My reflection on Connectivism as a new learning theory – to date

Here is my response to a post on FB relating to the question of whether Connectivism is a new learning theory or not.  (See and the series of post

Refer to this “The language and theories of different paradigms cannot be translated into one another or rationally evaluated against one another – they are incommensurable.” Interesting to relate to George Siemens‘ paper on connectivism. It has been examined and evaluated based on many “different schools of thoughts”.

However, as we also noted, there have been some substantial development in those application of principles, where some seemed to be validated by the Connectivism MOOCs in ccks, whilst other principles on the theory of emergence, Chaos and Complexity Theories are revealed through various further evidences. See Roy and Jenny’s papers on emergence – emergent learning which provide an extended understanding about those learning.

As it seems to be the case, to debate on a theory such as Connectivism based on one paper only may not be sufficient, as it won’t help in providing enough “helpful questions”, especially when they relate to Chaos, Complexity Theory and Neuroscience. The various principles proposed by George Siemens have since been challenged too, through various discourses. It is worthwhile to retrieve some of the arguments based on the digital artifacts, to help in seeing which questions are helpful in providing an understanding of learning in this digital era.

In summary, as Connectivism relates to learning at this digital age, it may not be easily critiqued based on the past learning theories and principles where technology affordance is not readily available. To critically analyse and dispute each of the principles proposed by George Siemens may be helpful, though I don’t think that is the only means to critique on Connectivism. Stephen Downes has also contributed significantly in this theory, and it could be interesting to examine the theory based on these few years of development on Connectivism. I could share some of our findings in coming posts, if that is okay.

I don’t think one could come up with a conclusion just by a blog post, with the theory part only. As proposed, there must be application examples and empirical evidences to “prove” and “dis-prove” the principles, and counter examples where learning is appropriated.

Refer to my posts Part 1 and Part 2 on the similarities and differences between Connectivism and Constructivism (and Social Constructivism).

Also refer to

Rita Kop and Adrian Hill on Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?

Terry Anderson and Jon Dron on Three Generations of Distance Education Pedagogy