one “absolute” defined and set ways of learning and education that would satisfy the learners’ needs and expectations. I am also looking forward to the metaphors of fractals development to explain the principles involved in the multiplicity of interaction and conversation. Refer to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal : f(z) = zxz + c (This is the fractal formula where z is a complex number and c is the residue). This article on fractal analysis may be a good start http://www.ams.org/notices/199910/fea-strichartz.pdf Will explain this in another comment.
    John

  3. Hello John. Thanks. I’ve seen that wikipedia entry before. I wonder who wrote it? I noted that the last sentence says:

    “It has also been noted that connectivism can be seen as an off-branch to constructivism called social constructivism”

    Why are you thinking of redefining theory and learning? Have we not always been learning all the time?

  4. Hi Ken,
    Yes, we have been always learning all the time, but how did we learn in the past, based on what model(s) of learning? Behaviorism, Instructivism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, or a combination of them or some other models of learning? And what was the “learning” that was defined and based upon, personally, in institution, in social networks, and throughout networks in web, or in internet? Did we get satisfactory responses relying on such model(s) of learning? As explained in my past comment, what considerations are taken when we are engaging with new and emerging technology? What assumptions have we made when learning with new and emerging technology? Most of the theories were developed before such new and emerging technology, and so how would we expect these theories be applicable to complex and complicated learning environments? I have cited the use of Complexity Theory in education in another post and even then there have been various situations where we found difficulties in understanding why learning did and didn’t occur in complex situations. Why? Have we really defined learning in a way that is suited to the “learner”? Do we need to re-frame what a learner is? Do we need to re-frame what learning mean? Otherwise, we are trying to coin learning from a single definition, that may be vaguely understood by the learner(s). Did we change our learning from an institutional mode of learning to our present multi-modes of learning with a combination of learning? Would we be able to explain our present learning solely by any of the learning theories? How and why?
    As explained with my previous posts, I think “we” are in search of a “learning theory”, which could better explain what, where, when, how, why and with whom learning would occur, at this digital age. We might not be able to explain all learning that has taken place, can we? I don’t think we have come to this stage as yet, due to the complexity nature of learning.
    I would try to write a detailed critique on learning theory, but this would take me months before such research is completed. Any interest in doing any further research (cooperative or collaborative ones)?
    John

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  6. Hello John. I don’t know for sure how learning was done in the past. In Greece for example, I understand there there were schools, and Socrates liked to argue with people. I like his style. Did they use classrooms then?

    It is interesting to me that most on-line stuff tries to emulate classroom-style learning, and what you call institutional learning.

    Elluminate: virtual classroom
    Forums: discussion areas
    Blogs: writing

    Even courses that claim the learner will do peer to peer work are emulating a style that is conducted in physical classrooms (problem-based learning etc).

    I am not discounting the effect and importance of technology; I just don’t see anything new with the styles embraced under new technology, only the tools have changed and the medium is now virtual instead of f2f. So instead of playing a video in the classroom, students watch it on-line. etc.

    I thought you had located the theory (connectivism) for the digital age? Is the search still on?

  7. Hi Ken,
    I appreciate your sharing about learning, and that is exactly what learning is all about though we are now using a virtual space, and to some extent overcome the tyranny of many (time, geography & location, power – with little or no choice, the persons to learn with, limited choice of methods etc.) with technology mediation and alternative ways to express, share our emotions (in public/private – email etc.).

    I wouldn’t attribute all these just to the technology. I would rather think that it’s human nature of learning that has sparked our desire to keep pushing our own boundaries, and quest for new level of understanding through sustaining existing network connections or creating new connections or networks. So, in the past, say in the 60s – 70s, we had only got small networks, now, we have any sorts of networks… These may never be accounted for if we don’t share the stories, don’t start the conversation, and don’t participate or engage, and so it is not one single theory or “ism” that would keep this evolving or transforming. It’s no longer a push – learning environment, it’s a combination of push and pull learning environment that we could choose.

    You are right in that we are still practicing lots of those same teaching skills – like playing videos, showing powerpoints, and explaining just like what Socrates did in the walled classroom. What happens? Some students like them, some don’t. Why? Some of the students couldn’t get to the class because of remote distance. Some others find the time inconvenient for them to attend. What could we do? We could video-tape the lessons, post them on the web or our institution website, etc, and so students could watch on line. Also, we could post resources on VLE (e.g. Moodle), or blogs/wikis etc.

    What’s new about learning? See my post in what’s new in connectivism. I have mentioned on the merits and limitations on Connectivism in my blog, so I wouldn’t repeat them here. There are also challenges and opportunities in online learning and MOOC as mentioned in our papers on Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC and Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools. These papers also aimed to highlight what we can and what we are limited by the affordance of technology when learning in a complex networked learning environment. I don’t think there is an easy solution.

    We have a choice in education and learning, and an ambition of supporting and encouraging our next generation to be better prepare for their future. How? Here it is based on making education and learning more interesting, more enjoyable and valuable, and relevant to each of us, instead being enslaved with the “golden command that: one size suits all sort of “elite education” and the seemingly attractive slogan of – don’t rock the boat, and you would get to the top sort of education attitude”.

    We could keep admiring our antiques (our success stories of the past with walled gardens, rote learned facts that every students have to remember) – with nostalgia. Would we be keeping our next generation repeating what we have done with the same “learning theories of great moments of the time”?

    I started off this journey of thinking when I was a teenager, and I think we have all a great “responsibility” for our and next generation when it comes to education and learning.

    Have I located the theory (connectivism) for the digital age? A great question…..
    Still a long journey, not only for me to re-think about learning and education, but what it all means to others, who are affected by the education and learning.
    How about you?

    Any interest in this article http://blog.summation.net/2010/07/how-to-build-companies-without-politics.html Would we like to educate our next generation on this? Please help me with this.
    John

  8. Hello John. Let me Fisk out a couple of your statements:

    >It’s no longer a push – learning environment, it’s a combination of push and pull learning environment that we could choose.

    When do you think the change occurred? When I was first an undergrad, a long time ago, I don’t recall a push environment in my tutorials.

    >Why? Some of the students couldn’t get to the class because of remote distance. Some others find the time inconvenient for them to attend. What could we do?

    Distance learning has been around for awhile particularly in large countries like yours and mine. I completed my BA in 1988 through correspondence.

    >We have a choice in education and learning, and an ambition of supporting and encouraging our next generation to be better prepare for their future.

    Isnt’ this always the case? Are you claiming this as the sacred ground of connectivism?

    >What’s new about learning? See my post in what’s new in connectivism.

    I went there, made a post.

    >instead being enslaved with the “golden command that: one size suits all sort of “elite education” and the seemingly attractive slogan of – don’t rock the boat, and you would get to the top sort of education attitude”.

    What is this? Dogma?

    >We could keep admiring our antiques (our success stories of the past with walled gardens, rote learned facts that every students have to remember) – with nostalgia

    I think it is good to admire previous successes, don’t you? Is this dogma again? Is the Australian system only about learning rote facts?

    John, I admire the doggedness and zeal with which you support connectivism as a learning theory. I am much less inclined to jump on a bandwagon (unless it involves the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team). Nothing that I’ve seen or heard yet makes me inclined to call connectivism a learning theory, nor do I think it meets the rule of thumb of Occam’s Razor. That is to say, I think that connectivism only makes our understanding of learning harder. I, unlike Stephen, am in favour of simpler solutions.

    Now if only I could find a simple solution to the lack of success of the Maple Leafs….

  9. Hi Ken,
    Many thanks for your comments and valuable insights.
    I understand your points, and appreciate each of your responses.
    1. When do I think the change occurred? Since the introduction of internet, but then more changes within the last 10 years when more flexible on-line learning options were available.
    2. Distance learning in the 70s to 80s were done with correspondence. I did some distance Bachelor Degree in the late 70s too. However, such distance learning didn’t involve any peers, and I was provided just with a book list. I just needed to attend the final public examination (same papers as the other BSc students in London Uni). I was learning by self-studies mainly, without any instructors, or any other resources provided by Uni. I passed all units in the first part. I didn’t continue with my BSc as I got another Eng degree with my mainstream study in Univ. Was the difference big enough? I attended all undergrad, grad studies (In service course for Teacher Training, Grad Diploma in Voc Edu & Learning, Master of Science (Eng) all with face to face teaching. Now, I could see the difference. With your BA by correspondence, did you find any difference in the ways of study by today’s standard?
    3. There have been choices around, mainly about formal education – K-12, higher education etc., but not with the informal “education”, non formal and informal learning which are available now.
    I was referring to the explanation of such introduction of learning with Connectivism. Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, and Social Constructivism were already established before the widespread of internet in the mid 90s till now, and the Web 2.0 in recent few years. Would we expect such theories to consider or incorporate the concepts of technology affordance and internet in the 80s to early 90s? May be? How?
    3. Golden command – whilst I was young, that was the only mass education available – with standardised curriculum, from primary to high school, or even Uni. Was it one-size suits all? You might have received a different sort of education in Canada. What might be different? Like to learn.
    4. Yes, there are great success stories and learning moments. But that was the past, based on our own stories only. Are we trying those methods now? We have now used a combination of assessments, not just examination. I have been conducting on-the-job training since 2000s.
    5. You said:”I think that connectivism only makes our understanding of learning harder.” Would you like to elaborate? Which part of it do you find hard in understanding?
    “You prefer simpler solution.” What is that simpler solution?
    In reflection, we would hardly afford to have such learning conversation (like this) a few years ago.
    Relating to Connectivism, for me, I would consider those principles that is applicable at work. So, I could do it by keeping it simple. Also, which theory of learning do you find a simpler solution?
    If you are not impressed by Connectivism, then as you said, you would prefer to adopt a simpler solution. You might be using your own theory of learning or social constructivism, simply that you won’t call it Connectivism. And you don’t like it as it’s too difficult to understand. That’s fine.
    We all have choices.

    John

  10. >And you don’t like it as it’s too difficult to understand

    You are a work-twister! hahaha

    Let me ask YOU a question:

    What is YOUR understanding of the ‘theory of connectivism’?

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