Learn. Design. Coach. Perform.

Learn. Design. Coach. Perform.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When to apply Connectivism?

I have been thinking about how I have a contrary opinion of Connectivism as it is applied in education. Most of the time, I hear the properties of Social Constructivism mislabeled as Connectivism without regard to the special features of learning organism and learning organization. I have to wonder if Connectivism is a useful framework for formal learning at all. I always associate Connectivism with informal learning.

I would say that even the #cck12 course is not an example that one could use to fully explain Connectivism.   Social Constructivism is an adequate framework for this type of learning, decentralized as it is.  I think that the evidence for learning in a network is quite different from the goals of a social media enabled course or CoP.  Most theories in this are locate knowing and learning as cognitive (neurological) or psychological (mind).  Connectivism locates learning in collective action and novel problem solving.  In a university course, the intentional sense-making is a Social Constructivist activity; the extra-course optional emergent and self-organizing collective action as an unintended outcome is the Connectivism.

The issue is a bit semantic, of course.  Great learning is the real goal, not a debate about vocabulary.  Still, I have been researching ways to measure informal learning using Connectivism as my framework.  I have been hatching a process for measuring informal learning potential with existing data and free Internet tools.  It was this special case of the learning organization that inspired me, and in no way did I see that the evidence for the health of such an organism would be found in my home turf of formal learning.


  1. I think the definition of informal learning lies within the fact that it is not directed, but a form of ongoing social conditioning. Something that we are all involved in within our personal existential states.

    Within Connectivist learning, the learner supplies the direction also, as well as the pace, the degree of immersion, the range of networking and a whole range of other, self-determined paradigms to enable the process.

    Social Constructivism, on the other hand, still maintains the interaction between the learner and the Teacher, who attempts to be come a facilitator more.

    It's a step in the direction of Connectivism, but still far from the same thing.

  2. A good introductory article on Social Learning, but not Social Constructivism. Some good links: