This research report by Frances Bell brings up some interesting critiques of Connectivism as a learning theory. Though it is from 2011, the questions she ask's and the points that are made still seem valid today. It questions whether connectivism can truly replace other learning theories whether it can just complement them, or can in fact even be called a learning theory.
Connectivism aspires to redefine learning within the diverse contexts identified in the Introduction and to deliver a learning theory
for the digital age. This is a tall order for so young a theory, as it is yet untested: This may account for its lack of rigour. In this paper, the author not only looks for one learning theory but rather theories that will help us to understand and make changes as learners, teachers, and learning technologists in this evolving context.
Frances Bell argues that connectivism makes its contribution mainly as a phenomenon, “a thing as it appears, rather thanas a thing in itself. Therefore, If connectivism is insufficient, the question remains: Which theories are needed to learn and
make change in this dynamic, sociotechnical environment?
That is still open to debate. She says that we cannot yet expect a single, all-encompassing theory in this context for learning, if indeed we ever could.
There are other theories like Actor-network theory (Latour,2005)
Example: Flexible learning (Bigum & Rowan,2004); Social Learning Theory (Stewart & Williams, 2005; Williams, Stewart, & Slack; Vygotsky’s ZPD(Chaiklin, 2003) Example: (Griffiths & Light, 2010) and Third-generation activity theory (Engeström, 2001). Example: (Engeström & Kerosuo, 2007).
The final conclusion of this article determines that in the current dynamic context for learning and education, connectivism alone is insufficient as a theory to inform learning and its technology-enabled support in an internetworked world, and that as the scope of changes in learning enabled by technologies increases, so does our need to expand the repertoire of theories and research approaches.
The Networked Student was inspired by CCK08, a Connectivism course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes during fall 2008. It depicts an actual projec...
Thomas J Okon's insight:
There has been some recent discussion questioning the validity of Connectivism as a learning theory. ( See Keith Wayne Brown) That discussion will certainly continue, but if its not a theory than what? This video shows in simple terms how Connectivism explains the 20th century connected learning process and explains the required behavior of a modern student and Teacher. One could theorize that the ability to incorporate new information into existing knowledge or to synthesize new knowledge from multiple new sources of information derived from a PLN will eventually be a required skill of every student or life long learner.
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (www.irrodl.org) is a refereed e-journal that aims to advance research, theory and best practice in open and distance education research.
Thomas J Okon's insight:
Special Issue - Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning
"I would simply urge UNESCO to respect the wishes of those people who are not commercial publishers or multi-million-dollar educational institutions, to recognize the intent of people creating NC-licensed resources to ensure they can be accessed for free, and to recognize resources licensed with a NC clause as OERs with equal standing."
Connected Learning: An Agenda for Social Change Huffington Post All of these are examples of what my colleagues and I have been calling "connected learning" -- learning that is highly social, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational,...
Stephen's Web, the home page of Stephen Downes, with news and information on e-learning, new media, instructional technology, educational design, and related subjects
Thomas J Okon's insight:
I thought I knew what Connectivism and Connected Learning were. I've written about them, I've read and curated many articles. Well here's a new deeper understanding explained by Stephen Downes, one of the founders of Connectivism and MOOC's. He speaks about Knowledge- its not just in the network- Knowledge IS the network. And about Learning - The "Downes Theory". Then finally, Community- education is not about remembering a body of predifined content, its about the citizens communicating what they know with each other.
Its a long piece, but well worth hearing (or you can have a look at the Slideshare). You'll likely learn something new, or expand your understanding, like I often do when reading Stephen's writings.
Connectivism is not just a theory of how people learn. It can be a process that a student engages to take some action in response to a learning experience that doesnt seem effective. Kevin Stranack calls it Guerrilla Connectivism, and it refers to using Constructivist tools to engage fellow learners in order to overcome the inadequecy or limations of an instructor run class. These tips are great ideas for any student to practice, as well as for instructors when they are looking for ways to make their courses more engaging.
Abstract: Alongside (new models of pedagogy) has emerged a new learning theory, connectivism, which its proponents consider provides a new approach to learning and to knowledgeand that posits the unsuitability of existing theory. The basis of this model in chaos theory leads to questions of how it facilitates this use of a initiallynatural science based theoretical model, and the ways in which it differs formexisting learning theories, particularly social constructivism. Using Expansive learning as a comparative for the links to two underpinning theories, chaos theory and zero learning, this literature review attempts to locate the ways inwhich chaos theory is prevalent and the extent to which connectivism does offer a new theory of learning.
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