Re: MOOC on Knowledge, Learning and Connectivity #learning

Valdis Krebs <valdis@...>

Very interesting Dave.

From my work with social/organizational/knowledge networks I have
come to the conclusion of "What you know depends on Who you know" [and
vice versa] -- this course aligns well with that thinking. I will
"sit in" on the course... thanks!

Valdis Krebs

On Sep 6, 2008, at 4:02 PM, Dave Pollard wrote:

I've enrolled in the Massive Open Online Course on Connectivism.
It's a credit course offered through the University of Manitoba by
two old hands at KM/OL, George Siemens and Stephen Downes, but it
has 1200 enrolees from around the world working simultaneously in 5
languages. At its heart, it's all about knowledge, knowledge
transfer and learning, but, carrying my "content to context and
collection to connection" argument one step further, basically
argues that the 'capturing' and 'acquisition' and 'transfer' of
knowledge are meaningless concepts. If you're interested in joining,
signup and full details are here, it's fully online, free, starts
Monday and runs for 3 months.

What Connectivism Is: (article by Stephen Downes):
• At its heart, connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is
distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that
learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those
• It shares with some other theories a core proposition, that
knowledge is not acquired, as though it were a thing. Hence people
see a relation between connectivism and constructivism or active
learning (to name a couple).
• Where connectivism differs from those theories, I would argue, is
that connectivism denies that knowledge is propositional. That is to
say, these other theories are 'cognitivist', in the sense that they
depict knowledge and learning as being grounded in language and logic.
• Connectivism is, by contrast, 'connectionist'. Knowledge is, on
this theory, literally the set of connections formed by actions and
experience. It may consist in part of linguistic structures, but it
is not essentially based in linguistic structures, and the
properties and constraints of linguistic structures are not the
properties and constraints of connectivism.
• In connectivism, a phrase like 'constructing meaning' makes no
sense. Connections form naturally, through a process of association,
and are not 'constructed' through some sort of intentional action.
And 'meaning' is a property of language and logic, connoting
referential and representational properties of physical symbol
systems. Such systems are epiphenomena of (some) networks, and not
descriptive of or essential to these networks.
• Hence, in connectivism, there is no real concept of transferring
knowledge, making knowledge, or building knowledge. Rather, the
activities we undertake when we conduct practices in order to learn
are more like growing or developing ourselves and our society in
certain (connected) ways.
• This implies a pedagogy that (a) seeks to describe 'successful'
networks (as identified by their properties, which I have characterized as diversity, autonomy, openness, and connectivity)
and (b) seeks to describe the practices that lead to such networks,
both in the individual and in society (which I have characterized as
modeling and demonstration (on the part of a teacher) and practice
and reflection (on the part of a learner)).

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