George Siemens writing in the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning concludes:
A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill. As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.
Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.
The article sketches an outline of an alternative to behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism as theories of learning. Much more work would be needed to expand these ideas to provide a complete theory of learning but this is a useful start. There are interesting parallels between the idea of “connectivism” and recent thinking about aggregation of various services as an alternative to the LMS.