My Personal Psychology of Learning Redux
I am now an ardent connectivist. So much so, that it was hard at times to sit through presentations on the other learning theories when they woefully fall short to how I learn now and teach now.
I floundered in those theories during the 70’s and 80’s as a student and perpetuated them early in my teaching career with great dissatisfaction. It wasn’t until I had enough confidence to start to experiment with class culture and Gardner’s multiple intelligences that I really started to connect with my students and practice. I think the appeal of Connectivism, beyond the common sense aspect, is that a learner can grow and learn exponentially by simply plugging into and connecting with a network of like-minded learners. The power in that simple precept of Connectivism inspires me and propels my philosophical learning belief that anyone anywhere can learn anything – what is more flat than that? A connectivist knows how to find the information and “see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts (Seimens, n.d.). Moreover, a Connectivist not only can access information and see connections; this is the consumptive part of learning, but the connectivist contributes to the knowledge base through their own perspective by redesigning and redistributing and releasing their understandings for other Connectivists to do the same.
The shifting economy from an industrial/manufacturing to an information/innovation economy demands we prepare our students for the future (“Building a 21st Century, n.d.. p. 4). Our current practices and pedagogical beliefs are antiquated and underserve our students. According to Microsoft, “our education and workforce development systems are . . . not equipped to meet the needs of the 21st-century economy (“Building a 21st Century, n.d.. p. 7). So what? We have to shift the way we teach to the way we learn. The emergence of Personal Learning Networks and the proliferation of Massive Online Open Resources, and the abundance of Open Educational Resources indicate our demand for this change.
Within our own cohort, I know we still have a wide spectrum of philosophical stances, but I know there is a growing number of Connectivists out there. I hope one or two more of us reveal themselves, for tomorrow’s university classroom needs them.
Building a 21st-Century workforce: Working together to meet today’s skills development challenges (Issue brief). (n.d.). Retrieved http://tinyurl.com/pq4kao5
Siemens, G. (n.d.). Connectivism. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html