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Connectivism in the Enterprise

I’m delivering a presentation in a few weeks to a “large technology company that everyone knows but I can’t name because of onerous procedures for clearing name use” on Connectivism in the Enterprise: .doc file and Google docs version.

The paper doesn’t really include anything new…but is an attempt to explore connectivist learning models in business settings.


  1. I would never be allowed to make a presentation to such a company because there’s no way in the world I would ever be so obsequious as to promise not even to mention the name of the company. Just saying.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  2. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Stephen – I’ve been watching the old spice dude on youtube all week, so I’ve manned it up enough that I can handle being called obsequious.

    I could have listed the company’s name, but to do so, I would have had to go through the approval process. I decided that having the company name attached to the article wasn’t important enough for me to spend the time required. Or I could have just posted it without asking. But, out of respect for the people I was working with in the organization, I decided to post the article without company reference (at no point did they even make the request). My ego doesn’t need the stroking of having a large corporate name attached to a document.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  3. Irmeli Aro wrote:

    Wouldn’t leaving the company name unmentioned just be one step closer to following the 100-year-old aim?! “Just connect…live in fragments no more”

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  4. IanL wrote:


    Gee Stephen, don’t you kind of think ONE Rex Murphy per 35 Million citizens is enough?

    Oh ya..I had to look it up,(sigh)

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Scott Leslie wrote:

    So why not wait until after the presentation to post this, when presumably one could site the company’s name as it would be a historical fact that you had done the presentation to them?

    Monday, July 19, 2010 at 1:55 am | Permalink
  6. Frances Bell wrote:

    Storm …..teacup….


    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 1:21 am | Permalink
  7. Peter Orton wrote:

    Stephen — One question (of many) about your provocative piece… Increased connectivity yields significantly more information, much of which unfortunately is mere conjecture or just plain bogus. (“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog!”) We see this in unrefereed sites, blogs and listservs where the uninformed and well-articulated who have the spare time and persistence to out-post others can drown out those who are far better informed. We see it in Wikis where novices promoting themselves as experts are posting conjecture as fact. We’ve seen this in learning fads that have never been evidenced to transfer skills to the workplace. So with ever-increasing connectivity & its ensuing information glut, how do we validate informational value, i.e., separate the wheat from the chaff?
    I welcome your thoughts,


    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 5:34 am | Permalink
  8. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Peter – since you’re posting on my site about my article, I assume that you are addressing your question to me, not Stephen (if I have that wrong, then please let me know).

    Addressing the increased quantity of information is precisely the point of the paper. I suggest, very broadly, that we discover the important pieces through two approaches: a) social networks b) technological systems. Social networks are very effective at information propagation – both accurate and inaccurate information. However, when we participate in networks were individuals provide critical views (which in turn emphasizes the need for new skills to participate in learning networks), ideas can be challenged and shaped. It is worth noting that experts are not irrelevant in this process. Experts play an important role in modelling information behaviours and in challenging assumptions learners are making.

    Technological systems provide patterns of learning activity and understanding that can be matched against curriculum. This is still at the early stages of development, but essentially, through language use, analysis of connections, history of information interaction around a particular topic, patterns will emerge that indicate the learner’s level of understanding in relation to the subject matter that she is trying to master. Conceptual gaps can be addressed by adaptive/personalized content and assessment.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink
  9. Peter Orton wrote:

    George — You are correct, I was responding to you and your article. So thank you for assuming that and for your fast reply.
    I applaud your optimism that as more individuals participate and information abounds, ideas can be challenged and (hopefully) truth will out. This, after all, is the basis of USA’s 1st Amendment in terms of representative democracy, i.e., the critical importance of free speech and free press: that only a well informed electorate will be able to make intelligent choices. The same is true with knowledge and learning, yes? The more information available, the more likely we can arrive at truth.
    That said, unfortunately experts and experienced professionals are not necessarily engaged in most of these (now online) conversations. With their limited time/energy, they devote their scarce and precious mental resource to their profession’s refereed journals, consortia, books, etc., where they gain reputation and monetary rewards, leaving the wanna-be’s and novices to dominate and pontificate their conjecture in the free e-spaces. I would like to believe that most well-informed spaces are like those of G. Siemens, willing and eager to devote his valuable time each day to contribute to the free marketplace of ideas. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware, many who have toiled long and hard to gain stature in their fields don’t spend much of their energies promoting such free and open conversations.
    On a related note, I’d like to believe that Wikipedia (and others like it) will someday be a trusted source. It certainly isn’t now, and to rely on it as though it were a well refereed resource is foolish. I just wonder how it may ever attain such status in the future. I wish I had your optimism.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  10. Hi George,
    I enjoyed reading your article. “Experts play an important role in modelling information behaviours and in challenging assumptions learners are making.” Well said. Would there be differences in experts in the education field and that of business and industry? How would one “judge” the expertise of an enterprise? My understanding is that there are lots of protocols and guidelines on social networking that will be binding what experts could converse or express in social networks. How would these impact the critique and inquiry in “academic discourse” and “enterprise discourse”? Would these experts and professionals be expected to exercise caution in not disclosing their business practices as they may be bound by the rules and regulations? How would openness be leveraged if that is the case?
    I am also interested in Peter’s comment: “unfortunately experts and experienced professionals are not necessarily engaged in most of these (now online) conversations.” Is Peter referring to the institution’s experts and professionals?
    “leaving the wanna-be’s and novices to dominate and pontificate their conjecture in the free e-spaces.” That’s an interesting observation by Peter. As George mentioned, ideas can be challenged and shaped by their peers, or by each of “us” including you. So, would we want to wait for “experts” to clarify the views?
    Thanks George for your insights.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  11. Thanks George,

    Regarding the comments above and the draft paper, there is at least one point (although I agree with most points raised by the paper) with which we should agree. Let’s agree that there has been a fundamental and very disruptive change in the way we are gathering and making sense of information, supplementing our knowledge base today. (Whether we like it or not).

    Communities with which I connect toady inform and supplement my knowledge base, to such an extent that I feel less knowledgeable when disconnected. Even with all the vetted, scholarly material I must absorb (yes I still like the crispy feel of a book over the Kindle), I rely more and more on authentic and trusted peer filters to do my job.

    The classroom, our schools and universities, our workplace learning environments and meeting places are simply not big enough to contain the learning required by today’s learners. Front line learning spaces are more akin to the world wide web itself, acting like an infinitely scalable collection of people and technologies working as a knowledge creation collective. Evolving second generation web spaces reach far beyond the physical reference points we once understood as learning spaces and they are expanding exponentially. Those who don’t ‘get it’ fall quickly into the next digital divide, one that is far more complex than the lack of affordable or scalable access, we experienced ten years ago.

    Recently my Mother (now 75), related her addiction to All by saying “ my recipes are just so out of date and old now, that they are not much use”. I immediately told her not to throw out her own recipes, just use the community to update her own knowledge and ideas. Even she is learning through collective peer filters.

    At this weeks’s feature is Make sense of what you learn—as fast as you learn it. – New data methods are transforming what we think as intelligence. We get the change that is upon us!

    If we hope be able to teach and learn at the confluence of these spaces we are going to need to be among the first to embrace some of the new virtual social environments now forming. We need to connect differently and failure to connect will likely result in a failure to perform.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink