Connectivism

Connectivism is a young learning theory concerned with learning in the digital age. Canadian learning theorist George Siemens published an article with the main ideas on Connectivism in 2005 called "Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age". He emphasizes the importance of connections (networks) between human beings and things. These connections are significant for learning as they determine how we learn, rather than what we learn. Knowledge is formed through action and experience. The learning process is distinguished by establishing connections to new nodes and thereby building networks. This is his central picture for describing learning.

Knowledge is formed when information is passed from one entity to another, thereby changing the state of the receiving entity and hence connecting the two entities. So seen, learning is the capacity to connect and make use of these connections in order to send information. Knowledge thus cannot be acquired. Rather, knowledge arises through the increase and cultivation of connections inside our heads and in-between persons. Knowledge needs to be realized or experienced. We only know what we were able to recognize.

The "where" of information is as important as the "how" and "why" to Siemens. Changing contexts require the maintenance and development of connections inside the network in order to allow for a continuous learning process. The ability to learn what is needed tomorrow weighs heavier than existing knowledge. This also applies to the validation of data in different contexts. The crucial competence to attain the knowledge required is the ability to identify suitable sources of information and to utilize them. As knowledge is multiplying, access to information is more important than existing knowledge.