Showing posts with label cck09. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cck09. Show all posts

Monday, September 28, 2009

Connectivism and related concepts

I have been struggling with keeping up with the connectivism course and defining the concepts and determining how they apply to learning. I feel somewhat successful with seeing the connection between social learning theory, systems learning theory, and connectivism

Social Learning is defined as follows:

Social learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. (retrieved from

Social Learning Theory posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. The theory has often been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. (retrieved from

Systems learning theory (team learning)

Systems learning theory: from Senge's concept of "team learning." Team learning in this context focuses instead on the transmission of both tacit and explicit knowledge throughout the group as well as the creation of an environment in which focused creativity can flourish. Three aspects of team learning were identified as follows: "the ability to think insight fully about complex issues, the ability to take innovative, coordinated action, the ability to create a network that will allow other teams to take action."

Other applicable theories/concepts:

Cybernetics is the theory of communication and control based on regulatory feedback. Further definitions include: "a science concerned with the study of systems of any nature which are capable of receiving, storing, and processing information so as to use it for control"-A.N. Kolmogorov

"Cybernetique= the art of growing"--A.M. Ampere

In the book Communities of Play the author Celia Peace identified communities of play in the context of communities of practice. Communities of practice can be defined as: Community of Practice (CoP) is the process of social learning that occurs and the shared sociocultural practices that emerge and evolve when people who have common goals interact as they strive towards those goals. (retrieved from And as follows: community of practice defines itself along three dimensions:

  • What it is about – its joint enterprise as understood and continually renegotiated by its members
  • How it functions mutual engagement that bind members together into a social entity
  • What capability it has produced – the shared repertoire of communal resources (routines, sensibilities, artifacts, vocabulary, styles, etc.) that members have developed over time.

Pearce used the following definition for community of practice as "a group of individuals who engage in a process of collective learning and maintain a common identity defined by a shared domain of interest or activity." Furthermore the definition of community is offered as an association of individuals with a collective will that is enacted through individual effort.

What does it mean to learn? How long has it been since you have looked at the definition: Learning is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, preferences or understanding, and may involve synthesizing different types of information.

Another related concept is that of autopoetic systems which are 'structurally coupled' with their medium, embedded in a dynamic of changes that can be recalled as sensory-motor coupling. This continuous dynamic is considered as at least a rudimentary form of knowledge or cognition and can be observed throughout life-forms.

Finally the concept of "participative pedagogy," as defined by Rheingold is that "we must develop a participative pedagogy, that focuses on catalyzing, inspiring, nourishing, facilitating and guiding literacies essential to individual and collective life in the 21st century.

Ultimately connectivitism ties all of the above together, fundamentally connectivism is the acquisition and distribution on knowledge across a network of connections. George Siemens asserts that learning is primarily social while Stephen Downes that learning can occur without a society. Further observations identify learning as an immersion into one's community, that learning is social. Connectivism takes the above concepts and theories one step further and recognizes how the underlying technology facilities or provides a platform for the creation of a personal learning network.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Systems Theory and Connectivism there a link?

As I listened to George Siemens and Stephen Downes discuss how they defined Connectivism, as a learning theory within their respective frames of reference, I started to consider how I would define it, what my frame of reference would be, even though some time and a lot of other things have occurred since my dissertation research I would say it would have to be systems theory. For those of you who are not familiar with systems theory it is: an interdisciplinary theory about the nature of complex systems in nature, society, and science. More specifically, it is a framework by which one can investigate and/or describe any group of objects that work in concert to produce some result. (retrieve from Wikipedia, 9/18/09) In essence, it is based upon the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its got me to thinking about how connectivism which is defined as: the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those network, by Stepen Downes in his blog; Half an Hour. (retrieved 9/18/09) Further definitions of connectivism include the following; "a learning theory for the digital age," has been developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes based on their analysis of the limitations of behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism to explain the effect technology has had on how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn...(retrieved from Wikipedia, )

Systems learning theory includes Senge's five disciplines which are: systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision and team learning.

Personal Mastery: Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs....People with a high level of personal mastery live in a continual learning mode. They never ‘arrive’. (Senge, 1990)

Mental Models: Deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures and images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action... turning the mirror inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. (Senge, 1990) Includes self-reflection, sharing with others, "mashing up," and knowledge creation

Building a shared vision: a shared vision is "something that inspires people and gets them to pull together for cooperative action. People really get energized by what their group is trying to accomplish...." (retrieved from, 9/19/09)

Team learning: the process of aligning and developing the capacities of a team to credit the results as its members design---allows for rapid growth among team members or rapid learning---the use of technology allows for unique opportunities for teams to come together and practice the concepts of the five disciplines.

Systems theory is merely the frame of reference in which I place connectivism to better understand how the concept can be applied to learning. I can apply the discipline of personal mastery to connectivisim because it makes sense that in order for the individual to contribute to their network he or she first has to be an active learner, open to external opportunities to learn and continuously learn. From this putting aside any biases or barriers in order to better learn from others is necessary in accepting the critical elements associated with being open to the ideas of others in one's network. In this way one builds a "connections," develops a connectivism learning mindset, and contributes to team learning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Connectivism cck09

ast night was my first class for Connectivism facilitated by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. Along with about 50 other students on Elluminate I was quite excited and honored to be included in this "ground breaking" opportunity to participate n an open education/course-ware class. Even though this class is open we still have certain expectations and requirements that we have been asked to meet in order to enhance our learning experience, one of them is that we blog or conduct some other collaborative initiative in order to achieve the outcomes of the course. Actually that is the easy part for me! I have the following sites with blogs:, and I am on Twitter as cathlanderson.

To be honest I had forgotten that this class was starting this month until I checked my email yesterday notifying students about the evening's Elluminate session. What delighted me a great deal was that very morning I had been spending some time researching different collaboration tool available via Web 2.0 and what had initiated that was the fact that I had been reading the 2008 Horizons report the night before. I am intrigued by the rise in Collaboration tools via the web in addition to the variety of other tools I have been researching, when I have a chance to "squeeze" that into my day. In addition to researching these tools I have also been testing another tool, Evernote in order to keep and organize my findings.

Connectivism is a new learning theory coined by George Siemens. According to Stephen Downes' blog Connectivism is; the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks....shares with some other theories a core proposition, that knowledge is not acquired, as though it were a thing. Hence people see a relation between connectivism and constructivism or active learning (to name a couple). Given this I see a real connection between my research on collaborative web tools and the focus of this course. Further linking my search for collaborative web tools I jotted down the definition of collective intelligence, which I see linked to connectivism as wel, from Wikipedial it is...Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. Collective intelligence appears in a wide variety of forms of consensus decision making in bacteria, animals, humans, and computer networks. I like the fact that this definition also notes the "competition" that sometimes needs to occur as this does not denote "group think," or the "hive mind" type of thinking that is defined as inWikipedia .." a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group.

The Horizon 2008 report notes that "the way we work, collaborate and communicate is evolving as boundaries become more fluid and globalization increases. Further driving these changes is the portability of tools that we can use to access content and the Internet which will facilitate and enhance our ability to collaborate and work together. Other notes that I made on the report that are integrated with the course are:

The renewed emphasis on collaborative learning is pushing the education community to develop new forms of interaction and assessment

The "academy" is faced with a need to provide formal instruction in information, visual and technological literacy as well as in how to crate meaningful content with today's tools

The growing use of Web 2.0 and Social Networking ---combined with collective intelligence and mass automation is gradually but inexorably changing the practice of scholarship

Doing this sort of research on the web is sometimes exciting, but more often than not overwhelming and the availability of these tools is no exception. Evaluating and separating the useful from the useless, as Barry Dahl would say, is the challenge. It is a time of great change in how we work together, access information (or how information comes to us), on the web, and the tools we use to access that information, and how we build knowledge. I can think of no better time to be an "addicted" researcher and have a passion for education and "trying" to follow these trends.