While holding certain shared assumptions with the pedagogical theory of constructivism, the theory of connectivism as formulated by George Siemens (2004) has been proposed to account more fully for the distinctive environments of complex, nonlinear, networked knowledge that characterize the digital age. In particular, the theory postulates that learning is "a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements—not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing." Key tenets of connectivism include the following:
- Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
- Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
- Learning may reside in nonhuman appliances.
- Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
- Nurturing and maintaining connections are needed to facilitate continual learning.
- Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
- Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
- Decision making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.
Reference: Siemens, G. 2004. Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm