Connectivism is how adult learning can be defined for 2010. Interestingly enough I was not even aware of this concept a few months ago. Some of the Principles of Connectivism noted by Siemans (2004) are:
- Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
- Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
- Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
- Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
The reasons I chose to pursue graduate studies are many, but most importantly it was my lack of knowledge in today’s technological world. Designing programs is something that has come naturally to me for years, but implementing innovative technology was a foreign concept within my programs. Since starting graduate studies, I have felt like a newborn learning things for the first time. I did not realize blogging was for everyone and best of all was free. Initially, I was concerned that I would not be able to master the resources available, but now I wonder how I ever designed anything ‘good’ without referencing the vast array of available resources (i.e. Elearning sites, youtube, instructional design blogs).
My greatest resources to date have been through discussion postings within my graduate program. My co-learners have provided me with sites (i.e. Webspiration, Shambles) that I utilize almost daily and now incorporate into program development. I enjoy the discussion threads as they provide varying opinions and invoke hearty responses, which provides me with alternative ideas for managing and developing programs.
I used to get so frustrated when I could not find an answer to a question. Growing up the choices were limited to finding answers. I became good friends with ‘Encyclopedia Brittanica‘ along with a few teachers who I knew would provide direction if the answers were not forthcoming. Today, the encyclopedia books have been replaced by the internet and the teachers by work colleagues. The internet is such a ‘cavern’ of information that it took forever to weed through and locate correct information. The public library was sometimes faster, but was certainly not convenient. My saving grace has been Google reader along with sites referred by co-learners and professors. Google reader allows me to add favorites (and receive current info from each site) so I do not waste time lost in the ‘cavern’.
My personal learning networks definitely support the tenets of connectivism, as they have increased my learning capacity. I am fortunate to work with colleagues who have extensive experience in paramedicine and also in training development. The combination of work and school colleagues provides a solid foundation for my learning path.
I recently had a WOW moment when a colleague asked for my opinion on a teaching tool as they thought I was the expert. Amazing how my learning in 2010 has propelled me into a world I never imagined I could exist. That world is Instructional Design and Innovative Technology.
My mindmap of Learning Connections
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm .
Shambles (2010). Retrieved from:http://www.shambles.net/pages/school/mindmaps/
Webspiration (2010). Retrieved from: http://www.mywebspiration.com/