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.

More links:

Constructivist Learning

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

Information from PIDP 3250 (Connectivism Learning Theory

by Brian Cassell – Sunday, 18 January 2015, 9:48 AM)


Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.

Key Concepts
Principles of connectivism

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision


What impact does this theory have on developing classroom material?


Listen to the originator talk about his theory
Connectivism and Organizations

Networked students


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