Since participating CCK08, I have been reflecting on the application of Connectivism. Carmen and Jenny’s recent published paper summarized it well, on Connectivism and Dimensions of Individual Experience: Tschofen, C. & Mackness, J. (2011) Connectivism and Dimensions of Individual Experience. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl.
The authors suggest that definitions of all four principles can be expanded to recognize individual and psychological diversity within connective environments. They also suggest that such expanded definitions have implications for learners’ experiences of MOOCs, recognizing that learners may vary greatly in their desire for and interpretation of connectivity, autonomy, openness, and diversity.
This relates well to fully autonomous learners, where I have shared here:
“So, there are lots of assumptions here, where responsibility could be one of the keys for learner autonomy – so the learner could take charge of learning. Would this also require an understanding of the skills necessary to determine what a successful learning means? This may relate to the goals and plan set by the learner in order to achieve personal learning. Are the goals set by the learners in alignment with the education in a school or HE setting?
So, I think learning with learner autonomy could be quite distinct from the formal education pathway where educational goals are normally pre-set by the institutions rather than the learners. Would learner autonomy be more relevant for more independent and self-directed learners who are seeking alternative learning pathways, especially when such learners are learning through social media or learning networks which are not directly linked to educational institutions?”
There seems to be a lot of doubts about the distinction between Connectivism and Social Constructivism – where in this post Suz wondered: if Connectivism is a useful framework for formal learning at all. I always associate Connectivism with informal learning.
My view is that Connectivism relates more with digital pedagogy and netagogy and pedagogy, heutagogy and life long learning, and goes far beyond informal learning. Besides, informal learning and formal learning are now blurred in the case of life-long learning, with learners creating their own PLE in order to satisfy both their formal and informal learning needs. This is in sharp contrast with the industrial model in educational institutions.
Lemire shared his valuable insights here on why the industrial model (based on instructivism) may not work well in formal higher education:
Hence, as a teacher, I reject the industrial model as much as I can. I believe that, in an ideal world, we would not need any teaching at all.
We still use the apprenticeship model in graduate school. But to accommodate most students, I still haven’t thought of a better model than setting up classes. But should the classes be organized like factories with the teacher acting as a middle-manager while students act as factory employees, executing tasks one after the other while we assess and time them? I think not. My teaching philosophy is simple: challenge the student, set him in motion, and provide a model. I try to be as far from the industrial model as I can, while remaining within the accepted boundaries of my job. I have two rules when it comes to teaching:
- Focus on open-ended assignments and exams.
- Be an authentic role model.
This leads me to wonder what changes are needed in order to align education with personalised learning, and how learning and assessment be re-structured, through the introduction of Connectivism or Social Constructivism.
One would however, wish to know the similarities and differences between Connectivism and Social Constructivism before considering the adoption of changes.
So, what are the similarities and differences between Connectivism and Social Constructivism?
So Connectivism would cover the emergent and novel situations where networked learning is emphasised, and where learning could be extended to those scenarios outside the institutions.
How about the application of Connectivism in an institutional environment? I have shared this in my previous post here.