A critique of “ Connectivism and Dimensions of Individual Experience ” by Carmen Tschofen and Jenny Mackness MARIAN TAUDIN-CHABOT, MARTIN MCKENNA, AARON JOHANNES MDDE601, ASSIGNMENT 2, FEB 2012
We decided to examine the article, Connectivism and dimensions of individual experience, by Carmen Tschofen and Jenny Mackness, from the January 2012 issue of The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning.
The idea of connectivism as it applies to education is fascinating, but new. It seemed to us that there were a couple of ideas that needed explanation before we tackled the “meat” of our chosen essay:
First, “ connectivism ” ;
Second, “MOOC” – Massive Online Open Course, generally accepted as the current expression of connectivism in education.
Connectivism: a learning theory
“ Connectivism is a learning theory for the digital age. Learning has changed over the last several decades. The theories of behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism provide an effect view of learning in many environments. They fall short, however, when learning moves into informal, networked, technology-enabled arena. ”
“ Connectivism, a learning theory for today’s learner,”
Learning through connections
Learning occurs through student interaction as much as with the professors or educational hosting body (if there is one).
Students and professors work together in classroom platforms such as Elluminate, where lectures, guest lectures and student presentations occur and also through the use of:
Shared project workgroups
Illustration: “Sense Making Artifacts,” Seimens, blog
“ What is a Mooc?” on youtube…
Students bring their existing expertise to the table, grow and actuate new learning.
New networks of learning communities form, expand and fade, leaving potential for future connection and new connecting skills.
For the most part, access to free learning.
For the most part, learning without credentials or testing / qualifications either pre- or post- MOOC.
The body of knowledge created returns to all participants, including the sponsoring organizations…
The text: “ Connectivism and Dimensions of Individual Experience ” Successful networks have 4 properties: Autonomy, connectedness, diversity and openness. This article examines a place for the individual in Connectivism. (p. 124, Tschofen & Mackness, 2012)
Choice and Control - Connectivism values a freer structure BUT some individuals prefer more structure; as well, a lack of group direction can frustrate some MOOC participants.
Psychological Autonomy (ie self-determining behaviour) is a good fit with Connectivism ’ s network autonomy.
Lurking as Parasitic is incompatible with the autonomy of choosing to participate or not.
Relatedness in connectivism is often technology based versus a sense of social support valued by individuals.
Agreeableness : presenting as agreeable is essential in online interactions.
Neuroticism: a “ troll ” can negatively affect on line interaction.
Identity must be built for each different network vs the given family, ethnicity, status identity in real world. Quantity of connections vs Quality of identity (i.e. How much can be/should be built or disclosed?).
Extraversion & Introversion: sharing and interactivity is a delight for some but onerous for others; both should be valued online.
Privacy, Solitude, Control: Connectivism says learning and knowledge creation do not occur in seculsion vs quiet reflection needed for inspiration and vision.
Connectivism requires high levels of capability in technology and reliability and thoroughness for quality participation.
Feelings of effectiveness are challenged by expectations of doing ‘ it ’ the correct way – for example, from peer to peer or from instructor to peer.
Emergent, sporadic participation may not reflect accepted standards of academic (or MOOC) conscientiousness.
Connectivism means partaking and conversing to generate new knowledge via complex connections.
Psychologically for individuals it is an attitude of reception of new information without pre-judgement.
So, sharing may actually impede openness for some as it is active rather than passive participation.
critique This perspective is somewhat challenging to follow – especially for those unfamiliar with psychological theories – but it offers some unique insights into the Connectivist world.
This paper has its strengths and weaknesses:
This article offers an insightful look at the opposing forces inherent in the MOOC environment that work against the ideal of Connectivism.
The authors delineate the major themes of connectivism.
They explain how these themes can be conflicting.
They identify opposing forces within the movement.
They show that at the individual level there is a conflict between the need for privacy and the need for sharing.
The author’s development of the themes of both the inspiration of Connectivism and the and also the conflict within MOOCs is interesting and informative.
This paper is difficult to understand.
There is little introduction of what MOOCs are and what Connectivism is.
The authors use a lot of inside references, and jargon – seem to be speaking to an ‘inside’ group of people who are familiar with MOOCs.
This is a problem for 2 reasons:
1. MOOCs are still very new, and the number of people who have used them is still small – thus many potential readers may not understand the jargon and references.
2. Those familiar with MOOCs and Connectivism may not be familiar with psychological theory and may become lost when faced with that jargon.
The paper would benefit from a more inclusive tone.
This paper offers strong ‘insights’ based on research which may be too limited.
It seems that the much of the research for this paper is centered around Athabasca University and a very small number of courses.
It is difficult then, to verify the accuracy of the conclusions the authors reach.
Initiatives like Apple University will allow for the exponential growth of MOOC-type courses world-wide, creating other trends, conflicts and benefits to be explored.
This paper is interesting and thought-provoking, but difficult
The article makes a valiant attempt to look at the tensions and expectations of connectivity as well as what it has to offer.
It falls short of being illuminating to most people because it assumes a level of knowledge and understanding that only a small group of people would have.
At this point in time it could be that this information is too limited in its scope for current users.
To see connectivism in historical context you may want to check out this video….
Interestingly, Connectivism as a learning theory is a perspective on a wider movement of global Change… connectivist theory is already being used in practice by change agents outside of education Thank you! Your thoughts on this are appreciated.
References Boukobza, Philippe. March 12, 2008. “ Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. ” From his blog, “ Visual Mapping. ” Retrieved from http://www.visual-mapping.com/2008/03/connectivism-learning-theory-for.html Cormier, Dave. Writer and narrator; Gillis, Neal; Video. Dec 8, 2010. “ What is a MOOC? ” Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc Downes,S. February 3, 2007. “ What Connectivism Is. ” From his blog, “ Half an hour. ” Retrieved from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html Johnson, Steve. “Where Good Ideas Come From.” Uploaded by Riverhead Books on Sep 17, 2010. Youtube video of RSA graphic documentation of Johnson’s text, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NugRZGDbPFU&feature=related
References Seimens, George. Undated. “ Connectivism: A Learning Theory for Today ’ s Learner. ” From his blog, “ About. ” Retrieved from http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html Seimens, George. “ Sensemaking artifacts , ” December 14th, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.connectivism.ca/ Tschofen, C., & Mackness, J. (2012). “ Connectivism and Dimensions of Individual Experience. ” The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 13 (1), 124-143. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1143