Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Post outlining some of the distinctions between connectivism and constructivism. One point needs considerable clarification. Siemens complains of constructivism, "The act of learning itself is still perceived to be in the head of the individual." As a commentator writes, "Where else would it happen?" And of course, that's where it happens. But what is learned by an individual is incomplete - it is as though the process of learning produces a key in our heads - the production occurs entirely in the head, but it still requires a lock and a door in order to be of use.

Siemens also observes, critically, that "constructivism is a 'sometimes' learning habit (we are always connecting, but we only construct in certain situations)... We don't always construct. We are often much more passive in our learning. We read an article and we link it to our existing understanding. We subscribe to a newsletter (or magazine)...we attend certain conferences...we dialogue with certain people/communities." I think this is right. It's as though constructivism postulates some specific intentional act, 'learning', which is fundamentally different from everything else we do (and which we would never do without help?). To me, though, learning is much more natural, something we are always doing, and, as Siemens says, "the real challenge lies in defining context, need, and intent of learning."

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Aug 16, 2022 5:41 p.m.