#CCK11: More connections – and a little content on Learning Theories
Looking forward to CCK11, I’ve made one or two basic connections by laying down a few bookmarks in delicious, resurrecting an old twitter account and starting this blog. So far so good but where from here? I run a small, not-for-pofit education website and therefore have an interest in the workings of connectivism where it means ‘networked learning’ but beyond that I’m not so clear about the concept and, as a retired educator with a background in engineering, not exactly up to speed when it comes to learning theories or philosophy. If there are others like me then so much the better but it’s quite possible that I’ll end up listening and lurking rather than contributing much. I’ve done some reading on learning theories though, so here’s a very initial thought – by way of content.
The Great Melting Pot of Learning Theories contains a large number of overlapping and sometimes competing theories and concepts dealing primarily in the realm of ideas or even speculation. To what extent has scientific method been applied as a means of validation? Not having surveyed the vast literature I can’t answer that but in some cases I wonder if it can be applied at all and if it can’t then how on earth do we sort out the good from the bad? In practice though, the different theories appear to be cheerfully applied by experienced educators simply according to how they best fit into different learning situations. Until a scientific basis for learning is achieved through neurology or whatever, I can’t really see an alternative to this sort of pragmatism.
In the case of connectivism, I guess the jury may be out for some time if only because of its relative newness so every reason to maintain a healthy skepticism and an open mind. All the same, given the rise of the MOOC, the energy and enthusiasm of those involved and the research activity following in its wake, the MOOC itself, and its little brother the OOC, may be poised to provide the best fit examples yet of connectivism to real learning.