Connectivism – A Learning Theory?

Those folks who were given the assignment to defend connectivism as a learning theory had a really tough job. You can read their position paper here. I assert that connectivism is a method that is taught to students or learned by students, but a learning theory? No way. The web allows us to access information quickly and puts the task of sifting through volumes of information squarely on the information seeker.

The defenders of connectivism assert that “Connectivism has a direct impact on education and teaching as it works as a learning theory. Connectivism asserts that learning in the 21st century has changed because of technology, and therefore, the way in which we learn has changed, too.” They are correct in that connectivism has an impact on education, but this impact is dependent upon the technology tools that the students and educator has available. Teachers are obligated to model safe, appropriate, and efficient techniques for researching the tens of thousands web pages on any given subject. When teachers do this, they are instructing their students. The learning takes place in a behavioristic or constructivistic model of learning.

With Web use, it is the instruction that has changed, not the actual learning process.