Constructivism vs. Connectivism

It occurs to me, in reading over all of this material and thinking about my own place in the teaching realm, that somehow constructivism and connectivism have become intermingled. I was sifting through my del.icio.us the other day, and realized that all of my connectivism and constructivism saves have been filed under “connectivism”.

It made me wonder: are the two really so closely related?

Constructivism, which I support because of its usefulness in informal learning, focuses on what knowledge the learner brings in with them, and then uses that to help them acquire more knowledge through a series of techniques including “scaffolding” (building on what the learner already knows), questioning, and exploration. The idea here is that the learner is creating their own meaning as they work through new topics, hence they are constructing new knowledge.

Connectivism, on the other hand, is more about making connections in learning. It seems to draw on the learner’s experiences as they interact with the world around them, bringing their own order to what they are learning. (I may be misunderstanding this as I am still trying to understand exactly what connectivism is.) It incorporates the diverse background of the learner to allow them to assimilate information from diverse topics to create what have been called “information nodes”. It’s definitely more of a self-centric organization.

It occurs to me I have a lot more studying to do on connectivism, but it’s interesting to see how similar, and yet different the two are.

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