Monday, June 6, 2011


Connectivism is a new learning process that places great emphasis on the importance of networks and networking in learning and acquiring new information.  Willeke declares that “connectivism is best grasped as social learning theory rebranded for the digital age and communities of learning within that age” ( George Siemens pioneered the idea of connectivism which notes several important learning trends including:
  • “Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.  
  • Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks. 
  •  Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.
  • Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.
  • The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning. 
  • Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.
  • Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed)” (Siemens, 2005, p.2).
Siemens’ connectivism plays a critical role in my everyday learning. Through a network of reliable resources that have been established over a period of several years, information on topics relevant to my personal and professional life is easily attained. Using the vast resources on the internet I am able to quickly and efficiently gather information that is best suited to my learning style for any particular situation. A blog on connectivism states “when faced with learning in complex environments, what we need is something more like network-directed learning – learning that is shaped, influenced, and directed by how we are connected to others. Instead of sensemaking in isolation, we rely on social, technological, and informational networks to direct our activities” (Connectivism). This statement, personally, holds true for me.  When addressing hands-on knowledge to be acquired in the graphic design field, I will typically incorporate any of a number of websites that contain either video or step by step tutorials which will walk me through the information that I am seeking. If the knowledge that I am seeking is outside of my comfort level, through my learning connections I am able to network with others much more knowledgeable than myself to acquire more information in our rapidly changing world.

Although Siemens’ idea of connectivism is not technically considered to be a learning theory along with the likes of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism, the case for it continues to grow. “The debate on the status of Siemens’ theory of connectivism will undoubtedly continue for some time, and the ultimate outcome remains to be seen. However, one of connectivism's defining principles states that what we consider to be right today may tomorrow be considered wrong (Siemens, 2005). So then, perhaps, "tomorrow" the debate could lead to a prevailing view that connectivism is the leading learning theory of the time” (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelley-Bateman, 2008).


Connectivism: Retrieved from

Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 5-31-11, from

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1). Retrieved from

Willeke, M.H. (n.d.) Connectivism: A Digital Social Learning Theory. Retrieved from

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