. . . are something about which I have no expertise – but that’s never stopped me from sounding off about anything else, so here goes:
One of the topics of discussion in today’s #PLENK2010 Elluminate session was the distinction between Constructivist and Connectivist theories of learning. At first Stephen and George almost had me convinced, but in the end I find this to be another false dichotomy.
My weak understanding of Constructivism is that it treats learning or knowledge as something constructed in the mind of the student as a result of (possibly directed) experience. As such it seems eminently compatible with “Personal Learning”. It is also compatible with many different models of how the construction takes place so there may indeed be many different versions of Constructivism and I do not see that as something to complain about.
Connectivism (on the other hand?) seems to emphasize the structure and growth of networks in several (not obviously connected) ways:
– neural networks in the brain provide a theoretical model for what is actually constructed when something is learned
– connections between different contexts facilitate the extraction of general principles from specific examples and help the learner to achieve the all important capability of transference into a new context where the principle applies
– connections between people in a social network provide the means for receiving, passing on, and validating new insights and information
To me, these are not opposites but independent (and maybe even “orthogonal”) variables whose opposites might be called respectively Impositionism (or if that sounds too pejorative, perhaps Transmissionism would be better) and Chunkism.
In the spirit of visualization I offer the following picture