This last weak, the first of the Connectivism and connected Knowledge ’08 course has been my first contact to this theory, that has raised so many different points of view among the almost 2,000 participants to the course, that it has been really hard to get an overview.
Fortunately, George Siemens and Steven Dones have been very good in coordinating everything and I finally got the impression I have been able to get most of what was relevant . I’d like to thank both for making connectivism so accessible.
The tools where new, tha way people got involved was new, and the dynamics inside the course are new, so that the learning process through practice is probably the best experience to test onself the viability of this theory.
Even if connectivism was new for me as a theory, my personal experience in e-learning, as student, first, and as lecturer, later, revelaed many of the fundamental beliefs of Connectivism so that the statements in the papers I read this week were not completely new to me. The importance of the network in the way knowledge is generated and distributed inside the network was clear to me from the very beginning when I follwed the first e-learning course with Web-CT in 1996.
What the readings of this week have basically given to me is the theoretical construct of Connectivism and the links to other theories in psychopedagogy but also in sociology.
In the last two years I’ve been working with Social Network Analysis, trying to understand the weight of Social Capital in creating knowledge inside organizations and networks. The role of weak ties and the bridging strategies in social networks have specially attracted my interest and I’ve done some empyrical research with on-line and off-line networks in this regard. Strong ties and bonding role as vlaues for cohesion was evident though what I was trying to understand were the dynamics that could transform knowledge as a trigger for innovation. Thus I needed to look after knowldge generation in a cooperative way.
Barry Wellman’s paper Little Boxes, Glocalization and Networked Individualism has also brought much more undesrtanding of the multilevel and multitheoretical approach in understanding Connectivism. This is also the point tha Monge and Contractor raise in their Book Theory of Communication Networks. So I feel I should go on further and deeper in this path.
It has been a very intense and rewarding week. I hope I can share more reflections in the coming weeks.