Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

on a boat on a river

Over on Facebook, a colleague posted a link to Connectivism as Learning Theory by Eyal Sivan and said this:

Just came across info on "connectivism", a theory of "network learning" based on principles of chaos, complexity and emergent meaning-making ... and it was a Manitoban that came up with it! Here's some brain food about social and educational connectivism, sparked by the new theory. In case you're bored. :)

Connectivism is a learning theory (or is it?) developed by George Siemans and Stephen Downes.

So is it a learning theory? I am not sure (as Eyal says, "I’ll leave that to the teachers.") but here is what Mr. Siemans says:

Connectivism’s relevance increases when we consider a new method (or metaphor) of learning. The achilles heel of existing theories rests in the pace of knowledge growth. All existing theories place processing (or interpretation) of information squarely on the individual doing the learning. This model works well if the knowledge flow is moderate. A constructivist, for example, can process, interpret, and derive personal meaning from different information formats…as long as the flow doesn’t overwhelm the learner. What happens, however, when information is more of a deluge than a trickle? What happens when information flows too fast for processing or interpreting?

Once knowledge/information flow becomes too rapid and complex, we need to conceptualize a learning model that allows individuals to learn and function in spite of the pace and flow. A network model of learning (an attribute of connectivism) offloads some of the processing and interpreting functions of knowledge flow to nodes within a learning network. Instead of the learning having to evaluate and process every piece of information, she/he creates a personal network of trusted nodes (people and content). The learner aggregates relevant nodes…and relies on each individual node to provide needed knowledge. The act of learning is offloaded onto the network itself – i.e. the network is the learning. This view of learning scales well with continued complexity and pace of knowledge development.

He also says this:

Our natural capacity for learning is tremendous. We overcome many obstacles and restrictions to achieve our goals. It’s also an example of the short-sighted nature of some learning programs. The problem rests largely in the view that learning is a managed process, not a fostered process. When learning is seen as managed, an LMS is the logical tool. When learning is seen as a function of an ecology, diverse options and opportunities are required.

If you are on Facebook and want to join the connectivism learning circle happening there, click here.

And if you want to see a ecological approach to curriculum, check out the National Film Board site for Waterlife -- a deluge made up of a connected series of trickles where we can forage, explore and connect the trickles we choose to create our own deluge.

No comments:

Post a Comment