Learning Circuits has a new piece by George Siemens: Connectivism: Learning as Network-Creation. It is a fairly lengthy piece and, as much as anything, represents some “thinking out loud” about learning and how we do it. There is a good deal about networks, a list of 8 principles and something about the implications for higher education and corporate training:
The connectivist view that learning is a network creation process significantly impacts how we design and develop learning within corporations and educational institutions. When the act of learning is seen as a function under the control of the learner, designers need to shift the focus to fostering the ideal ecology to permit learning to occur. By recognizing learning as a messy, nebulous, informal, chaotic process, we need to rethink how we design our instruction.
Instruction is currently largely housed in courses and other artificial constructs of information organization and presentation. Leaving this theory behind and moving towards a networked model requires that we place less emphasis on our tasks of presenting information, and more emphasis on building the learner’s ability to navigate the information—or connectivism.
Blogs, wikis, and other open, collaborative platforms are reshaping learning as a two-way process. Instead of presenting content/information/knowledge in a linear sequential manner, learners can be provided with a rich array of tools and information sources to use in creating their own learning pathways. The instructor or institution can still ensure that critical learning elements are achieved by focusing instead on the creation of the knowledge ecology. The links and connections are formed by the learners themselves.
Coincidentally, James Farmer has posted a link to a QuickTime movie rant in which he urges Kill your discussion board. The alternative is a mix of email, IM, blogs, VOIP and other communication channels already in wide use among learners.