Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Connectivism: Mapping Learning Connections

Over the last two decades the networks I rely on to facilitate learning have changed greatly. The learning connections that I have constructed through different networks has changed as a result of advancing technology and has varied based upon the context in which learning has occurred. While constructing my learning map I noted that I heavily rely on knowledge obtained through a technologically enhanced method whereas in more the distant past I would have sought out knowledge through other methods such as trip to the library to collect information from books, articles, or journals. Although I still seek out knowledge from books, articles, journals, social networks, professional networks, and academic networks the means or methods in which I retrieve information from these learning connections has vastly changed.
            Siemens discusses one of the principle ideas of connectivism being the use of technology as our starting point for connecting with people or data (Laureate, 2009). The primary method for accessing information in my learning connections begins often times with the use of technology. In my professional networks I have access to online resource guides, webinars, or trainings that facilitate my learning. I telecommute fulltime for my job so when reaching out to my colleagues or leadership this is often done through e-mail communications or the use our organization’s online instant messaging software. In my academic networks I utilize course resources that are primarily accessed online to read and gain knowledge from various articles, journals, blogs, eBooks, and other media. When I have questions I utilize the online forums that are available to me to reach out to my fellow classmates or professor. My learning is also enhanced through the online discussions that take place. The ability to access learning through these methods academically have allowed for greater ease in gaining knowledge through diverse opinions which is another principle to connectivism (Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008).  The method in which I connect to my social networks still uses telephone or face-to-face communication, but with greater access to enhanced technology I am able to communicate more readily with individuals that I am not able to access in person or via the telephone. I utilize my social networks to facilitate learning through reviewing papers or projects that I have completed to provide feedback. I also engage in discussions with my social networks that broaden my knowledge or prompt me to look further into a particular subject.
            As I reflected on mapping my learning connections and began to realize how frequently I access knowledge through the use of technology. I also began to realize how reliant I have become on internet resources more specifically on Google as my starting point for acquiring additional information. Whether in my professional, social, or academic life, Google dominates where I will go to seek out additional information and learn more on a particular subject. The Google search engine is the first point I access when I have a question to locate websites or video tutorials where I can review the information, connect the new knowledge to my existing knowledge and experiences, and formulate a solution to a problem or create more meaningful learning through reflecting on the new information. I also use Google to search for scholarly articles and create documents to share knowledge with others in my learning networks.
            My learning connections support some of the main principles identified in connectivism. The idea that learning resides in having access to diverse opinions is clearly seen through accessing different blogs, articles, using Google, and discussing with different people from different networks (Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008). Additionally the capacity to know more than what is already known is evident in my pursuit of additional information and inquiry through different sources (Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008). The connections between the different networks that I have for learning are sometimes not linear, but despite the complexity the connections do come together to facilitate overall meaningful learning for me.

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.),
Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved November 26,
2012 from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009) Connectivism [Video webcast] [with George
Siemens] Retrieved from Walden University.

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