What Makes Connectivism Unique? (updated) #cck11

very old image
an answer

Just a small post today.

My question is a question about this question: What Makes Connectivism Unique?, Why this question? Why should a — ism be Unique? Or is it important to be unique?  Of course differences are visible between different theories, that is why they are different.

I wonder why this question did connect itself to me?  I will leave the questions to the friendly care of the networks. Maybe somewhere an answer will connect to us?

The picture is very old, about 20 centuries, and it is about inspiration.

On 2nd thoughts, after a night sleeping on it. My expectations of a learning theory are:
Does it help in better learning and teaching? Is the theory compatible with existing knowledge (of learning)? Does it add some new and better ideas?  These are important questions to me.

Maybe this question “What Makes Connectivism Unique?” can be changed a little in a better question: “What are the contributions of connectivism to the body of learning theories?”
The short version of the answer is “…  that connective knowledge is grown, not built, it is natural, not intentional, and it is inherent, not representative.” Well, I am not convinced these points are the main contribution of connectivism to the body of learning theories.

One point for connectivism, its epistemology is not a (for me) weird form of anti-realism as in social-constructivism. Connectivism is in some way about reality and not about constructed images of a reality that may not even exist. (very short description of a very long discussion on philosophy).

Second point: In teaching immigrant workers some Dutch ( six day course) I am very aware now of connections. Learning new language is making connections to existing knowledge and new knowledge. I often ask the students to make connections with new words and information they already have. This of course is not a new mnemo (learning) technic but connectivism did make me use it more often.

Third point: the learning of the learner has the focus. It is not centered around the intentions and goals of the teacher or the school.

Other differences on Suifaijohnmak’s Weblog.

http://connecting2theworld.blogspot.com/search/label/connectivism: While constructivism and cognitive learning theories address the individual’s learning, they do not address the group level learning and transfer/negotiation of understanding. As a result, connectivism seems to give a better explanation of the “group level” or organizational learning that goes on. It addresses the individual, group, and individual/group dynamic.

3 thoughts on “What Makes Connectivism Unique? (updated) #cck11

  1. I very much agree with your second thoughts although I’d go further and omit the last paragraph. Certain aspects of connectivism do seem weird to me but I’m not sure it matters all that much at present and “Does it add some new and better ideas?” is by far the more pressing question for most educators. It’s difficult to say this without sounding elitist but time can be wasted by ‘armchair philosophy’ (I don’t mean your contribution!) that could otherwise be happily spent in the field trying out new approaches. For the time being anyway I’ve abandoned the philosophical to those who are much better qualified than myself!

    Gordon Lockhart

  2. First, in my original comment the “last paragraph” now refers to the second last paragraph (the author has added another).

    Re “new possibilities” – taking ‘connectivism’ purely in the context of networked learning, yes, I think it does throw light on numerous learning possibilities that deserve further exploration (technological, social, instructional design etc) but I find the the current philosophical stance taken by Connectivism confusing.

    Gordon Lockhart

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