Thoughts on Connectivism as Theory

I’ve just been looking at Beware critics of Connectivism ! Or how I feel connectivism opens up content creation and access by @Ignatia Webs.  It’s doing the rounds on Scoop.It and seems quite popular with lots of comment and re-scooping.  But I remain a bit confused about the allure of Connectivism.

As a theory, Connectivism has no efficacy (it doesn’t really purport to explain so much as describe at a very general level) so it makes little sense to me to speak about it enabling anything… It’s true that we are always ‘connected’ to other people and systems it’s not clear to me that connectivism represents anything more than a historical process of increased complexity of networks over time.  It may well help people to learn to think of the process in a TEL context to think in terms of networking and systems, but, despite what Ignatia thinks, whether or not it’s a theory does matter; even if side-stepping this question might facilitate learning.

I think that we should care whether a theory is “lasting” or not since that is what helps us to theorise better and come up with better theories.

In any case, I find the analogy between infant learning and connected learning to be quite spurious and perhaps representative of the way that a ‘catch-all’ theory can be used.  Of course infant learning is characterised by interaction and feedback:  all human learning is.  In fact, all human interaction is like this.  It’s also present in interaction with non-human beings and objects.  In fact, it’s far too general to belong to Connectivism.

Good theories have specificity.

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