quarta-feira, 22 de julho de 2015

Connectivism: A Communication Theory?

It was left at Downes page (link here). The writer (someone who accessed Downes' page) disagrees that connectivism should be understood as a learning theory. Instead, he believes it is a communication theory. My post was not focusing on this issue specifically, but still I found the replier's point of view quite interesting. Does anyone agree with him?

He wrote: 

As a recognized expert in learning theory (PhD in Instructional Design), I must respond to this question. Connectivism is NOT a "learning" theory. It is a communication theory. Plain and simple. 

In the early days, Siemens (2005) proclaimed that “Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments.” However, I propose that is a misunderstanding. These three are learning approaches, which are independently based upon other learning THEORIES. They are also exclusively tied to a philosophy (i.e., scientific/behaviorist, interpretivist, or pragmatist). One must distinguish between philosophies, theories, and applications. Clearly, based upon the model’s creators, this is all based upon a constructivist view. In the original presentation of the THE MOOC MODEL FOR DIGITAL PRACTICE (McAuley, Stewart, Siemens, & Cormier, 2010), the authors used the constructivist-unique phrase that “creation of knowledge.” For anyone educated in instructional design, or learning theory, this phrase is instantly recognized as a distinguishing trademark of the constructivist point-of-view.

Although learning theories incorporate communication theory (as well as multimedia theory, communication theory, educational psychology, and even organizational psychology), please do not confound the two by claiming that they are all one in the same. When McAuley, Stewart, Siemens and Cormier originally presented their MOOC model, it was not proposed as a learning model, but a communication model based on Internet technology. The major tenets of this model were all based on communication, not adult learning or social learning.

Therefore, as one with a doctoral education in instructional design (adult learning, learning theories, learning models, learning psychology), I am forced to reply that connectivism does not qualify as a learning model. It is a communication model with plenty of merit that should be investigated. But please don’t propagate the mis-notion that educational strategies should be revised to conform to this yet unproven model.


McAuley, A., Stewart, B, Siemens, G., & Cormier, D. (2010). The MOOC Model for Digital Practice. Retrieved from http://www.edukwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/MOOC_Final.pdf

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. eLearning Space. Retrieved from http://www.webcitation.org/5bCzNxTAn

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