Monday, December 07, 2009

More on Learning Theory Connectivism VS Constructivsm.

I will take you in a journey.

Seimen’s says:

Most learning needs today are becoming too complex to be addressed in "our heads". We need to rely on a network of people (and increasingly, technology) to store, access, and retrieve knowledge and motivate its use. The network itself becomes the learning.
Connectivism is different to the other learning theories in that the knowledge is now outside the individual due to advances in technology whereas in the past knowledge has had to be learn and retained by the individual. Gonzalez (2004), (cited in Siemens, 2005) states that knowledge has a ‘half-life’, that it is soon obsolete and superseded. ( It happen to me the other day I made a comment then an hour later I read something and I had to unlearn). Knowledge is growing rapidly and it is estimated that “half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago”. Therefore it is now not possible to ‘know’ knowledge as other theories have suggested and not necessary as it is held ‘online’.
On the other hand… ( I love this phrase)
Constructivism suggests learners are always attempting to create meaning from knowledge and experiences, however this does not account for knowledge and learning that is gained through organisations, through ‘communities of practice and networks’ and not just within the individual. Each of us generates our own “rules” and “mental models,” which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences.
Constructivism is the closest of the other theories in that learning still has to be personalized to the individuals personal, social and cultural experiences, however the skills that are required are more about creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation (Kearsley and Shneiderman, ND), rather than learning content knowledge.

How Constructivism Impacts Learning?

Curriculum–Constructivism calls for the elimination of a standardized curriculum. Instead, it promotes using curricula tailored to the students’ prior knowledge. Also, it emphasizes hands-on problem solving.
Instruction–Under the theory of constructivism, educators focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students. Educators/Learning Manager can tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information. Educators also rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive discussion among students.
Assessment–Constructivism calls for the elimination of grades and standardized testing. Instead, assessment becomes part of the learning process so that students play a larger role in judging their own progress.

There are countless learning theories out there…but both theory make so much sense to me. In this course I keep asking myself which theory am I applying now? Maybe both must of the time..Something to ponder about (*sigh*) someone enlighten me...connect with me? Aha!


Keirsley, G. & Shneiderman, B (1999) Engagment Theory: A framework for technology based teaching and learning. Retrieved November 10, 2009.from:
Gonzalez, C., (2004). The Role of Blended Learning in the World of Technology. Retrieved December 10, 2004. from
McInerney, D & McInerney V (2006) Educational Psychology. Constructing Learning. (Edition 4) Australia: Pearson Education Australia.
Siemens, G., (2004) Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved November 7,2009. from:
Queensland Studies Authority. (2007). The QCAR Framework — aligning curriculum, assessment and reporting. Queensland: Queensland Studies Authority


  1. I love your blog because I have been struggling with 'connectivism' as a learning theory opposed to a concept. I find myself relating to the 'engagement theory' and 'connectivism' when I consider how I apply/use/incorporate a technology into the classroom.

    I believe connectivism supports learning within this digitally changing environment because it is focuses on those skills essential to dealing with the information flow through ongoing learning instead of taking knowledge and consuming it, as it is; it leaves room for that knowledge to develop.

    Siemen's put it elegantly when he said that 'connectivism is the pipe the knowledge flows through'(Siemens, 2005). I would even take the liberty to say from what I am seeing exploring new technologies through the 'gaze' of connectivism, it is even more than simply laying the pipe but the ability to be able to connect to other networks of pipes applying filters where necessary to control the flow of information to improve the way in which you learn and the processes you use.

  2. Thanks Sharon,

    You are right it is easy to 'just lay the pipe'It is there right infront of us but having to apply, explore and filter these new new infromation and other ideas can be a challenge. To be able to blog and discuss " whatever it is one has to experience the process and question oneself to where to next? Who is my audience?Filtering infromation is very much critical literacy... Who is talking/saying it? What is it for me? What does it mean? (buyer beware) I am now folowing many top educators and some professors all around the world.It is important where we gather/collect our sources. We owe it to our future students.