Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks, and Communities of Practice are all linked together. They all have to do with learning new information from an outside source you are connected to. Connectivism is the umbrella term, while PLN’s and CoP’s fall under this category of making new connections. Because of the development of technology, these connections are now not limited to physical interactions. These connections are the foundation and link of PLN’s, CoP’s, and Connectivism.
Connectivism Is a proposed learning theory by George Siemens and Stephen Downes that centers around learners constantly making new connections. It is said to be a learning theory for the digital age and Downes believes that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks” (Downes, 2007). However, some believe this “theory” is a tool to be used in the learning process instead of as a standalone learning theory. (Duke, 2013)
Regardless of Connectivism being a theory or not, it is something that is relevant for the digital age. Because of the development of technology, the increase in making new connections is at our fingertips. I believe that Communities of Practice, and Personal Learning Network’s fall under the category of Connectivism.
Communities of Practice
According to Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, Communities of Practice (CoP) are a group of people that share a common interest, where all members contribute and put into practice the resources that are shared (Lave, 1998)
With the development of social media, communities of practice have no limit. Before the internet, learners would form these groups with people they had immediate face-to-face access to. This was the only way to communicate and share information. However, communication has evolved. There are now no restrictions to who is in your community.
Personal Learning Network
A Personal Learning Network is much like a CoP in that it is a group of people that someone associates with in order to learn more information about a certain topic. The great thing about PLN’s is that the learner can design their PLN to meet their needs and technology capabilities.
Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger) | Learning Theories. (n.d.). Learning Theories RSS. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html
Downes, S. (2007, February 3). Half an Hour. : What Connectivism Is. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html
Duke, B., Harper, G., & Johnston, M. (n.d.). Connectivism as a learning theory for the digital age. . Retrieved June 20, 2014, from https://www.hetl.org/wp-content/uploads/gravity_forms/2-298b245759ca2b0fab82a867d719cbae/2013/01/Connectivism-hand-out.pdf
Morrison, D. (2013, January 22). How to Create a Robust and Meaningful Personal Learning Network [PLN]. online learning insights. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/how-to-create-a-robust-and-meaningful-personal-learning-network-pln/