When thinking of Learning theories, the mind tends to gravitate towards Behaviorism, Cognitivism or Constructivism. Ahhh the classics! The be all and end all of learning theory… right? That’s all, there is nothing more to see here folks, everything has been considered …right? …right?
….Connectivism you say? What’s that?
George Siemens’ theory of Connectivism states:
“connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. Also critical is the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday” (Siemens, 2005, para. 24).
Connectivism is comprised of three different components:
Chaos Theory – basically unrelated elements when studied together create a pattern that shows relevance beyond the elements themselves. (Salmon, 1999, para. 5).
Importance of Networks – in a nutshell, we no longer truly personally experience everything when learning something new, so we create connections between entities or networks. (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008.)
Complexity and Self-Organization – a neat concept where complexity is a collection of “stuff” that interacts with other “stuff” through the fact that the “stuff’s” interactions or connections are not necessarily linear but when in a system these things tend to self-organize when modeled. (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008.)
I thought to myself, “Self, how is this useful to me?” If you were wondering I did not answer myself… I did, however, put together a mind map of what I would consider my learning connections (above). This was an interesting exercise in trying to create order through the chaos.
As I have gotten older I realized that my learning connections are always evolving – I constantly seek meaning in all interactions I have. Digital tools have given me opportunities to learn more information than I could have imagined 20 years ago. Today if I have a question about anything I can grab my phone and look up almost anything. My network today has gotten much larger than I could have ever imagined and the world has gotten much smaller.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Connectivism
Salmon, V. (1999). Chaos in the composition classroom: Why do some classes fail to function?. Inquiry, 4, Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://www.vccaedu.org/inquiry/inquiry-fall99/i-42-salmon.html
Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm