Posts Tagged ‘Networked Learning Conference’

Connectivism Wiki and the creation of knowledge

Friday, September 18th, 2009

From twitter I just happened to stumble upon a wiki-page on Constructivism which is being developed as part of the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge/09 online conference. While I find many of the ideas of connectivism appealing and really interesting, I think there are some problems in calling it a new learning theory or paradigm in itself (as the criticism section of the Wikipedia entry on Connectivism also suggest, and which is explored by Kop & Hill in the article: Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?).

I really do not mean to make a long-winded criticism or dismissing a perspective which I truly find interesting, but looking at the wiki I also think there are some problems. For instance I found the following passage, which I think is quite curious:

What then, do we find to be distinct about connectivism?

1. Existing theories of learning fail to account for the expansion and creation of knowledge

I think it is rather curious that the authors use the word expansion without making reference to e.g. Yrjö Engeström’s theory of expansive learning, which he wrote back in 1987 (is available here). And in the table describing different theories of learning PIaget and Vygotsky are placed under ‘Constructivism’ – although I think there are many commonalities, there are also some differences, which I think would place Vygotsky more within a ‘socio-cultural’ approach (e.g. as also explored in Dillenbourg et al. 1995 who differ between socio-constructivist, socio-cultural (and then situated cognition)). However, there are many different attempts to group learning theories and is difficult to provide overviews without simplifying a bit of course. However, I think it is not quite right to suggest that existing theories fail to account for the expansion and creation of knowledge, as I do find that socio-cultural theorist (Engeström, Saljö and many many others have provided very interesting and extensive accounts of this) – also I would say that others have contributed to this as well (as discussed by Paavola et al. (2004))

Furthermore, I do find there are or could be some very interesting links between Networked Learning and Connectivism – e.g. when looking at the definition from Goodyear et al. (2004):

“Networked learning is learning in which information and communications (ICT) is used to promote connections: between one learner and other learners, between learners and tutors; between a learning community and its learning resources”

I think it would be interesting to further explore how connectivism resemble, differ from, extends or in some ways lack thought from some of these frameworks. Therefore I am also very happy that George Siemens and Stephen Downes will be hosting an online seminar in relation to the Networked Learning Conference from the 26th of October – I am sure some very interesting discussions will emerge from that, and I am also really looking forward to getting to know more about their perspective! (hopefully I will have all the time in the world to participate vividly during those days :-) )

Some references

Dillenbourg, P., Baker, M., Blaye, A., & O’Malley, C. (1996). The Evolution of Research on Collaborative Learning. In E. Spada & P. Reiman (Eds.), Learning in humans and machines: Towards an interdisciplinary learning science (pp. 189-211). Oxford: Pergamon/Elsevier Science.

Goodyear, P., Banks, S., Hodgson, V., & McConnell, D. (2004). Advances in Research on Networked Learning. Dordrecht: Klüwer Academic Publishers.

Paavola, S., Lipponen, L., & Hakkarainen, K. (2004). Models of Innovative Knowledge Communities and Three Metaphors of Learning. Review of Educational Research, 74(4), 557-576. 

Invitation to the Networked Learning 2010 preconference online hot seats

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Just a service announcement related to NLC2010 – there’s a great line up of people hosting online seminars/hot seats!

Prior to the Networked Learning 2010 conference on May 3rd and 4th in Aalborg, Denmark we are offering an exciting series of online hot seats hosted by some of the leading thinkers in the field. Each hot seat will run for a week starting on the following dates:

Caroline Haythornthwaite: Learning in Social Networks and Networked Learning – starting September 28th, 2009

George Siemens and Steve Downes: Impact on Learning of Networked Technologies – starting October 26th, 2009

Charalambos Vrasidas: Networked Learning and International Development – starting December 7th, 2009

Grainne Conole: Theories and Methodologies for Research in Networked Learning – starting January 18th, 2010

Gabriel Salomon and Rupert Wegerif: Globalisation and Interculturality in Networked Learning – starting February 15th, 2010

And finally during March and April (dates to be announced) there will be hot seats hosted by the conference key notes;

Yrjo Engstrom and Etienne Wenger.

The hot seats are free to attend. All you need to do is sign up at the conference community website and join the online hot seat debates.

If you would like to start a hot seat or seminar yourself please contact Maarten De Laat

( m.f.delaat(ad) ).

Networked Learning Conference 2010

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I am looking very much forward to the next Networked Learning Conference which will be hosted here in Aalborg 3-4 May 2010 (also I am proud to say that I am part of the local organising committee :-) ). The Networked Learning conference is:

“an international, research-based conference. Since its inception in 1998 the conference has developed a strong following by international researchers. In addition it is well supported by practitioners, managers and learning technologists interested in contributing to and hearing about research in this area. The conference is considered a major event in the international ‘technology enhanced learning’ conference circuit.”

The bi-annual conferences are organised by Lancaster University, Glasgow Caledonian University and Open University UK in collaboration with local hosts (in this case Aalborg University with collaboration from Open University Netherlands). I have attended the NLC conferences since 2004, and I always find them to be both engaging and challenging with good quality papers and interesting people, so I am very happy be involved in the planning of the conference.

The upcoming conference features keynotes by Etienne Wenger and Yrjö Engeström, and I think it will be very interesting to hear about their views on networked learning and more their current research – really great that they both had the time and wanted to do it.

The call for paper is being circulated to various list and conferences at the moment, and one thing to note for the upcoming conference (and future ones I suppose) is that  papers will go through a full peer review, whereas it used to be only review of an extended abstract (also this time it will be possible to submit the paper online – you can read more about paper submission here) -deadline for full papers is the Friday 13th of November.

Another thing is that we have been putting some work into implementing the conference website in Joomla, (Joomla is an open source content management system that is really easy to use, but with loads of functionalty – I can reallly recommend it!). The primary reason for doing this was to make the conference site more interactive and community oriented – so this year the conference site also features a community/social network where people can:

  • Create a profile (or use their facebook login through facebook connect)
  • Import their tweets, external feeds, slideshare presentations, delicious bookmarks etc.
  • Create groups to discuss symposia and paper proposals or to host a hot-seat or seminar (the latter can be arranged and scheduled by contacting the conference committee)
  • Participate in various discussion forums and connect with other researchers interested in Networked Learning and much more :-)

The community is up and running and people are welcome to sign up  (we’re still adding bits and pieces and working on some guides and descriptions). The community builds on the JomSocial plugin for Joomla, which is a very nice and easy to use plugin (but is not freely available beyond the trial version).

Anyways – I hope to see lot of interesting people at the conference and online before the conference :-) Do stop by and have a look at: