‘All learning begins with a connection’

George has posted a useful summary of the course so far http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/?p=173 in which he says ‘All learning begins with a connection’, which has prompted me to consider the reasons why and the circumstances under which it might not be possible to make connections.

Robin Heyden has a post on her blog Stepping Stones about the personal qualities that might be needed to make connections, which brings up the interesting consideration of the introvert, the ‘lurker’ and the shy person and whether this particular personality type makes fewer or less effective connections. I suspect that their strength might be in being the ‘weak ties’. We musn’t forget too that people can be making conceptual connections as opposed to social connections.

Of course as is pointed out in the Moodle thread – Do networks cause the end of geography? – huge numbers of people around the world do not even have electricity, so that in itself would prevent digital connections – although I think we have established that you do not need to be online to be connected.

Then there are the people with disabilities – physical, mental or social – that might prevent effective learning connections from being made.

I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog that emotion and an ability to understand norms might also affect a person’s ability to make connections.

I haven’t yet got my head round how identity is linked to the ability to make connections. If we assume that identity is both influenced by the network and in turn influences the network, then what is the effect on identity of not making connections?

Still thinking…….

4 thoughts on “‘All learning begins with a connection’

  1. Steve Sorden October 16, 2008 / 5:39 pm

    If we accept that connected learning is the new norm for learning in the digital age, then it does create the possibility of a whole new type of digital divide, doesn’t it?

    Does it mean that someone who is not naturally gregarious has to assume an identity that isn’t real in order to form and maintain the types of connections necessary for learning?

  2. Tom Whyte October 17, 2008 / 4:57 am

    That is an interesting take in regards to the connections we need to make in order for this theory to hold true. Can physical and or mental limitations limit our ability to use this theory. However, this logic can then be easily applied to all learning theories. This does not dismiss them, only makes us realize that not every does or can learn the same way, so multiple approaches need to be taken.

  3. jennymackness October 17, 2008 / 11:15 am

    Thank you Steve, John and Tom for your comments. I do wonder about what the possible consequences of a digital divide will be. In the Elluminate call to Alec Couros this week, there was talk of digital identities and digital citizenship. What will this mean for all the people who are not digitally connected?

    I don’t think disability necessarily limits connections, but it could limit digital connections (although Stephen Hawking is an example where of where it has assisted connectivity).

    I think this course has shown that you can increase the size and diversity of your network online, but whether this makes the network a more effective learning environment than an offline network, I wouldn’t like to say. I think about it though!

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