Why Connectivism is a Learning Theory

Geoff Cain, Brightwave, May 01, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Yeah, this is kind of how I see it too: "Most of the criticisms I have read of Connectivism boil down to the new theory is not like the old theories." This is asserted in by Geoff Cain as he explains why the 'incompleteness' (David Wiley's concern) of connectivism doesn't mean it's not a theory. And this is useful: Cain writes, "for me, a theory must

  • account for current theories (either through refutation or inclusion)? A theory shouldn't just account for a given phenomena, it should do so in some measurably better way (more complete, elegant, etc.).
  • sufficiently explain where we are now.
  • make predictions. Any theory that can't predict anything is basically a conjecture at best.
  • be subject to testing. Here I would emphasize that the theory should change what we do based on experiment and empirical data.  

In my experience, Connectivism has met those four conditions." Again - it doesn't matter to me whether or not connectivism is a theory, but these practical concerns - for example, whether ti explains, whether it predicts - are important.

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