Archive for February 10, 2014

This week, in my Learning Theories and Instruction class, I created a mind map to illustrate my personal learning network.  I really enjoyed this assignment because it allowed me to structure information, which helped me to better analyze how I learn from my personal networks.  While creating my mind map, I realized that the way I learn is complex because I utilize various different types of technology to learn and I learn from a diverse group of people.

After learning about Connectivism this week, I found that my personal learning network supports Siemen’s Principles of connectivism.  According to Siemens (2005), connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations.  It is vital to be able to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information and it is also critical to be able to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday (Siemens, 2005).

According to Davis, Edmunds and Bateman (2008), George Siemens’ theory of Connectivism is the combined effect of three different components:

  • Chaos Theory – If the underlying conditions used to make decisions change, the decision is no longer correct as it was the time it was made
  • Importance of Networks – We must create networks which are connections between entities
  • Interplay of complexity and self- organization – A complex system is a collection of interacting agents, representing components as diverse as people, cells, or molecules

Siemens’ (2005) principles of connectivism are:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.

After completing and viewing my personal learning network mind map, I realized that the way I learn today has significantly changed over years and will more than likely change again in the future.  For example, the way I receive a college education has changed over the years.  Years ago, when I worked on my undergraduate degree, I only attended face-to-face classes that were led by an instructor.  Today, I am enrolled in an on-line program to receive my master’s in Instructional Design and Technology.   My learning is more self-directed, flexible, and at my own pace rather than traditional face-to-face classes.  I now learn and get valuable feedback from my instructors and classmates via comments made on discussion boards, email, blogs, etc. rather than face-to-face interactions.  In general, my classmates are more diverse since the on-line learning environment allows students from around the world, in different time zones, to enroll.  Also, today I utilize on-line resources to learn and obtain information including the Walden Library, the writing center, and tech resources.  When I attended college years ago, I would primarily get information from books, etc. from a physical library.  If I needed a tutor, I would have to see a tutor face-to-face.  Today, a tutoring session can be done on-line.

My social learning network has changed over the years as well.  With the major advances in cell phone technology, today, I am able to communicate with family and friends throughout the day utilizing the cell phone and the services that are included with it. Some of these services include text messaging, the ability to access the internet, and your email.  If I have to ask a friend or family member a question, I can send a text message or email and receive an answer back via a text message or email and we do not have speak to each other directly to get information.  I also utilize LinkedIn and Facebook, Internet Forums, etc. for social networking.

Finally, my professional learning network is constantly changing.  I learn from my colleagues, however, my colleagues change depending on my position and whether or not the organization structure changes in the company that I am employed with.  Currently, I work in IT and technology is always changing.  As a result, I am constantly learning new information to support the changes.  Years ago, I learned by reading technical manuals, attending face-to-face training classes, reading company documentation etc.  Today, information is changing so rapidly and I have to be able to make decisions quickly so I have to utilize on-line technical training and resources frequently.  This includes professional IT blogs, discussion boards and forums, the knowledge base for IT and the company in general, eLearning courses, SharePoint, webinars, google search, and wikis.


Davis, C., Edmunds, E, & Kelley-Bateman, V.(2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.  Retreived from

Siemens, G. (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.  International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved from