I've been meaning to read George Siemens' 2005 paper "Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age" since coming across his work during EduMooc 2011. There is a strong connection between Siemens and Ivan Illich's book Deschooling Society (which I've blogged about here and here). I'll write about the connection some other time. For now, I wanted to share this from Siemens' paper, since it highlights some of the major changes in our society that should be having a bigger impact on online courses and higher education in general:
Some significant trends in learning:
- Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.
- Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.
- Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.
- Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.
- The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.
- Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.
- Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).