Last week, I learned about andragogy, a set of assumptions about how adults learn. The five assumptions underlying andragogy describe the adult learner as someone who (1) has an independent self-concept and who can direct his or her own learning, (2) has accumulated a reservoir of life experiences that is a rich resource for learning, (3) has learning needs closely related to changing social roles, (4) is problem-centered and interested in immediate application of knowledge, and (5) is motivated to learn by internal rather than external factors (Knowles, 1998). This week exposes me we with connectivism: “A learning theory for the digital age, has been developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes based on their analysis of the limitations of behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism to explain the effect technology has had on how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn” (Wikipedia, 2010), that emphases on the social dimensions in the eyes of Bruner, Bandura, and Seely Brown, who emphasize social principles of learning. While Vygotsky emphasize the cultural and the social dimensions of learning, Lave and Wenger suggest the situated nature of learning or communities of practice as an example (Siemens, 2010).
Many adults, today, come to appreciate the online educational environment, based on their lifestyle and learning preferences. So it should be designed based on the needs and the challenges of the adult learner such as juggling career, family, and other personal responsibilities. The design of the online learning should be CD- roms, web-based learning knowledge, with focus on structured tasks couple with tutorial sessions, so students like me experiencing software challenges could follow step-by-step instruction to alleviate their problems and be successful. The Internet and Blogs would facilitate the distribution of learning. With the computer mediated learning, the multimedia design has to take into consideration the characteristics of the adult learner: Kinesthetic, visual, social, and auditory. Knowledge ought to be experimented in and shared by the society.
Situated learning is a general theory of knowledge acquisition. It has been applied in the context of technology-based learning activities for schools that focus on problem-solving skills (Cognition & Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1993). McLellan (1995) provides a collection of articles that describe various perspectives on the theory. It is true that “One of the central tenets of connectivism is that people learn through the networks they construct to obtain knowledge”; my mind map below testifies to the fact that connectivism encourages learner initiated enquiry and exploration, and support co-operative learning. With blogs and web sites inquiries, I could make up for my deficiencies, by learning from RSS feeds and my personal links and links from others.
I would place Walden University Online’s approach to learning and the learning environment in the Eclectic-Mixed Methods-Pragmatic Paradigm because this paradigm consists of the approach most capable of handling the complexity that is the hallmark of contemporary society and technology. So, connectivism brings together all of the elements necessary to allow the learner to learn in the relative present time, and to make the individualized connections and required reflections needed to achieve a quality education.