Saturday, 30 May 2015

Connectivism Learning Theory

      I followed a disjointed research trail looking at a slide show created by students looking at connectivism. (Layne, Dohm, & Pacey, 2014)
      It struck me how informal the connectivism theory of learning was and when discussing the term "google it" with my stepson I became concerned about the informal nature of this theory or so I thought. How often when we were talking did we just "google it" when we didn't know a term. My concern led me to look at the nature of what is called Plato's Problem by Naom Chomsky.
"It is the gap between knowledge and experience." 
 (I have since come to a different understanding of knowledge but at this point I was thinking of knowledge as just the cognitive understanding of something.) 
     My stepson, Erick, then said something profound, “the ability to problem solve using information, is more important than the information you obtained.” 
     I looked at the TedEx Talk of George Siemens, one of the founders of connectivism, speaking on the education and the need for networking in education. (2010) Mr Siemens talks about  a course that he co-instructed with the co-founder of connectivism, Stephen Downes. This course had no technological boundaries. The students were encouraged to find their information outside of the technology of the school, i.e. Moodle or Blackboard or instructor constrained technology. the students to have no boundaries in their ability to discover information. "They wanted the students to have information overload." (Siemens, 2010) 
     This randomness of information discovery went against my understanding of education, especially nursing education. When nursing students graduate they must be able to meet the competencies set out by the professional association, and pass the NCLEX exam.
     I struggled with the usefulness of MOOC's, etc. because there was no opportunity to problem solve or use the information that was obtained. Unless you have experience with the knowledge  -i.e. execution of the knowledge is where online learning falls short - MOOC’s, edX, and Coursera
Practice in execution firstly
1.     But as I see in nursing we use reflective journals are used but can still be “fudged”
2.    Blogs/online discussion groups are used in this course to deal – to evaluate the practice, execution
Then evaluation of that execution
1.     Yet summative evaluation still would be needed in a face-to-face manner for many social professions.
2.    Evaluation of the “character of the learner and their execution” especially when dealing with the life altering practices of health sciences knowledge remains important.
     It was this information and concerns that I brought with me to the meeting with my roles and trends partner Magi Scallion.

Plato’s Problem (updated 2014, October 29) Wikipedia. Retrieved from on March 19th, 2015
Siemens, George (2010, March 6) TEDxNYED - George Siemens Retrieved March 17, 2015
Layne, S., Dohm, A., & Pacey, R. (2014, Feb 20) Connectivism Retrieved March 19, 2015

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