Summary: Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves.
Originators & Proponents: George Siemens, Stephen Downes
Keywords: communication, connection, distributed cognition, distributed learning, information, Internet, knowledge sharing, links, massive open online course (MOOC), nodes, online, open educational resources (OER), social networks
Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves. These technologies include Web browsers, email, wikis, online discussion forums, social networks, YouTube, and any other tool which enables the users to learn and share information with other people.
A key feature of connectivism is that much learning can happen across peer networks that take place online. In connectivist learning, a teacher will guide students to information and answer key questions as needed, in order to support students learning and sharing on their own. Students are also encouraged to seek out information on their own online and express what they find. A connected community around this shared information often results.
The massive open online course (MOOC) phenomenon comes from connectivist theory. In a connectivist MOOC (cMOOC), it is open to anyone who wants to enroll, it uses open software and systems across the Web to facilitate learning and sharing, it takes place primarily online, and it happens according to a specified curriculum for a designated period of time. While facilitators guide the cMOOC, its participants are largely responsible for what they learn and what and how they share it; this connected behavior largely helps create the course content.
- Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10.
- Downes, S. (2010). New technology supporting informal learning. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence, 2(1), 27-33.