Friday, June 3, 2011


My personal learning network

A reflection

I was truly amazed at my mind map as it really reflects how I have changed as learner.  Had I made this map ten years ago, it would have looked very different. From this I can conclude that technological advancement can really change the way people learn and I seem to be relying a lot more on technology based resources than the traditional print resources. The internet has made it so easy to get hold of information that I feel I no longer need to use the traditional methods, which can be tedious and time consuming.  I can also collect information from a variety of sources and gain knowledge from the expertise of many people. This notion of gathering information through connecting information sources is central to Connectivism (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly Bateman, n.d)   and is the subject of this blog post.

I like to use a variety of tools to gather information. If I need information that is credible then I will avoid Wikipedia and search more credible sources, such as educational databases, to gather information. Now I will confess that if it is general knowledge type information I want, and it is only for me, then I will use Wikipedia. I can imagine the shock and horror on your faces, an English teacher admitting to use Wikipedia! Discerning when to use credible and non-credible sources is an extremely important skill in this digital age and one which every digital user should possess. One of the principles of Connectivism is understanding “new information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital” (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly Bateman, n.d). Credible sources are more likely to keep up with new and changing information. They understand the half-life of knowledge phenomenon and ensure that information is updated regularly as “The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months (Siemens, n.d).    

Another source I often like to use is YouTube and I use it both for professional and personal use. Some people may be surprised that I use YouTube for professional information. The advancement of technology has changed our instructional environments and so it is important to understand that “informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks” (Siemens, n.d).
Sometimes I’ll use a combination of reading and visual sources to help me search for information. The speed of gaining the information has also increased as information is available 24/7 and at the click of a button (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly Bateman, n.d). Nowadays when I need some information, I know I have plenty of resources that I can tap into for information. Depending on what information I need and why I need it, I will utilize the best possible route to that information. Sometimes I use a combination of resources to obtain the information. For example if I am looking for resources on teaching media literacy then this is a route I might take:

1)      Ask  friends and colleagues through Facebook on books/websites they might have used

2)      Check for recommendations

3)      Read educational blogs about teaching media literacy  for some suggestions

4)      Check and read excerpts from the recommended books on Google Books to see if I like them

5)      Watch YouTube or School Tube videos posted by other teachers on media literacy

6)      Check out Delicious additional links and  resources for  media literacy

Using a variety of sources to gain and share knowledge creates an environment of “cross pollination” (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly Bateman, n.d). I think this has contributed vastly to the half-life of knowledge phenomenon. Due to the easy accessibility of information, more people share information, discuss, engage in critical thinking. This then leads to  more people exploring further, enabling them to refute or enhance existing knowledge.

Technology has made networking do easy that I do not even need to leave my seat to gain knowledge. Gone are the days when I would have to see people personally, or talk to them on the phone, for information. Now social networks, web 2.0 and web 3.0 tools have increased the speed and quality information. I can get information from not only those colleagues that I know personally but also those that reside in other cities, states and countries and include people I have never personally met yet through technology we have made a connection (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly Bateman, n.d). This is an important idea as “experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge. Since we cannot experience everything, other people’s experiences, and hence other people, become the surrogate for knowledge” (Siemens, n.d).

The many components of Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Constructivism still stand but as these theories were formed before technology, or when it was limited, they did not take into account how technology, especially social networking, will impact learning.  The sharing of knowledge is a key component of Connectivism and as my mind map and reflection show, Connectivism is a huge component of my learning process.  Over the years I have learnt to accept that “complete knowledge cannot exist in the mind of one person” (Siemens, n.d). This has really helped to enhance and advance the learning process for me as learning from a variety of people has given me multi faceted and a deeper insight into the topic.


Siemens, George . "elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age." elearnspace. everything elearning.. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 June 2011.

 Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment