Re: Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge

Hi Stephen,
I really appreciate the work you are doing. Your discussion of learning theories as they have been applied to instructional design is interesting to me. You are focusing on learning, what learners do, how they connect with others/information/nodes as they produce useful knowledge. You have read widely, which makes reading this essay both challenging and also rich.

As I am reading "The Traditional Theory: Cognitivism" I am thinking... I do believe that a variety of scholars in the 19th and 20th century focused on developing strategies for transmitting content (beliefs, values, facts, etc) that they felt was worthwhile. They realized that knowledge was constructed in a variety of ways by individuals in groups and tried to capture those interactions. I think you refer to their theorizing as folk psychology. Cognitive psychologists studied the strategic actions of intelligent individuals and developed tools for encouraging learners to use those strategic behaviors to make sense of action, texts, contexts. Those tools for thinking are provided to teachers and instructional designers and they are used to get the learner actively involved in "constructing" knowledge by requiring them to access and share their prior knowledge and to form and revise their schema as they interact with texts and others. Social constructivist have taken the whole notion of "channeling" learning to a whole new level, suggesting that there are strategies and tools that groups use to mediate learning, and that these tools and strategies can be used to design environments for learning.
As I read the paper, it seems that your objection to the learning theories that have been used in instructional design has a lot to do with who is in charge of the learning.

I agree with you that the learner has to be in charge of his or her learning. I agree with the notion that learners are self-organizing individuals, who seek out people, texts, experiences, and nodes that enable them to construct knowing knowledge, as you call it. I also agree that the new technologies enable learners to develop a personal learning environment, to make visible the process, tools, and media they use to communicate what they are learning.

While I am not a member of the Net Generation and connectivism and e-learning are new to me, much of what you are discussing in the article resonates with my experience of learning. Thanks for sharing your work. I still need to learn a lot in order to understand your theorizing and your work.

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