Peter Sloep said in Google + “Where I definitely do disagree with her is that PLNs are founded in the theory of Connectivism. Connectivism still has to prove its worth as a learning theory and I would not want to have the useful notion of a PLN depend on the fate of Connectivism as a theory. That said, PLNs are all about social learning, as is Connectivism, so the two are definitely connected.”
Are PLNs founded in the theory of Connectivism? Connectivism is based on the notion that learning is the result of connections of nodes in networks – as the capacity to build, construct and navigate across networks (including social and personal learning networks, and the neuronetworks).
In this connection, PLNs relate to Connectivism but it is more than the social learning, mainly because it covers the neuro, conceptual (cognitive & across different domains) and social level. I understand that when Connectivism was first postulated in George’s paper, there seemed to be a stronger focus on social learning, which then led to a debate whether it is just a re-coining of social constructivism with technology as basis of connections and mediation.
I have shared the similarities and differences between Connectivism and Constructivism (and Social Constructivism) in my posts. Stephen has proposed the elements of diversity, autonomy, openness and interactivity and connectivity as properties of networks, which seem also focus more on the social learning. However, these social learning would need to relate back to the learner at the three levels, in particular the perception and interpretation of learning based on individual’s experience, in order to make sense (i.e. the sensemaking).
It seems that most of the evidences collected in research relates to the social learning, at a collective level, rather than the individual learning, based on the those tacit and explicit knowledge developed as a result of “connections” at a neural and conceptual level (and these are very hard to be evidenced and quantified, but could be revealed through more narratives and discourse analysis and checking of the connections using brain scanning).