Connectivism: Everything You Need to Know

Connectivism is a theory which deals with digital age learning, and it was advanced by George Siemens. Based on this theory, the formation of networks and connections leads to learning.  As such, teachers need to aid students in forming connections between previously acquired knowledge and newly acquired knowledge while identifying the gaps in their current knowledge.

Technology has made it relatively easier for students to gain as much information as possible on specific topics of their interest. Indeed, this form of in-depth search and self-driven learning needs to be encouraged. Connectivism emphasizes the concept that the process of learning isn’t a wholly internal process, and it helps students find the link between ideas and knowledge while engaging in their own self-directed search for knowledge. Technology also increases the ability to connect with others and engage in bi-directional knowledge sharing. 

Connectivism in the classroom can benefit both the educator and the student. The benefits include:

It creates collaboration: Within connectivism, learning happens when peers are connected and share viewpoints, ideas, and opinions via a collaborative process. Connectivism lets a community of individuals legitimize what they’re doing, so knowledge can spread more quickly via multiple communities.

It supports diversity: Connectivism supports the diversity of opinions and individual perspectives, theoretically providing no hierarchy for knowledge’s value.

It empowers teachers and students: Connectivism transfers the learning responsibilities from the educator to the student. It’s up to the students to develop their own learning experiences.

Some ways to introduce connectivism in the classroom include:

Gamification: Gamification takes activities and assignments and incorporates them into competitive games to make learning an interactive experience. There’re many instructional technologies and learning-based apps that teachers can use to add a component of gamification to the classroom.

Simulations: Simulations engage pupils in deep learning that enables comprehension as opposed to surface learning that only needs memorization. They also add fun and interest to a classroom.

Social media: Educators can implement connectivism is via the use of social media in the classroom. For instance, a Twitter account for the class can be used to engage in discussion, announce homework tasks, or share information. This can help improve class engagement and open the channels of discussion among teachers and students.

Incorporating some or all these examples is an excellent way to provide the students with more control over the content and pacing of their learning. It also generates opportunities for individualized learning to suit each student’s unique strengths and needs.