George Siemens developed connectivism as a type of learning theory. It may also be viewed as an educational theory, point of view, or worldwide strategy. The three main learning theories most commonly used in the development of educational environments are behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Connectivism can be thought of as a fourth major theory along with these others.
Connectivism was first proposed by George Siemens as a unifying theory that bridges the gap between cognition and culture. He defined it as "a theoretical framework for understanding how knowledge is created, shared, and applied."
According to Siemens, all knowledge grows out of individual experiences which are then combined into groups to create more complex ideas. This process is repeated many times until the resulting concept is so general that it can be shared with others. Connectivism assumes that our brains are designed to learn by connecting pieces of information together. It states that we do this by creating networks inside our minds that link concepts together.
So, yes, connectivism can be considered a learning theory because it explains how learning takes place through connections made between neurons.
Furthermore, it can be viewed as an educational theory because it focuses on learning instead of teaching, and it suggests ways that learning can be improved.
Connectivism is a learning theory that acknowledges the growth of ever-changing learning networks, their complexity, and the role that technology plays in learning networks by facilitating current learning networks and facilitating the establishment of new learning networks. Technology plays an important role in connecting individuals within these networks and across global learning networks.
Technology helps us connect with others physically and virtually, which allows for knowledge to be shared and learned from one another. Technology has also made it possible for students to learn at any time and from anywhere, which has become essential in today's society where jobs are often located far away from school districts. Students can use computers and other technology for communication, collaboration, and research, which benefits them personally and academically.
Technology has changed how education is delivered. Instead of teaching students in a classroom full-time, some schools now offer classes online at any time convenient for students or teachers. These online classes can be taken completely independently of any physical location, allowing students to study at their own pace without worrying about coming into class every day. This type of teaching method saves money because you do not need as many classrooms as there are students, nor do you need as many faculty members as there are students.
Online classes can also be used by teachers to reach students who might not otherwise have access to quality education.
Simply described, connectivism is the formation of links between people and technology. To deal with information overload and complexity, connectivist learning environments place teaching and learning into learning ecologies, communities, and networks. These environments rely on interactions among individuals, groups, and technologies to promote understanding and insight.
In practice, connectivism means using techniques from multiple disciplines to understand how people learn. It means designing activities that allow students to work together to solve problems. It also means using technology as a tool for connecting students to other people and resources outside the classroom. Finally, it means monitoring student responses to such activities to ensure that they are achieving their learning goals.
Teachers who use connectivist practices focus on understanding their students rather than relying on standard tests or grades. They design lessons that help students build knowledge and skills by linking topics together within subjects and across subjects. These lessons often include activities like discussion boards, case studies, tutorials, wikis, and podcasting tools. Connective teachers collaborate with their students by responding to questions and providing feedback online and through other methods such as written notes, face-to-face meetings, and phone calls.
Students who participate in connectivist classrooms feel like part of a community where everyone has a role to play in learning.
"At its core, connectivism is the idea that information is spread throughout a network of connections, and hence that learning consists of the ability to create and traverse those networks," writes Downes. "In other words, knowledge is distributed across many minds, rather than being stored in some individual brain."
Downes argues that this understanding of learning makes connectivism relevant to psychology today. He says that cognitive psychologists have begun to realize that mental processes are not localized to particular parts of the brain but instead occur locally within large-scale neural networks. This realization has led some researchers to propose new theories of learning and memory that more accurately reflect the way we actually think and learn.
Downes notes that classical conditioning theory was developed before scientists realized that neurons are not isolated but instead form connections with other neurons. Thus, it assumes that associations are formed when two stimuli (in this case, a sound and a stimulus like a light) come into contact with each other repeatedly, eventually causing the sound to make the same response as the light.
However, recent research shows that this type of learning does not depend on repeated contact between a stimulus and an association; instead, it can also be achieved by exposure alone.
Connectivism is comparable to constructivism—in fact, a student engaged in connectivism would most likely do so with a constructivist perspective at times. The distinction in this case is due to the essential significance of relationships and networks in connectivism. They are primary sources, not auxiliary sources. Concepts are connected to each other through relations such as similarity, cause-and-effect, and part-whole. Relationships between concepts are often implicit or tacit. For example, when we speak we don't say "I think therefore I am"; we say "Thinking and being are one and the same." In order to understand what someone means, we need to examine their use of language.
Connectivism can be described as a theory of knowledge that focuses on how humans learn things by connecting pieces of information together from different sources. Humans create connections where there are similarities between items stored in memory. For example, if I ask you about Boston's mayor and you remember that it was Raymond Flynn who served from 1990 to 1993, I will know that this person is also responsible for ordering fireworks during an evening skywatching session. Knowing something about the subject matter helps us make connections between events or objects that might not be related directly. For example, if I ask you about the fourth season of Friends and you remember that it ended in 2004, knowing that this period corresponds to years when the Clinton administration was in office may help me infer that Jennifer Aniston is now married to Justin Theroux.