I quite enjoyed this interview recordings with George Siemens, where George shared his experience with MOOC and the application of Connectivism.
George mentioned about differences between Connectivism and Constructivism (and the various versions of Constructivism – Social Constructivism, and Connectionism) in the interview.
Relating to the difference between Constructivism and Connectivism, George states in his paper on Connectivism:
Chaos is the breakdown of predictability, evidenced in complicated arrangements the initially defy order. Unlike constructivism, which states that learners attempt to foster understanding by meaning making tasks, chaos states that the meaning exists – the learner’s challenge is to recognize the patterns which appear to be hidden. Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized communities are important activities.
I see the differences between Constuctivism and Connectivism as shared here.
I think one of the biggest challenges about the application of Connectivism in a formal school setting still lies with the uncertainties (and the unpredictable “chaos” ) that may arise when educators are to structure a course based on an open structure, with open PLE to be developed by the students, and learning through “open networks and communities”. In this respect, the educators may not be following a closed structured course of instruction that are typically delivered in formal institutions.
There are challenges which relate to
(a) the apparent lessening of “control” by the educators over what is to be learnt through the course of instruction within the time-frame designed for the course, and how well the learners are progressing in the learning, especially in the K-12, or the College environment where vocational education and training is formally structured on competency-based with defined learning goals, objectives, and performance criteria;
(b) who and how educators and students would be connected to and interact with in an “informal learning” learning environment, and how it fits into the formal school setting, where safety in education, personal security and risk management are expected to be “under control” in the formal education environment, when internet or mobile learning and technology are used by students in classrooms.
There are also major constraints when school based education is still based on:
(a) a well defined curriculum and linear prescriptive course structure with subjects taught in classes by instructors or teachers.
(b) a space and time where the teacher(s) are responsible for the teaching and students are expected to learn, and to demonstrate competency within set boundaries. Competency would be based on assessment in the form of assignments, quiz, tests, examinations, projects etc.
(c) a pedagogical model based on instructivism – where teachers are likely the sage on the stage, guiding the students through learning in a systematic manner, using a behavioral/cognitive approach in managing and controlling students’ learning progression and competency achievement.
Whilst the above approach suits well in class-room teaching and learning for the past few decades, it has been challenged by many stakeholders (employers, education authorities, educators, scholars, researchers, parents, learners) on the relevancy of education and learning, and the effectiveness and efficiency of the education based solely on such mode of education.
Given the above challenges, what are some of your solutions towards education and learning?
How would you apply Connectivism in a classroom environment?
A starting point may be a small scale of experimental MOOC, based on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, together with the development of PLE as a pedagogical model.
Here are some resources that may be of interests:
Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? by Rita Kop and Adrian Hill
More to come.