Constructivism, Connectivism & Convergence

So what distinguishes a connectivist perspective from social constructivism? The difference is fairly subtle. As far as I can see, connectivism resonates with similar principles as social constructivism does, but acknowledges a greater degree of complexity in the nature of knowledge and learning, enabled by advances in technology.

Lindsay Jordan, a lecturer in Learning and Teaching at the University of the Arts London, offers a few initial thoughts on the differences between Connectivism and Social Constructivism. She discusses the different treatment of complexity in each, the nature of knowledge as acknowledged by each, and the scope and nature of networked learning in each. In such a short piece, Lindsay can only ask a few questions and make a small number of generalizations. But it is good to see the two perspectives brought together in this way.

I would love to see a discussion get under way, not so much about the differences between Connectivism and Constructivism, but more around how a convergence of the two perspectives might be constructed (or should that be connected?) – or even a discussion about whether this is at all possible or practicable. Perhaps this is a discussion that is already well under way out there in the academy and elsewhere – if so, I would appreciate someone pointing me towards it.

As an educator who brought an instinctively constructivist approach to most of my educational thinking and practice for the longest time, but who was then also struck by the sound logic and the sheer aptness of the connectivist / networked learning approach when i first came across it in the work of George Siemens and Stephen Downes (and others since), I now find myself with a strange hybrid attachment to both.

I have been thinking my own thoughts of late on how the two approaches might be brought together and i will expound on these in the next week or so, but of course I would be happy to learn from any others who have been working on the same or similar questions.

Is it possible to make sense of this strange hybrid by somehow bringing the two edifices together, synthesizing them in a philosophically coherent way, or is it simply a lost cause before i even begin?

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