My participation in a forum
Re: Connectivism Learning Theory
by Isabelle Vilm – Wednesday, 11 February 2015, 7:31 AM
To answer this question of “What impact does this theory have on developing classroom material?, I would like to describe my progression in this course through the forum discussion and make the parallel between this progression (I could say the procedure I have applied in this course) and what is said in this article Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? This article provides a very complete analysis of Connectivism and I highly recommend anyone who is interested in this topic to read it. It is well written and it is easy to focus on the part of the analysis you are more particularly interested in. For the purpose of this posting, I focused more on the section The Compatibility of Connectivism and Formal Education and Teaching in a Connected Environment after I had spent some time reading the first two part (Intro and description of the theory) thoroughly because I didn’t know much about this theory.
If I want to put his theory in parallel with what we are doing in this course (as well as in PIDP 3250) is because we have barely any content provided in this course and yet I know through my experience in PIDP3250 that I am going to learn a lot. The forum discussions can be considered a way to learn through networking. So how is this course material develop is interesting to analyse. I can already say that because of this forum discussion approach and because of the multiple options we had “Learners will be at the centre of the learning experience, rather than the tutor and the institution.” (Kop and Hill, 2008). One also say that our critical thinking and analysis skills will be engaged through the forum because some conditions are defined for our participation. The instructor here is guiding us without telling us what to learn.
Here is how I started my implication in these forums. I went through the first discussion to look for a topic I was interested in. I want to point out that I didn’t go through all the forums to find what I was interested in because I knew I had to participate in the three discussions. I know it because it is part of the instructions in this course. So yes, I direct my own learning but the tutor has definitely a role of a guide and I am glad he does. The reason is that even though I know I have to learn about Copyright, I really hate the topic and I doubt I would have participated in this forum if I didn’t have to. In the same article, they report these words from Kop (2008): “Nearly all students preferred the help and support of the local or online tutor to guide them through resources and activities, to validate information, and to critically engage them in the course content”. That reassures me because they also said “The role of the tutor will not only change, but may disappear altogether.”
I am sorry to be so long but I want to add one point about how we choose to participate in one of these multiple discussions in these forums. I have to say that I started with the ones I was passionate about like flipped classroom and about which I knew already and I could share my knowledge. Sharing my knowledge was one reason but saving time was another reason (I had already read articles, etc.) As adult learners we all want to learn but we all have a very busy life and time is a major concern. That brings me to a last point mentioned by Kop and Hill: “There have been concerns about the lack of critical engagement online (Norris 2001), because of the temptation to connect with like-minded people, rather than in more challenging transactions.” If that happened Connectivism wouldn’t help develop higher order thinking.
Information from PIDP 3250 (Connectivism Learning Theory