by Stephen Downes
"Eight years ago George Siemens coined the term ‘Connectivism’ to describe learning networks1 and has been generous enough to share it with me. This volume represents the bulk of my contribution to the field since then.
"Connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks. An account of connectivism is therefore necessarily preceded by an account of networks. But the bulk of this work is devoted to tracing the implications of this thesis in learning.
"Yes, this could have been a shorter book – and perhaps one day I’ll author a volume without the redundancies, false starts, detours and asides, and other miscellany. Such a volume would be sterile, however, and it feels more true to the actual enquiry to stay true to the original blog posts, essays and presentations that constitute this work.
Here is the abridged version of my philosophy, for those not wishing to read the 600 or so pages that follow:
"The scope of my work covers three major domains, knowledge, learning and community. Each of these represents an aspect of network theory: the first, examining the cognitive properties of networks, the second, looking at how networks learn, and the third, tracing the properties of effective networks. These also represent the processes of learning, inference and discovery in society writ large."
Jim Lerman's insight:
Downes is one of the deepest thinkers around on networked learning. This 600-page e-book is a compilation of a great deal of his writing. Published in 2012, I just came across it on his website. The book is a free download.