Our Friday session about CCK08 triggered my mind to ponder connectivism generally. Jenny gathered many conception of George Siemens and Stephen Downes, please read her post Some notes about connectivism. I had read an article of Rita Kop and Adrian Hill in Rita’s blog. I did not notice it earlier and perhaps it is good, because I can now follow it better. I have made almost the same conclusions in my mind during last two years.
I have to use quotes because of my poor English. The writers and references are found in the article Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? published 2008. The starting point was that Siemens and Downes initially received increasing attention in the blogosphere in 2005 when they discussed their ideas concerning distributed knowledge. The question was (as we know )
Would a new theory that encompasses new developments in digital technology be more appropriate, and would it be suitable for other aspects of learning, including in the traditional class room, in distance education and e-learning?
Kerr (2007d) identifies two purposes for the development of a new theory: it replaces older theories that have become inferior, and the new theory builds on older theories without discarding them, because new developments have occurred which the older theories no longer explain. – These are questions I have been asking during my studies. At the beginning I thought we need a new theory, but now I am not sure.
Existing theories satisfactorily address the needs of learning in today’s technologically, connected age. Verhagen (2006) criticises connectivism as a new theory, primarily because he can distil no new principles from connectivism that are not already present in other existingg learning theories.
Where connectivism draws its strength is through using Web-based activity as an example of learning looking through the connectivist lens. The analogy is intuitive and powerful because of the ubiquitous use of the Internet in today’s world. In addition, Downes (2006) has elucidated an epistemological framework for distributed knowledge which provides a strong philosophical basis for the connectivist learning framework. – Now in CritLit2010 we are participating in Stephen’s experiment (?) about new media as language: how linguistics help us to understand learning in digital Age. Right?
Kerr: no theory, including the connectivist model, sufficiently explains higher order thinking “as a mechanism spanning brain, perception and environment.” He states that “knowledge is not learning or education.” He challenges connectivism to explain “transferring understanding, making understanding and building understanding”, and the internal processes that lead to “deep thinking and creating understanding”.
I wonder if theories ever could explain human learning, it is so complex that it cannot be reached through neural network models or any neuroscience. I believe in Psychology which deals with human mind, identity, self-concept – this must be near Philosophy. Mathematics or linguistics cannot solve this problem 🙂
Verhagen (2006) sees that connectivism fits exactly at this level of pedagogy and curriculum rather than at the level of theory, since, in effect, people still learn in the same way, though they continue to adapt to the changing technological landscape.
Also the writers Rita Kop and Adrian Hill agree with pedagogical influences: A paradigm schift may be occuring in educational theory and a new epistemology may be emerging but it does not seem that connectivism’s contributions to the new paradigm warrant it being treated as a separate learn theory in and of its own right. it may help the schift in Pedagogy from tutoring to more autonomous learning.
At last I have to say that I implemented the new self-directive pedagogy in 1980’ies and didn’t need any connectivism to do it. Networking was the concept we used and networked learning still is the main concept I need. But connectivism is a lens or umbrella or … something like good practice for training networking skills.
After writing this out of my mind I can turn to our last week theme, semantics. It makes sense, I suppose 😉
I add a link to Maria’s post which includes some further discussion between three great men: Siemens, Snowden and Downes.