According to Siemens, “considering technology and meaning-making as learning activities begins to move learning into the digital age” (2005, para. 15). Inherent to this new viewpoint on learning is the idea that we can no longer personally experience everything there is to experience as we try to learn something new. We must create networks which, simply defined, are connections between entities. By using these networks – of people, of technology, of social structures, of systems, of power grids, etc. – learning communities can share their ideas with others, thereby “cross-pollinating” the learning environment (Siemens, 2005, para. 21).
Today, learning takes place in different forums. The network has changed the way I learn. Gone are the days of sitting in a classroom environment. Today my learning environment is formal in an online community. Working a full-time job, taking care of the family, and learning, I am able to balance my schedule with online learning compared to the traditional classroom setting. The rapid growth of technology devices and capabilities of information and communication technologies provides me with an endless variety of networking tools that allows me to collaborate, share information, and connect with people across diverse disciplines and geographical locations.
The digital tools that best facilitate learning for me are multimedia online activities, print materials, web, e-mail, Internet, CD-ROM, computer software, audio or video conferencing, audio or video tapes, and TV or radio. In addition, search engines, blogs, and media presentations (YouTube) that allows me to research, upload, share, and view videos is one of many media technology vogue that have made facilitating learning for me more accessible and convenient. Each tool provides information, links to new connections, and shared learning. According to Siemens, Information abundance requires that we offload our cognitive capacity onto a network of people and technology (Laureate Education (Producer), n.d.). Digital tools allow me to explore, share, engage, and connect with people and content in meaningful ways that help me learn.
Through education, work, social networks (family, friends, and colleagues), blogs, and research I gain new knowledge. Through a variety of social-networking platforms, I can reach out to other professionals in the field if I have any questions related to instructional design issues. Blogging has provided me with the ability to keep track of new emerging instructional design trends or issues. It is fast and mobile. I find new audiences every time I log in. Blogging provides me a space to have my own voice on the web and organizing the world’s information from my personal perspective. Blogging is real-time information network powered by people all around the globe that lets me share and discovers knowledge.
My personal learning networks support the central tenants of connectivism by sharing my viewpoints with others globally we explore ideas completely developing thorough knowledge of the learning activity. My personal learning networks have been very instrumental in providing the kind of learning experience for me to complete my education in the comfort of my home thanks to the digital age of technology. The fact that I am able to find information on any subject germane to my learning experience is also great. Learning communities are essential for collaboration and learning. Learning is socially shared cognition that is a process of becoming a member of a sustained community of practice; social interaction that constructs and reconstructs contexts, knowledge, and meanings (Ormrod, Schunk, Gredler, 2009, p. 19).
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Connectivism
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Connectivism [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.