(Please see previous post to view mind map)
Creating this mind map was very interesting for me. Generally, I prefer to be independent and try as much as possible not to rely on others. Therefore, when I read the assignment to create a mind map of all my connections, I thought my mind map would be quite empty. However, as I was reflecting on my connections, I realized that I do have quite a few people on whom I can rely, and who are important to me in my current career, my former careers, and in other areas of life. Some of these connections are from my schooling, others are from work, and others are from my pastimes, church, neighbors, or other less easily categorized groups. Note that I purposely left the branches of the mind map as categories rather than listing specific people, as I wanted to protect the privacy of those people. I also have connections to many others through technology, such as through my YouTube channel and other social networking sites.
I don’t believe that my network has significantly changed the way that I learn. For academic subjects, I tend to learn mostly on my own and it is unless absolutely necessary I do not ask other students for help. However, I do rely on the expertise of my professors and instructors to direct me to good resources that I may use to study various topics. When it comes to other aspects of my life such as sports or knitting, I rely heavily on both my coaches/ instructors and on my peers.
I do not believe that the majority of my social networking sites have had a major impact on my learning. Although I do have a LinkedIn account, I have only recently set up the account, therefore I have few connections. My other accounts such as Facebook and Instagram are more for personal than professional use. Although Twitter and RSS feeds can be useful to obtaining information, I do not use these regularly enough to get the benefit. However, I do find that YouTube, blogs, and general online research (such as through the Walden University Library) are effective in facilitating learning for me.
When I have questions, most of the time I do a simple search on Google or YouTube. Although not all the information that can be found through these searches is accurate, it is possible to locate effective and accurate sources of information. I was lucky enough to take a certificate course called “Power Searching with Google” and one of the topics was how to identify accurate information on a webpage. This has been helpful to me with all my research needs ever since. If I cannot locate the answer to my questions online, in the rarest of circumstances, I will ask one of my connections for help.
Connectivism describes the ways in which each person is connected to others (often through technology) and how people learn through their connections, rather than on their own (Davis, 2008; Siemens, 2004). It also describes how knowledge is transmitted through an organization or group. This is, somewhat of an extension of the social constructivism learning theory (Kim, 2001; Ormrod, 2009; Siemens, 2004). I personally am more in agreement with the tenets of classical constructivism, although I see some benefits to these other theories. Perhaps one of the reasons that I tend to agree with classical constructivism as opposed to social constructivism or connectivism is because I typically learn on my own. Although there are people who create the courses or videos from which I learn, I generally avoid interacting with others while learning, when possible. This makes it hard for me to believe that social interactions are required for learning (Kim, 2001; Ormrod, 2009). [For Walden students, I posted more about this topic in our Week 4 discussion (Swanson, 2017)]. As far as connectivism is concerned, I must confess that the use of technology has made learning easier for me, although I do not consider it to be essential for learning (which is a requirement of a true learning theory) (Davis, 2008; Siemens, 2004).
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
Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning,
teaching and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Social_Constructivism
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate
custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. [online] Retrieved from
Swanson, P. (2017, July). Social and constructivist learning [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.waldenu.edu