Life by Design


Posted on: December 5, 2009

In creating my learning network map, I am struck by how much I have leaned into technology from where I was even just a year ago. I am clearly a digital immigrant. Prensky. (2009) . In putting my map together, I realize that the way I learn has changed substantially.  It is much more web-based.  I do not read or subscribe to much print material anymore.   That includes books, newspapers, magazines, telephone books, cookbooks, bank statements and so on.

I have become a much more independent and self-sufficient learner in seeking out what I want to know.  This probably changes the way I relate to an instructor and the role that person has in my learning life.  It is easy to augment and go deeper in any subject I am learning by myself.  I also realized that I now rely on information I can access online more often than what develops in a f2f (face to face)  conversation.  I also notice that my sense of timeliness of information is impacted by the Internet.  In years passed, if a reference was a couple of years old, it still felt relevant.  Now, I look for references that are just months old, often finding them.  Anything older than this doesn’t feel current.  I find it interesting that Twitter is described as the ‘freshest version of the Web’.  We can’t learn everything ourselves,  however, and so must rely on our learning networks and experience a ‘cross pollination’ of information.  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.  Davis, Edmunds and Kelly-Bateman. ( 2008).

The tools that I have found  most helpful in facilitating my learning are:  aggregate readers, online news sources, how-to videos on “YouTube”, Google searches, blogs, podcasts, online libraries and virtual classroom and tours available in Second Life.

When I have a question, I usually will do a Google search, blog search, and check out relevant book titles on Amazon.  If I need to learn how to do something, especially a new application of technology, I’ll turn to “YouTube” video instruction or go to the software website.  I might also check my social bookmarking connections to see if anyone I’m connected with has information that I want.

My learning network supports the basic tenants of connectivism in the following ways:

With the abundance of information and the explosion of connectivity  with other people locally and  globally, I need to rely on rich networks to get what I need and to manage the inflow and rate of change that’s occurring every moment.  There is so much information available, that I can’t possibly track it all myself nor can I possibly keep it organized in a traditional way.   This information is both abundant and complex. Rather than trying to do it all myself, I can reach out into my network of both people and online resources.  Others become my peer instructors, especially if they have more experience than I do in some area.  Connectivisim thrives on a social network that is diverse.  I would say that my learning network is a rich synthesis of a great deal of input from many sources.  The diversity gives strength to the perspectives that I will form from the information I gather.  The ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts informs my ability to make a new decision about an issue as the realities keep changing.  Davis et al. (2008).  With my learning network I feel that I have some semblance of having my finger on the pulse of changing events.  I used to find myself telling my colleagues, “Boy,it seems like  there’s a lot going on. “  Now, I know there’s real truth to that statement.   I’m including the following video produced by Tom Woodward as an excellent view of the need for connectivism to help develop 21st century skills.  One of the tasks of the future seems to be to develop community around content for optimal learning.

Improved 21st Century Plea from Tom Woodward on Vimeo.


Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching and technology.  Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2009).  “Connectivism”.  Video Production, Sylvan Learning, Inc.
“Timeline of the History of Learning”. Flash Media Program. (Prensky and Knowles)

Woodward, T. (2009).  Improved 21St Century Plea. http://


1 Response to "Connectivism"

Great job on your reflection and mind map! You mentioned YouTube. What amazes me is that you can find a “how to” video on virtually anything you want to learn how to do! It really is incredible.

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