With today’s high-tech world changing at an explosive rate, how learning occurs must be revisited to emulate these societal shifts. Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism all were applied before technological innovations influenced learning. They are still valid today when viewed in different ways that incorporate the changing landscape of our high-tech world. George Siemens states, “Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn” (Siemens, 2005). Learning used to be like a complicated puzzle. After the hard work of gaining knowledge and skills though, careers came together like the pieces of a puzzle. Today, learning is much more complex, like a weather system with multiple, continual, and rapidly changing factors. It’s a new dimension of learning with diverse knowledge sources (Siemens, 2005).
How do we continue to learn and flourish? It’s become more about learning how to learn, where the capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known (Davis, et al., 2008). Can we reach out to people in our networks to increase our cognitive capacity? Can we accept a diversity of opinions? Can we use visualization strategies to make connections and see patterns within rapidly changing environments? Learning does not happen in isolation. These are the principles of Connectivisim.
With rising technological advances, my network has grown larger as seen on the mind map included (click to enlarge). I continue to make connections with professionals across the varying disciplines that I have worked closely within. In the past, they may have been more face-to-face connections with local people. However, now my connections are through digital tools and are broadened to include more worldwide networking, rather than simply local. It seems like this is now the best of both worlds. I strive to make face-to-face connections when feasible but to increase my knowledge base, I also use digital tools.
I typically use Facebook groups and Linked In to stay connected and reach out to new people. YouTube videos have helped me to develop many new skills needed to complete a project or activity without waiting for formal training. In the last five years, I asked some very detailed field-specific questions to two different highly trained professional superiors and both referred me to find YouTube videos. Initially, I was shocked, but now in retrospect, it has made me more confident in both my abilities and my learning. I use a combination of internet search engines coupled with friend and colleague discussions when I have questions. I feel most comfortable discussing information that I have found on the web with a friend to get their thoughts on its credibility and validity. Even if they disagree with my opinion, I am open-minded and listen to their thoughts on the subject. If I selected them to discuss a certain topic, it is because I respect their opinions, even when different from my own. I usually always “walk” away, whether in-person or digitally, with an expanded viewpoint about the subject. That to me is experiencing Connectivism in a nut-shell.
Connectivism [Video]. (n.d.). Laureate