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Complex knowledge and personal learning environments

I delivered a presentation today to PLENK2010 on Complex Knowledge, Learning Theory, and Personal Learning Environments/Networks (recording is available). I tried to communicate how complex problems that involve distributed knowledge (solving problems facing society or, more personally, learning how to play guitar or participate in an open course) require a networked theory of learning. The discussion – toward the end of the presentation – turned to questions about differences between constructivism and connectivism. I see very significant differences between the two, but trying to “convince” constructivists is on par with attempting to convert someone to a different religion :) .


  1. Nick Kearney wrote:

    When I hear people talk about connectivism, it is frequently cast as in opposition to constructivist standpoints, but less frequent are mentions of situated perspectives. Do you get questions about the relation between connectivism and situated perspectives?

    You make it sound as if the difficulty of convincing its exponents is a weakness of constructivism. Constructivism is a way of looking at the world, our relation to it, and our identity within it. In this sense it is “fundamental”. However, to imply – albeit obliquely, though the mention of religion does conjure the thought – that constructivists may be “fundamentalists” is perhaps to blur the issues. Smileys notwithstanding.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  2. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Nick – I rarely encounter questions of connectivism in relation to situated perspectives. Perhaps because situated views of learning are not as well-disseminated as constructivist?

    Your point about “constructivism as a way of looking at the world” is exactly right. In this regard, it’s more of a philosophy than a theory of learning. My statement about the difficulty of “conversions” was related to the difficulty of language between the two camps. Constructivism is a multi-room mansion – even more so today than when Geelan detailed it in 1997.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink