I’m still trying to get my head around what it is about connectivism as a learning theory that is different. Can’t put my finger on it, but something seems to be missing. I think its something to do with the status of people as individuals in the learning process and to do with learning as a social process that happens between people as individuals – and probably also something to do with identity (identity of the individual and of the network).
Stephen really likes the forest metaphor. He likes to see the network as a whole and doesn’t think that any individual tree within the forest has individual significance. Learning is a property of networks rather than something you get from networks. Stephen is interested in how networks as a whole learn.
George on the other hand sees learning as coming through a network and sees the individual trees. He sees the connections between individuals as being more significant than the whole.
I may have completely misunderstood this (despite listening to the Ustream session twice ;-)) – in which case apologies to GS and SD. But whether or not we view learning from the perspective of the forest as a whole or from the perspective of individual trees within the forest seems to me immaterial if we haven’t identified a purpose for the learning. So asking the question what is the purpose of the forest – we could get the answers – to provide oxgen, or a wood supply, or a picnic area, or to prevent soil erosion etc? Determing the purpose will determine the learning itself, whether it be at neuronal, conceptual or social levels – and whether it be for the forest as a whole or for individual trees.
There has to be some ‘meaning’ in all this. I don’t think I’ll get my head round this until I have more idea about how a learning theory of connectivism might be applied in practice. At the moment it’s all too abstract.
This is a thinking aloud post!