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?