Week 5: Connectivism – Mapping Your Learning Connections

When referring to connectivism we are referring to a learning theory for the digital age (Siemens, 2004, http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm. According to Siemens (2004) along with behaviorism and cognitivism, these three learning theories, arise throughout a time when learning was not developed in the course of technology,  have been most often used in the creation of instruction environments. However, over the last two decades, technology has changed our lifestyle, how we correspond, as well as our learning style (Siemens, 2004). As we can see learning has change over the previous decades. Connectivism is acknowledged as a learning theory that incorporates social networks, technology, knowledge, as well as communication. As noted by Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman (2008) “the act of learning does not happen in a vacuum, it occurs at the connection of prior knowledge, experience, acuity, actuality, understanding, and flexibility” http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism. I see connectivism as a vital learning theory for today’s learner. Learning transpires in diverse ways in our society today. Learning comes in forms of courses, email, communities, conversations, web search, reading blogs, etc. Yet, we find that courses are the main means for learning. As indicated by Siemens (2005) “by using these networks – of people, of technology, of social structures, of systems, of power grids, etc. – learning communities can share their ideas with others, thereby “cross-pollinating” the learning environment” (as cited by Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008, http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism). In order for learning to be effectively in today’s society, diverse approaches and personal skills are required.

Being a student in an online university, I have utilized different digital tools. The main software program that I use is Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office products as was Word (2007 & 2010) and PowerPoint. I use Internet Explorer as a means of surfing the Web as well as the browser I use to log onto Walden University. Google is the search engine that I utilized as a means of performing research. In completing my assignments for the course I utilize Microsoft word and PowerPoint. From time to time throughout my education I have utilize DVD’s as a means of fostering my learning. All of these digital tools have played an enormous part in enhancing my education by means of researching information, solving problems as well as completing a variety of tasks and projects that I have. I have found the search engine (Google) to be very beneficial in permitting me to obtain knowledge when I have questions. Another means of gaining knowledge when I have question is the Q&A forum. The Q &A forum allows us to ask and answer questions among colleagues and the instructor.

As acknowledge by George Siemens (2001) connectivism is tied tightly to today’s learning environment (Laureate Education). Through my years of working in education and attending online, I have had a very strong personal learning network.  According to Siemens (2004) “A network can simply be defined as connections between entities” http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm. Today’s new technology has allowed me to stay connected with people all over the world as well as people who have been of value for educational resources. According to Siemens (2009) we are observing a major flare-up in how we begin to connect with other people nevertheless also how we link with data sources (Laureate Education, Inc.). Thanks to the digital age of technology my personal learning networks have been very active in providing the kind of learning experience for me to conclude my education in the consolation of my home. Therefore I would say that my personal learning network would support all of the tenets of connectivism. According to Sieman (2004) “Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual” (http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm).

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Laureate Educations, Inc. (2009). Connectivism. Dr. George Siemens.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved March 27, 2012 from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.

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