George Siemens theory of connectivism combines three different components: chaos theory, importance of networks, and the interplay of complexity and self-organization. This week, our class in instructional design focuses on our individual network and how our network is changing the way we learn. (Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008).
A few weeks ago I had a discussion with my former college roommate. She postulated that our average undergraduate GPA should be increased at least one grade point simply because we had fewer resources available to us in comparison to this generation of undergraduates.
Our approach to writing a paper involved trudging to the library, searching the card catalog for the appropriate reference books, searching the stacks for journals and magazines, finding outdated references on microfiche or microfilm and viewing it from there. Once we had the information, we hand wrote our first drafts of the paper, then took our draft to the handy typewriter to prepare a final version.
Thank God that my learning network has changed from those days! Google has replaced the card catalog; I can find almost any journal or magazine article on the internet; and I can prepare relatively error free papers using my computer and word processing software. It even checks for typos!
I rely heavily on my organization’s intranet for information. It’s a critical part of my daily research, it’s a one stop shopping place for information related to policy and procedures, and is an essential part of my job as I prepare accurate training materials.
Skype has made it possible for me to quickly ask questions of colleagues, and have quasi face-to-face meetings around the globe with other employees. My biggest challenge is accounting for language barriers and different time zones.
According to Siemens, “connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. Also critical is the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday” (Siemens, 2005).
I’m amazed at how quickly my learning network is changing. While it’s incredible to look back at how it’s changed from 25 years ago, it continues to evolve. Six months ago, I never would have included resources from my Walden University experience: my peers that I’ve met through course discussions, the University library resources, our blogs, etc. This constant changing foundation of resources continues to affect my learning and decision making. I support the theory of connectivism through my own learning experience and look forward to studying it as it applies to my work as an instructional designer.